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Veterinary Technology: Great Degrees for Portable Careers

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Great Degrees for Portable Careers: Veterinary Technology

A degree in veterinary technology can open doors to a rewarding career helping animals and their people. Great paying job opportunities in both the public and private sectors can be found across all 50 states and overseas in organizations such as:

  • Civilian veterinary office
  • Military installation veterinary center
  • Emergency animal medical clinic
  • Municipal animal welfare organizations
  • Non-profit animal advocacy groups
  • Education and outreach organizations
  • Ranches
  • Zoos
  • Research and development

A degree in veterinary technology is available as an associate degree or as a bachelor’s degree. It may also be referred to as a degree in animal nursing. A veterinary technology program may also be offered through an animal sciences or agri-sciences program or as a precursor for a pre-veterinary medicine program.

With a degree in veterinary technology, the jobs one will be qualified for will vary by degree level and by state. Certification and licensing requirements also vary greatly by state.

Luckily, many states offer reciprocity for veterinary technology certifications so being licensed in one state may transfer (with or without restrictions) upon moving. This is, of course, of the utmost importance for military members and spouses seeking a degree and career that is portable across their many moves.

Associate Degree in Veterinary Technology

>> Find GI Bill-approved associate degree programs in Veterinary Technology here or certificate programs here.

An Associate Degree in Veterinary Technology is a great starting point for those interested in helping animals and their people.

Please note that although terminology and requirements vary by state, a veterinary technician (vet tech) will likely require a person be certified and/or licensed. Typically this requires sitting for a national exam, which the Associate Degree in Veterinary Technology will more than adequately prepare the student for.

A student who earns an Associate Degree in Veterinary Technology that chooses not to get certified still has a very valuable degree and experience that will open up many career opportunities.

Areas of study and experience covered by a vet tech program (and the national exam) include:

  • animal husbandry and care
  • biology and biochemistry
  • anatomy and physiology
  • disease and injury pathology
  • anesthesia
  • pharmaceuticals
  • surgical nursing
  • dentistry
  • laboratory procedure
  • diagnostic tools such as radiography, sonograms, etc.

In order to make the most of your education and future career path, if you intend on becoming certified as a vet tech it is important that your chosen school and their vet tech program be accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). You can check a school’s accreditation here.

Jobs with an Associate Degree in Veterinary Technology:

  • Veterinary Assistant- Assist in the care of animals including veterinary and laboratory settings. Median annual salary: $30,000.
  • Veterinary Technician– Assist in the examination, diagnosis, and treatment of animals. Median annual salary: $35,000.
  • Animal Control Worker– Municipal job engaged in the control of abandoned, dangerous, or unattended animals. Also involved in the investigation of mistreatment of animals. Median annual salary: $39,000.

Bachelor’s Degree in Veterinary Technology

>> Find GI Bill-approved bachelor degree programs in Veterinary Technology here.

Students can earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Veterinary Technology and choose a specialty focus such as dentistry, anesthesia, internal medicine, equine medicine, or zoological studies.

The distinction of earning a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school and program earns the recipient the elevated title (and pay) of vet technologist vs a vet technician. Consequently, vet technologists are often in supervisory roles and may even choose to enter into fields such as veterinary research or education.

While earning a bachelor’s degree in an accredited school and program, a student seeking to be a certified veterinary technologist would also complete the same national certification that is required of vet techs in the state. Some states don’t recognize the distinction between vet techs vs technologists although the bachelor’s degree speaks for itself when it comes to job opportunities and salary negotiations!

Jobs you can obtain with a Bachelor’s in Veterinary Technology include:

  • Animal Shelter Manager-Can be found as a municipal job or through a non-profit organization. Responsible for day-to-day operations and animal welfare. Median annual salary: $40,000.
  • Veterinary Technologist– Assist in the examination, diagnosis, and treatment of animals. Median annual salary: $48,000.
  • Clinical Laboratory Veterinary Technologist– Collect samples and perform tests to analyze animals for purposes of testing, research, and/or product development. Median annual salary: $53,000.

Master’s Degree

>> Find GI Bill-approved master degree programs in Veterinary Technology here.

Although you won’t find a master’s degree in veterinary technology, there are a growing variety of master’s degrees and graduate certificates catering to those already working in veterinary medicine. One can typically find a graduate program in the sciences with an emphasis on veterinary sciences or a sub-specialty such a shelter medicine or aquatic animal health.

Those earning a master’s degree or graduate certificate can:

  • have additional earning power
  • undertake supervisory roles
  • enter into research and publishing
  • explore the veterinary medical industry such as animal feeds and pharmaceuticals
  • transition into teaching postsecondary students

Veterinary Technician Degree Programs

Ready to start your degree program for veterinary technician? It is important to note that a degree in veterinary technology (or similar) will not be offered entirely online due to the academic requirements of clinical rotations, hand-on experience, etc.

Check out these great programs available at our partner schools:

Lone Star College

Has a 3-tier (stackable) program that can culminate in an Associate Degree in Veterinary Technology. While some students may choose to enter directly into the Associate of Applied Science (AAS) Vet Tech program, others may choose to work their way through the first two certificate levels (Veterinary Assistant Certificates Levels 1 and 2). These programs are fully accredited by the AVMA.

Post University

Offers an undergraduate Certificate in Equine Veterinary Assistant and a Bachelor of Science in Equine Studies. Post University is a Yellow Ribbon School.

New England Institute of Technology

Offers an Associate of Science in Veterinary Technology Degree. This program is fully accredited by the AVMA. New England Institute of Technology is also a Yellow Ribbon School.

The University of Cincinnati

Offers something completely different with a Certificate of Animal Audiology. Although veterinarians have access to the BAER (Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response) test to assess the hearing of animals, a trained audiologist is still the best option to diagnose audiological issues.

The University of Cincinnati is the only university in the nation that teaches animal audiology to its audiology students through the school’s FETCHLAB. Upon completion of this certificate, the recipient is uniquely qualified to assess and diagnose hearing issues in animals. Read more about the FETCHLAB and this one-of-a-kind program here.

*All average annual salaries adapted and calculated from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates. For more information click here.



About the author

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Born in SoCal yet raised Tampa, Florida - Leah earned her undergraduate BA in Liberal Studies from the University of Central Florida. Leah earned her MA in the MALAS at San Diego State University, while also completing a graduate teaching certificate in English for Secondary Education. An avid traveler, she has visited more than 60 countries. With the birth of her son Spencer in 2012, Leah embarked on her biggest adventure (yet) as parent and Coast Guard wife.