How Much Schooling Does a Vet Tech Need?

Find out how much schooling you need to become a veterinary technician. Get info on veterinary technician programs, job outlook and salary.

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The Different Types of Vet Tech Programs

Vet techs must have at least a two-year Associate’s degree from an accredited college, although a four-year Bachelor’s degree is becoming the new minimum requirement in some states. Many vet techs choose to specialize in a certain area, such as anesthesia, dentistry, internal medicine, or surgery.

Associate’s Degree

An Associate’s Degree in Veterinary Technology is a two-year degree that is offered by many community colleges and technical schools. After completing an Associate’s Degree in Veterinary Technology, students are eligible to take the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). The VTNE is a credentialing exam that all states use to license veterinary technicians.

Bachelor’s Degree

Bachelor of Veterinary Technology (BVScT) is a four-year program that leads to a professional degree in veterinary technology. The BVScT curriculum emphasizes both clinical and classroom learning, giving students the opportunity to learn about animal health and disease, as well as the science behind Veterinary medicine. In addition to their coursework, students in a BVScT program are required to complete an internship at a veterinary hospital or clinic.

Once they have completed the BVScT program and internship, graduates are eligible to take the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) and become certified Veterinary Technicians (CVTs). In some states, graduates may also be eligible to take additional state exams to become Licensed Veterinary Technicians (LVTs).


A certificate program in veterinary technology can typically be completed in one to two years and is generally offered at community colleges and technical schools. These programs usually include both classroom and laboratory instruction, as well as clinical experience. Many of these programs are approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), which is the accrediting body for vet tech programs.

What to Expect from a Vet Tech Program

A veterinary technician typically needs a two-year degree from an accredited college or university, although some programs may require a four-year degree. Some states also require certification or licensure. After completing a veterinary technician program, graduates typically take a national exam to become certified.

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Classroom Instruction

In order to become a licensed veterinary technician, you must complete a two-year accredited veterinary technology program. During your course of study, you will take classes in animal anatomy and physiology, zoology, clinical pathology, diagnostic imaging, pharmacology, nutrition, surgical nursing and anesthesia. You will also complete externships in a variety of settings, such as small animal clinics, equine hospitals, private practices, shelters and zoos.

Clinical Training

Clinical training is an important part of any vet tech program, as it gives students the chance to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to real-world settings. Clinical training typically takes place in animal hospitals, shelters, and other animal care facilities, and may last anywhere from a few weeks to several months. During clinical training, vet tech students will gain experience in a variety of areas, such as animal anesthesia, surgical assisting, and radiography.


An externship is a period of hands-on training that takes place outside of the vet tech program, usually at a veterinary clinic or animal hospital. Many schools require students to complete an externship as part of their vet tech program, and it’s a great way to get real-world experience working with animals.

Externships can last anywhere from a few weeks to several months, and they usually take place during the final semester of the vet tech program. During an externship, students will work closely with licensed veterinarians and other veterinary professionals to learn about the day-to-day operations of a veterinary practice. They’ll also get the chance to put their skills to use by caring for animals and helping out with medical procedures.

How to Choose the Right Vet Tech Program

Deciding to become a vet tech is a big decision. Not only do you need to make sure that you’re interested in the field and have the right skillset, but you also need to choose the right vet tech program. With so many options out there, it can be tough to know where to start. This guide will help you choose the right vet tech program for you.

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Consider Your Career Goals

When you’re ready to take the next step in your veterinary technician career, it’s important to choose a program that meets your professional goals. Do you want to work in a private clinic or hospital? Would you prefer to specialize in a certain area of veterinary medicine? Do you hope to one day run your own practice? The answers to these questions can help you narrow down your choices and find the right vet tech program for you.

If you’re not sure what you want to do with your career, that’s OK, too. Many vet tech programs offer broad, general education that can be applied to a variety of careers in the veterinary field. These programs can give you the flexibility to explore different specialties and find the one that’s right for you.

No matter what your goals are, it’s important to make sure that the vet tech program you choose is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). This ensures that the program meets high standards for quality and prepares students for state licensing exams.

Consider the Program’s Cost

The cost of a veterinary technician program can vary widely depending on the type of school you attend. Community colleges typically charge much less per credit hour than four-year colleges and universities. In-state tuition at a community college may be half the cost of out-of-state tuition at a university, for example.

Some schools offer discounts to residents of their state or to students who agree to work in underserved areas after graduation. There may also be financial aid available from the school, your state government or the federal government to help offset the cost of your education.

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Consider the Program’s Length

Picking the right veterinary technician program is an important first step to beginning your new career. But with so many programs to choose from, how can you narrow down your options? One way to start is by looking at the length of each program.

Most veterinary technician programs Take about two years to complete if you attend full time. That’s about the same amount of time it takes to earn an associate’s degree. But some schools offer four-year bachelor’s degree programs in veterinary technology. These programs might be a good fit if you’re interested in eventually becoming a veterinary technician supervisor or instructor.

Another factor to consider is whether a program offers externships or clinical rotations as part of the curriculum. Many schools require students to complete at least some hands-on training before they can graduate. Externships or clinical rotations give students the chance to work with animals and learn from licensed veterinary technicians and veterinarians. They also might help you make connections in the field that could lead to a job after graduation.

Consider the Program’s Location

When you’re narrowing down your choices for vet tech programs, one important factor to consider is location. Do you want to stay close to home, or are you willing to travel for the right program? Many students choose to stay close to home so they can continue working and living in their current situation while going to school, but others are willing to move for the perfect program.

If you’re not sure where you want to live after graduation, it might be a good idea to choose a program that’s located in an area with a lot of job opportunities. That way, you’ll have options once you finish your schooling.

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