Spend your days taking care of animals and ensuring people’s pets are healthy by becoming a veterinary technician. 

veterinary technician online colleges

Enroll in one of these 10 accredited online colleges for veterinary technicians, and you can skip the many extra years of education required to become a veterinarian. Instead, you can start caring for animals within a year or two. Veterinary technicians go by a few different titles, such as “Veterinary Nurse” and “Veterinary Assistant.” Whatever the title, you’re responsible for assisting veterinarians so that animals receive the best care. 

See Also: 12 Tips for Balancing Work Life and Study in an Online Veterinary Technician Program

What Will You Learn in Online Vet Tech Programs?

Veterinary technicians have many duties and responsibilities. You may be asked to perform a variety of tasks by your supervising veterinarian. You can think of veterinary technicians as nurses for animals. Like nurses for humans, veterinary technicians need a broad knowledge base of:

  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Pharmacology

Likewise veterinary technicians need to have the skills required to perform routine procedures, like taking an animal’s temperature. Vet techs are often trained in providing assistance for major procedures as well, such as surgery.

For this reason, vet tech schools require you to take classes that cover a wide range of animal care information. This might include coursework in:

  • Veterinary technology
  • Animal husbandry
  • Animal restraint
  • Diagnostic and therapeutic techniques
  • Surgical nursing
  • Veterinary anesthesia

While working toward becoming a veterinary technician in vet tech online programs, you may also find yourself taking classes such as Veterinary Parasitology and Veterinary Pharmacology. You may also take Canine and Feline Clinical Management and Veterinary Office Management, to name only a few. 

Vet tech schools often have one or two classes on how to manage veterinary offices. This allows vet tech students to learn how to help office managers or to fill this role in a veterinary clinic if needed.

Along with traditional classroom coursework, most of the programs in this ranking require a work experience or externship. In most cases, you’ll need to work 20 hours or more in a veterinary office. You’ll do so under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian. 

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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 to determine the best vet tech online schools with accreditation.

Each of the online veterinary technician schools is scored individually. It’s then compared to all other universities offering that degree. From there, we 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 when deciding on the rankings. For more information, see our methodology page. 

Let’s get to the list of the 10 best online schools for veterinary technicians.

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1. Purdue University

Purdue University Global best online vet tech programs

At the top of our list of the best vet tech online programs is Purdue University. This is a school known for its outstanding academics. 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 you want a career change in which you take care of animals, this program is right for you! If you choose this school, you’ll work toward an Associate in Applied Science degree. This degree can be completed in as little as three years. 

Purdue knows that those interested in this distance program are busy and are often handling many different responsibilities. That’s 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. For example, the school helps you arrange clinical mentorship opportunities for the Veterinary Nursing program. They also assist vet tech students in organizing potential study abroad opportunities. 

Learn more about the Online Vet Tech Program at Purdue University here.

See Also: 10 Tips for Maximizing Your Learning Experience in Online College

2. San Juan College

San Juan College vet tech online schools

Next up in our list of veterinary technician online schools is the Associate of Applied Science in Veterinary Technology from San Juan College. This is another excellent program for students that wish to gain expertise as a veterinary tech.

The program combines the clinical skills necessary to assist veterinarians with core business skills. With this kind of education, you’ll be an indispensable part of any veterinary clinic team. The degree covers 76-80 credit hours of coursework. This takes most students around two years of full-time study, including summers, to complete. 

Once you complete the AAS in Veterinary Technology program, you’re eligible to sit for the National Veterinary Technology Examination in your state.

If you don’t want to complete an entire degree, you have the option to complete the Veterinary Assistant Certificate program instead. This consists of 32-36 credit hours of work. This program can be completed in only one year. However, the certificate does not make you eligible to sit for the National Veterinary Technology Examination in your state. 

Learn more about the Online Vet Tech Program at San Juan College here.

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3. St. Petersburg College

St. Petersburg College

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, you take classes such as:

  • Animal Anatomy
  • Small Animal Breeds and Behavior
  • Avian and Exotic Pet Medicine
  • Large Animal Clinical & Nursing Skills

Applicants that want to gain admission to this program must have at least 18 of the required 22 general education credits done 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. 

Learn more about the Veterinary Technician Degree at St. Petersburg College here.

4. Colby Community College

Colby Community College online veterinary nursing program

This small, Kansas community college offers a high-quality online veterinary nursing program. It’s an Associate of Science degree.

This program consists of 82 credit hours of coursework. You must complete 22-26 credit hours of prerequisite coursework. Students enrolled in this program focus on veterinary nursing during 60 credit hours of major-specific coursework. 

Colby Community College incorporates flexibility into every aspect of its veterinary nursing program. Although you’re required to perform practical skills, you’re 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 you gain experience working in a veterinary hospital in your community. 

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Veterinary Technicians at Colby Community College here.

5. Jefferson State Community College

Jefferson State Community College

Do 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 done online or by working with a local animal clinic. However, the school does advise that you plan on making at least one visit per semester to its Birmingham, Alabama, campus. 

If you’re worried about having to travel to Alabama for tests, you can rest easy! The school works with you so you can take midterms and finals wherever you’re located.

Upon completing this program, you can take the Veterinary Technician National Exam. You’re also eligible to take the Alabama State Boards to become a licensed veterinary technician.

Like other accredited vet tech schools online, Jefferson State Community College accepts two cohorts of students each year. One cohort begins in the fall and the other in the spring. 

Learn more about the Online Vet Tech Program at Jefferson State Community College here.

6. Northern Virginia Community College

Northern Virginia Community College vet tech degree online

The Associate of Applied Science in Veterinary Technology from Northern Virginia Community College can be completed in two-and-a-half years of full-time study. Six prerequisites classes are required for enrollment in the vet tech degree online. This includes:

  • Introduction to Chemistry I
  • General Chemistry I
  • College Composition I
  • Mathematics for Health Professions I
  • Anatomy and Physiology of Domestic Animals
  • Orientation to Veterinary Technology

Once accepted into the program, you’ll start taking veterinary-technology-specific classes in your first semester of work. Examples include Introduction to Veterinary Technology and Animal Breeds and Behavior, among others.

The admission requirements are relatively strict for this program. For example, one of the requirements is that you complete two years of part- or full-time work in a veterinary facility. 

Learn more about the Online Vet Tech Program at Northern Virginia Community College here.

7. Tarleton State University

Tarleton University vet tech online degree

Have you completed an Associate of Applied Science in Veterinary Technology? Do you want to return to school to complete a Bachelor of Applied Science in Veterinary Technology online? If so, you’ll want to take a look at Tarleton State University.

Tarleton accepts transfer credits from our No.2-ranked veterinary tech program, San Juan College. If you still haven’t finished your associate’s degree, you’ll want to scroll back up and give that program another look. 

Tarleton’s BAS in Veterinary Technology program allows you to choose between a Companion Animal Track and a Veterinary Practice Track. Both of these options cover 120 credit hours. You can expect to complete these credits in about two years of full-time study after the transfer of your associate’s degree.

There are multiple elective courses offered in this vet tech online degree. This means you’ll be able to explore topics of particular interest to you in more detail. 

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Veterinary Technicians at Tarleton State University here.

8. Blue Ridge Community College

Blue Ridge Community College

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.

If you select BRCC’s distance-education option, you can expect your classes to meet two times per week. 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 you 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. 

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Veterinary Technicians at Blue Ridge Community College here.

9. Penn Foster

Penn Foster

Penn Foster’s online Vet Tech program is designed to prepare students for a career as a Veterinary Technician. The program offers curriculum that covers topics such as:

  • animal anatomy
  • physiology
  • pharmacology
  • nursing care
  • surgical assisting
  • laboratory procedures

Students learn through online coursework, interactive simulations, and hands-on training at approved veterinary clinics or hospitals in their local area. This vet tech schooling also includes a required externship where students gain real-world experience under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian or vet tech. Penn Foster’s online Vet Tech program provides flexibility for students to study at their own pace while receiving the necessary education and training to pursue a career in veterinary medicine.

Learn more about this Online Vet Tech Program at Penn Foster here.

10. University of Missouri

Missouri Online

The online graduate certificate in Veterinary Science from the University of Missouri is a unique program. It allows those with a Bachelor’s in Veterinary Technology to advance their skills and expertise in veterinary medicine.

This graduate certificate includes 15 credit hours of coursework. All coursework can be completed entirely online. The school suggests that this certificate enables veterinary technicians to move into careers such as veterinary technician education. You might also consider a career as a diagnostic or testing laboratory tech or 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
  • Toxicology

Above all, Mizzou’s graduate certificate in Veterinary Science is a theory-based program. It teaches you how to communicate complex information and improve client services. 

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Veterinary Technicians at University of Missouri here.

How Much Can I Expect To Earn as a Veterinary Technician?

The good news is that the occupation of veterinary technicians is growing. According to ONET Online, this field is growing at a rate that’s faster than average. Estimates are that more than 10,000 vet tech jobs will open during the 2020s.

As of 2020, there were just over 114,000 people employed in this profession. This is an increase of about 4,000 jobs in just two years. Of course, all of this bodes well for people wanting to become a veterinary technician.

Many of the veterinary technician schools online featured on this list offer associate’s degrees. This is a functional level of education for this particular career. In fact, about 26% of practicing veterinary technicians do not pursue further education.

So, let’s proceed to how much you can expect to earn as a veterinary technician. Those employed in this profession are paid roughly $17.72 per hour, which, when calculated into a salary, equals around $36,850 per year. 

You may not want to go through the two years of education required to earn an associate’s degree. An alternative is that you can enroll in a veterinary assistant program instead.

This career is distinct from veterinary technicians. You only need a high school diploma or its equivalent. As with veterinary technicians, the occupation of veterinary assistants is expected to grow much faster than average at a rate of 10-15 percent through the end of the decade.

There are currently around 107,200 people working in the field, or nearly as many that work as veterinary techs. With less education comes a decrease in pay, though. Veterinary assistants earn around $14.32 per hour, or $29,780 per year. 

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Where Do Veterinary Technicians Work?

Typically, animal medicine is done in an animal hospital setting. This could be a small, rural veterinary office where you assist one or two veterinarians. It could also be a large animal hospital where you might work with a dozen or more veterinarians to address the healthcare needs of a much larger range of animals.

Additionally, veterinary technologists and technicians might work in zoos, humane societies, and animal shelters. Sometimes, vet techs are employed by colleges and universities as well. Research laboratories often employ veterinary technicians, too. The laboratory animal population needs quality care, just as much as dogs, cats, and other pets in private homes.

Do I Have to Take an Exam to Become a Veterinary Technician? 

The simple answer is yes – there is a Veterinary Technician National Exam that’s overseen by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB).

Passing this test enables you to become a Certified Veterinary Technician. There are a few requirements that candidates must meet before attempting to take the examination. For example, you must graduate from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) or Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) accredited veterinary tech program. In the U.S., the AVMA CVTEA, or Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities, is responsible for accreditation.

These programs typically require you to complete around two years of education. This is also the amount of time it takes to earn an associate’s degree. Passing the Veterinary Technician National Exam allows you to gain licensure as a veterinary technician in the state in which you choose to practice. 

Now, the exam itself features 170 questions. Breathe a little easier knowing that these are multiple-choice questions! Test-takers are given three hours to complete the exam. The test is administered on a computer, and you’re able to take it at three different times during the year. This means you can take the exam relatively soon after graduation. If you pass, you can quickly start your career as a veterinary technician. 

The test covers nine areas of knowledge necessary to be a competent veterinary technician. This includes topics in:

  • Emergency medicine
  • Laboratory procedures
  • Pharmacy and pharmacology
  • Diagnostic imaging
  • Anesthesia

To apply to take the VTNE, you need to verify your eligibility and complete an online application. The application asks that you submit official transcripts from your veterinary technician program. Additionally, this online application has a fee of $320. You don’t want to miss your test date, which would mean paying the application fee again. 

It should be noted that your title might vary depending on the state in which you work. Some states call a vet tech a Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT). In other states, it’s Licensed Veterinary Technician (LVT) or Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT).

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 you to pass this examination. Most people don’t have a problem passing the exam if they take their studies seriously. Just dedicate yourself to learning the material in your vet tech degree online, and you’ll be well-prepared to pass the exam! 

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