You may be wondering what degree you need to be a vet tech. The answer may surprise you – you don’t actually need a degree to work as a vet tech! However, most employers will prefer to hire candidates who have completed a vet tech program, and many states require vet techs to be licensed.
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Associate’s Degree in Veterinary Technology
A veterinary technician is a vital part of any veterinary team. They are responsible for many of the routine tasks performed in a veterinary clinic or hospital, such as taking X-rays, drawing blood, and administering vaccinations. Most veterinary technicians have an associate’s degree in veterinary technology, which can be completed in two years.
In order to be eligible to apply for an accredited veterinary technology program, you’ll need to have a high school diploma or equivalent. Once you’ve been accepted into a program, you’ll likely be required to take some general education courses, such as English composition and math, before you begin taking classes specific to your chosen field of study. In total, it typically takes two to four years to earn an associate’s degree in veterinary technology.
To become a veterinary technician, you typically need to complete a 2-year associate’s degree in veterinary technology from an accredited school. Although no specific majors are required for admission to most programs, coursework should include basic sciences such as biology and chemistry, as well as math and English. You’ll also take classes specific to the profession, such as animal anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, pharmacology, large and small animal nursing, surgical nursing, imaging techniques, animal behavior, record keeping, and client communication.
In order to graduate from an accredited Veterinary Technician program, students must complete a minimum of 480 hours of supervised clinical experience in a veterinary hospital or clinics. The majority of this clinical experience is completed during the last semester of the Veterinary Technician program and is typically referred to as an externship. This allows students to apply the skills and knowledge they have acquired throughout their coursework in a real-world setting under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian and/or registered veterinary technician.
Bachelor’s Degree in Veterinary Technology
Becoming a veterinary technician requires completing a four-year degree in veterinary technology. During your course of study, you will take classes in animal science, chemistry, biology, anatomy, physiology, and other sciences, as well as complete a clinical rotation.
For students wishing to pursue a career in veterinary technology, there are a few prerequisites that must be met before enrolling in a Bachelor of Veterinary Technology (BVT) program. The first step is to obtain an accredited high school diploma or equivalent; individuals who have not completed high school may be able to do so by taking the General Educational Development (GED) test.
Once the high school diploma or GED has been obtained, prospective students must complete a few prerequisite courses, which vary by program but typically include English, mathematics, chemistry, and biology. In addition to coursework, many programs also require that applicants have experience working with animals in order to be considered for admission.
While not required, it is also recommended that prospective students complete an internship or volunteer at a veterinary clinic or animal hospital prior to entering a BVT program as this can give them an idea of what the day-to-day duties of a veterinary technician entail and help them decide if this is the right career choice for them.
Generally, completing a four-year degree is the minimum education requirement to become a licensed veterinary technician. In some cases, veterninary technicians may earn a two-year degree and complete certification through the National Veterinary Technician Association.
Most students complete a four-year degree at an accredited college or university before taking the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) to become credentialed as a licensed veterinary technician. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Council on Education accredits US programs in veterinary technology. To find AVMA-accredited programs in your area, check out this list of US schools with AVMA-accredited veterinary technology programs.
coursework for a typical Bachelor of Veterinary Technology program includes:
Animal anatomy and physiology
Animal breeding and genetics
Animal care and management
Business and accounting principles
Clinical laboratory techniques
Diseases of animals
Emergency and critical care procedures
Nutrition Pharmacology Reproduction Surgery Zoology
After completing the coursework for their degree, vet tech students must complete a supervised externship of at least six weeks. This allows them to put their skills to the test in a real-world setting, working alongside licensed vets and other vet techs.
Master’s Degree in Veterinary Technology
A veterinary technician is a professional who provides medical care for animals. They work alongside veterinarians to provide support and assistance during medical procedures. A veterinary technician typically has a two-year degree, but some positions may require a four-year degree. Some states also require certification.
In order to be eligible to apply for a Master’s degree in Veterinary Technology, you will need to have completed a Bachelor’s degree in Veterinary Technology from an accredited institution. You will also need to have gained at least two years of professional experience working as a veterinary technician.
While every program is different, most accredited veterinary technology programs will include coursework in the following areas:
-Animal anatomy and physiology
-Emergency and critical care
-Exotic animal medicine
An externship is a short-term, unpaid clinical experience in which students gain hands-on experience in the field. During their externship, vet tech students shadow practicing veterinarians and vet techs, assisting with various tasks such as animal care, lab work, and client education. Students typically complete externships during their final semester of study.