Spend your days taking care of animals and ensuring people’s pets are healthy by becoming a veterinary technician.
By enrolling in one of our 10 accredited online colleges for veterinary technicians, you can skip the many extra years of education required to become a veterinarian and start caring for animals within a year or two. Veterinary technicians go by a few different titles, such as “Veterinary Nurse” and “Veterinary Assistant,” and are responsible for assisting veterinarians so that animals receive the best care that humans can provide.
What Will You Learn With a Veterinary Technician’s Degree?
Veterinary technicians have many duties and responsibilities and may be asked to perform a variety of tasks by their supervising veterinarians. You can think of veterinary technicians as nurses for animals, and like human nurses, veterinary technicians have to have a broad knowledge base of animals. For this reason, veterinary technician programs will require students to take classes that cover a wide range of animal care information.
While working toward becoming a veterinary technician, you may find yourself taking classes such as Veterinary Anatomy and Physiology, Veterinary Parasitology, Veterinary Pharmacology, Canine and Feline Clinical Management, and Veterinary Office Management, to name only a few.
Veterinary technician programs often contain one or two classes on how to manage veterinary offices, allowing veterinary technicians to help office managers or to fill this role in a veterinary clinic if needed. Along with the classwork, most of the programs listed in this ranking require that students work 20 hours or more in a veterinary office under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian during their enrollment.
What Are the Best Accredited Online Colleges for Veterinary Technician Degrees?
Accredited Online College uses the most recent data from the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics. Each program is scored individually. It’s then compared to all other universities offering that degree to determine the final score you see by each ranking. Accredited Online College considers the affordability, student-to-faculty ratio, and the number of programs offered on-campus and online. For more information, see our methodology page.
Purdue University is a school known for its outstanding education, and its Veterinary Nursing Distance Learning program, formerly called the Veterinary Technology program, is no exception! Whether you’re already working in a veterinarian’s office or are wanting a career change in which you take care of animals, this program is right for you! If you choose this school, you’ll be working toward an Associate in Applied Science degree and can complete the program in as little as three years.
Purdue knows that those interested in this distance program are busy and are often handling many different responsibilities, which is why the school designed this program with flexibility in mind. Purdue works with students to design a program that fits their life and helps students along the way, from arranging their clinical mentorship opportunities for the Veterinary Nursing program to assisting students to organize potential study abroad opportunities.
The Associate of Applied Science in Veterinary Technology from San Juan College is another excellent program for students wishing to gain expertise as a veterinary tech. The program combines the clinical skills necessary to assist veterinarians with core business skills, so you’ll become an indispensable part of any veterinary clinic team! The degree covers 76-80 credit hours of coursework that take students around two years of full-time study, including summers, to complete.
Students who complete the AAS in Veterinary Technology program are eligible to sit for the National Veterinary Technology Examination in their state. Those who aren’t looking to complete an entire degree have the option to complete the Veterinary Assistant Certificate program, which consists of 32-36 credit hours of work. This program can be completed in only one year, although the certificate does not make students eligible to sit for the National Veterinary Technology Examination in their state after graduating.
Training competent and successful veterinary technologists is what St. Petersburg College’s Associate of Science in Veterinary Technology program aims to do. During this program, students will take classes such as Animal Anatomy, Small Animal Breeds and Behavior, Avian and Exotic Pet Medicine, and Large Animal Clinical & Nursing Skills, among many others. Applicants wishing to gain admission to this program must have completed at least 18 of the required 22 general education credits prior to enrollment.
Those enrolled in this program can expect to graduate with their degree in around three years of study. The entire AS in Veterinary Technology program features 73 credit hours of coursework. This program is no walk in the park either, as those enrolled are expected to complete 280 clinical hours in a veterinary clinic each semester. There are three start times during the year for the school’s online program: January, May, and August.
This small, Kansas community college offers a high-quality online veterinary nursing program for those looking to pursue an Associate of Science degree. This program consists of 82 credit hours of coursework, with students completing 22-26 credit hours of prerequisite coursework. Students enrolled in this program will focus on veterinary nursing during 60 credit hours of major-specific coursework.
Colby Community College incorporated flexibility into every aspect of its veterinary nursing program. Although students are required to perform practical skills, they are able to prove proficiency in these skills by video recording under the supervision of a licensed professional in the field. This program also encourages, and requires at specific points, that students gain experience working in a veterinary hospital in their community.
If you have a computer, internet access, and the time to dedicate at least 20 hours per week in a veterinary clinic, then Jefferson State Community College’s Veterinary Nursing Program may be right for you. The majority of the coursework required to complete this program can be completed online or by working with a local animal clinic. However, the school does advise students to plan on making at least one visit per semester to its Birmingham, AL, campus.
If you’re worried about having to travel all the way back to Alabama for tests, you can rest easy, as the school works with students so they can take midterms and finals wherever they are located. Upon completing this program, students can also take the Veterinary Technician National Exam and the Alabama State Boards to become a licensed veterinary technician. The school accepts two cohorts of students each year: one in the fall and the other in the spring.
The Associate of Applied Science in Veterinary Technology from Northern Virginia Community College can be completed from start to finish in two-and-a-half years of full-time study. Six prerequisites classes are required for enrollment in the veterinary tech program, which include Introduction to Chemistry I, General Chemistry I, College Composition I, Mathematics for Health Professions I, Anatomy and Physiology of Domestic Animals, and Orientation to Veterinary Technology.
Once accepted into the program, students will start taking veterinary-technology-specific classes in their first semester of work, such as Introduction to Veterinary Technology and Animal Breeds and Behavior, among others. The admission requirements are relatively strict, with one of the requirements being two years of part- or full-time work in a veterinary facility.
Students who have completed an Associate of Applied Science in Veterinary Technology and want to return to complete a Bachelor of Applied Science in Veterinary Technology online will want to take a look at Tarleton State University. Tarleton accepts transfer credits from our No.2-ranked veterinary tech program, San Juan College, so if you still haven’t finished you’re associate’s, you’ll want to scroll back up.
Tarleton’s BAS in Veterinary Technology program allows students to choose between a Companion Animal Track and a Veterinary Practice Track. Both of these options cover 120 credit hours, which students can expect to complete after the transfer of their associate’s degree in around two years of full-time study. There are multiple elective courses offered in these degree programs, which means you’ll be able to explore topics of particular interest to you in more detail.
Whether you choose the two-year, full-time, on-campus option or the school’s three-year distance-education option, Blue Ridge Community College is an excellent choice for pursuing a veterinary technology degree. Those who select BRCC’s distance-education option can expect their classes to meet two times per week, and students are required to travel to the school’s main campus in Weyers Cave, VA.
Applicants to this program must complete an orientation class, an English class, and a chemistry class as part of the program’s prerequisites. Acceptance into the online program requires that students be employed at least 20 hours per week in a veterinary clinic. Once accepted at BRCC, you’ll also need to maintain at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA throughout your studies.
The Associate of Applied Science in Veterinary Technology from Dallas College’s Cedar Valley campus is one of the most affordable degree options in our ranking, with a tuition cost of only $4,740 for the program. The school estimates that students will take around five semesters to complete the program, and the only course prerequisites are English Composition I and Biology for Science Majors I.
Dallas College also allows students to earn a certificate in either Small Animal Veterinary Assisting or Large Animal Veterinary Assisting. The Small Animal Veterinary Assisting certificate is composed of two semesters of work and will end up costing students $1,580. Alternatively, the Large Animal Veterinary Assisting certificate is estimated to take students three semesters to complete and costs the same amount as the Small Animal Veterinary Assisting certificate.
The online graduate certificate in Veterinary Science from the University of Missouri is a unique program that allows those with a Bachelor’s in Veterinary Technology to advance their skills and expertise in veterinary medicine. This graduate certificate is composed of 15 credit hours of coursework, all of which can be completed entirely online. The school suggests that this certificate can enable veterinary technicians to move into careers such as veterinary technician education, diagnostic or testing laboratory tech, and veterinary technician supervising, among others.
Those enrolled in this program can look forward to classes such as Emergency and Critical Care, Veterinary Pain Management, Cytology, and Toxicology. Above all, Mizzou’s graduate certificate in Veterinary Science is a theory-based program that will teach people how to communicate complex information and improve client services.
How Much Can I Expect To Earn as a Veterinary Technician?
If you’re looking into one of our top 10 accredited online colleges for veterinary technicians, then you’re probably wanting to work as a veterinary technician after graduating with your degree. The good news is that the occupation of veterinary technicians is growing at a rate of 11% or greater, which is faster than average when compared to other professions. As of 2018, there were just under 110,000 people employed in this profession, and between then and 2028, there are projected to be 11,800 job openings. Of course, all of this bodes well for people wanting to become veterinary technicians, as there will likely be jobs available in this profession following graduation.
Many of the programs featured on this list are associate’s degrees, which is a functional level of education for this particular career, as 26% of practicing veterinary technicians never went on to receive a bachelor’s. So, let’s proceed to how much you can expect to earn as a veterinary technician. Those employed in this profession are paid roughly $16.98 per hour, which, when calculated into a salary, equals around $35,320 per year.
Some out there may not want to go through the two years of education required to earn an associate’s degree to become a veterinary technician, and if this sounds like you, then you may want to think about becoming a veterinary assistant instead. This career is distinct from that of veterinary technicians in that most of the individuals employed needed only a high school diploma or its equivalent. As with veterinary technicians, the occupation of veterinary assistants is expected to grow much faster than average and currently has around 92,000 people working in the field. With less education comes a decrease in pay, though not by a significant amount, as veterinary assistants earn around $13.75 per hour, or $28,590 per year.
Do I Have to Take an Exam to Become a Veterinary Technician?
The simple answer is yes – there is a national examination that will enable you to become a certified veterinary technician. There are a few requirements that candidates must meet before attempting to take the examination, the first of which is graduating from an American Veterinary Medical Association or Canadian Veterinary Medical Association accredited veterinary tech program.
These programs will typically require students to complete around two years of education, which is also the amount of time it takes to earn an associate’s degree. Passing the Veterinary Technician National Examination will enable you to become licensed as a veterinary technician in the state in which you choose to practice.
Now, the exam itself features 150 questions. Breathe a little easier knowing that these are multiple-choice questions and that the test takers are given three hours to answer them. The test is administered on a computer, and you’ll be able to take it at three different times during the year. This means that there doesn’t have to be much downtime between graduating and starting your career as a veterinary technician.
The test covers nine areas of knowledge necessary to be a competent veterinary technician, which includes topics in emergency medicine, laboratory procedures, pharmacy and pharmacology, diagnostic imaging, and anesthesia, among others.
To apply to take the VTNE, you’ll have to complete an online application, which will ask that you submit official transcripts from your veterinary technician program. Additionally, this online application has a fee of $330, so you’ll not want to miss your test date, which would necessitate paying the application fee again.
If all of this information sounds overwhelming, take a moment to try to relax; the purpose of a veterinary technician program is to educate and train people to ultimately pass this examination. Most people won’t have a problem passing this exam if they take their studies seriously and dedicate the time to learning the material taught!
If you’re interested in pursuing higher education, then you should check out our 10 Accredited Online Colleges for Diagnostic Medical Sonography and 25 Accredited Online Colleges for Radiation Therapy!