What to Look for in Veterinary Technician Programs

Veterinary technician programs train you to assist a licensed veterinarian. Your job duties may include animal care before and after surgical procedures, drawing blood for lab work, taking patient histories or developing x-rays. Those interested in working as veterinary technicians attend a two-year veterinary science program online or at an area college. If there's interest to advance to a veterinary technologist, an additional two years of college is required.

Taking a veterinary technician program online or at a local college requires plenty of challenging work. You should have a strong interest in animals and science, particularly biology and health sciences. Choose your school wisely. Not all veterinary technician programs will provide the education you need.

Choose an Accredited Veterinary Technician Program

The program you take must be accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Programs that are not accredited are a waste of money. Accreditation involves:

  • Ensuring students leave the veterinary technician program fully trained, ready for any required licensing exams and ready to go to work in a veterinary setting.
  • Lesson plans and technology used to teach veterinary science that are up-to-date. A committee meets yearly to discuss newer technology and ideas and upgrades lesson plans and equipment as needed.
  • Student-teacher and student-equipment ratios are strictly monitored to ensure no class is overcrowded.

Cost of Correspondence Programs vs. Colleges

You see many television ads offering correspondence courses in veterinary technician work. Many people think these courses are the best way to get a degree because there's no time limit for completion. Don't immediately think these courses are the best deal. Only a handful of students ever complete correspondence courses. In fact, the National Consumer Law Center reported that only seven percent of freshman enrolled at the University of Phoenix actually finished their program.

Many of these online courses are accredited, but not by the AVMA. In addition, the cost to complete the course is often more than attending a local college.

Many colleges offer grants and scholarships to help pay for the college education you'll receive. This can reduce your tuition by a huge percentage, and some students even end up going to college for free with the right scholarships and grants.

Select Programs with Hands-on Learning

Online veterinary technician courses do not always offer hands-on training. These courses are worthless unless you pair them with an internship at a local veterinary office or animal hospital. No practice is going to hire you unless you've had hands-on training during school.

Ask area veterinarians if they would be willing to allow you to volunteer or work part time in their office while completing an online college program. Some vets will help you learn hands-on procedures to complement your education.

Choose Universities that Set up a Mentorship

Purdue University's online veterinary technician program requires students to complete a clinical mentorship experience with a veterinarian or animal hospital recommended by Purdue. Students also must find an exam proctor, usually a licensed veterinarian, who monitors all written exams and timed tests. The proctor then collects the test and returns it to Purdue University.