Home > Top 50 Veterinary Technician Programs in 2017

Top 50 Veterinary Technician Programs in 2017

Veterinary technicians conduct clinical procedures on animals under the supervision of a veterinarian in private clinics, laboratories, animal hospitals, zoos, and other facilities. The demand for vet techs is expanding; the number of vet techs is projected to grow 19% between 2014 and 2024. The median pay for a vet tech is about $32,490 per year, or $15.62 per hour. It can be a physically and emotionally demanding occupation. Students who earn an associate degree in veterinary technology can continue their education by earning a bachelor’s degree. A bachelor’s degree can expand a student’s career opportunities.

An associate degree is commonly required to become a veterinary technician. Some students who enroll in vet tech schools are seeking entry-level employment, while others already work in the veterinary field and wish to expand their career opportunities. In most states, veterinary technicians must pass an exam and become certified, registered, or licensed depending on the state’s requirements. You can find your state’s requirements on the American Association of Veterinary State Boards website.

Candidates for veterinary technician programs need strong science and math skills. They must also work well with animals and humans in stressful situations. Many vet tech programs require students to receive vaccinations for tetanus and/or rabies before participating in certain clinical activities. Many vet tech programs require that applicants be high school graduates, at least 18 years old, and that they’ve completed some college preparatory-level math and science classes. The exact requirements for admission vary from school to school. An individual with a criminal record may not be eligible to receive a certification or licensure as a veterinary technician or work in some veterinary environments.

What Are The Best Veterinary Technician Programs?

The listed vet tech programs are accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association, unless otherwise noted, and prepare graduates to take the necessary exams for certification or licensure. The programs lead to an associate degree, which requires completing general education courses in addition to veterinary classes. The following have been ranked as the 50 best vet tech schools in the United States:

1

Purdue UniversityWest Lafayette, IN

Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN, offers on-campus vet tech programs that include hands-on experience working with animals. The programs include a bachelor of science degree, an associate of applied science degree, and a bachelor of science completion option. These degree paths take between three and four years to complete. A maximum of 30 students are admitted to the vet tech program each year.

For those who prefer to take classes online, Purdue’s veterinary technology distance learning program offers an associate of applied science degree. The curriculum consists of 27 didactic courses and 18 clinical mentorships. It is designed to be taken part-time over a period of three years. Most students who take this program are already working for a veterinarian and plan to continue this career path.

2

University of New HampshireDurham, NH

University of New Hampshire, located in Durham, offers an associate of applied science degree in veterinary technology. The program provides students with hands-on experience working with animals in shelters and at a low-cost vaccination clinic off campus, and a full-service veterinary clinic on-campus. Students have opportunities to work with large animals on campus. Applicants must have passed college-preparatory math, biology, and chemistry classes. Prior experience working with animals in a professional setting is recommended.

3

SUNY College of Technology at AlfredAlfred, NY

SUNY College of Technology, located in Alfred, NY, offers a two-year vet tech program. Graduates earn an associate of applied science degree in veterinary technology and are prepared for licensure exams. A 240-hour preceptorship is also required for graduation, which can be completed by working part-time at an appropriate veterinary facility.

4

SUNY College of Technology at DelhiDelhi, NY

SUNY College of Technology, located in Delhi, NY, offers an associate of applied science degree in veterinary science technology. The program offers facilities for hands-on education with companion, lab, and farm animals. The large complex houses livestock, including horses, cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, and chickens. Students receive on-the-job training during required preceptorships. Special educational opportunities include working with shelter animals, raising “Guiding Eyes for the Blind” puppies on campus, special electives, and a wildlife management study abroad program in South Africa.

5

Johnson CollegeScranton, PA

Johnson College, located in Scranton, PA, has an associate of science degree in veterinary technology that prepares students for work as entry-level technicians. Second-year students gain hands-on experience by completing clinical rotations in the on-campus pet wellness center. The program consists 69 credit hours taken during a two-year period.

6

Northwestern State University of LouisianaNatchitoches, LA

Northwestern State, located in Natchitoches, offers an associate degree in veterinary technology. The program consists of 81 credit hours which are taken over three years. An veterinary internship provides real-world experience.

7

Vermont Technical CollegeRandolph, VT

Vermont Technical College, located in Randolph Center, offers a two-year veterinary technology program. The faculty includes two full-time veterinarians and a certified veterinary technician. Students receive hands-on experience working with animals. The facility on the main campus gives students the chance to work with various companion animals, sheep, chickens, and rabbits. The college farm provides opportunities to work with dairy cattle and horses.

8

Ogeechee Technical CollegeStatesboro, GA

Ogeechee Technical College in Statesboro, Georgia, offers a veterinary technology associate of applied science degree. Students must earn at least 80 credit hours and complete a minimum of 1,995 contact hours. This program can be completed in six semesters. The vet tech internship requires a minimum of 540 hours in a supervised clinical setting, with students receiving hands-on experience performing the functions of an actual tech.

9

Northeast Community CollegeNorfolk, NE

Northeast Community College in Norfolk, Nebraska, offers an associate of applied science degree in veterinary technology. This program requires students to earn at least 77 credit hours, including an internship in a veterinary clinic during the last semester. Applicants must complete 50 hours of observation with a licensed veterinary technician.

10

SUNY College of Technology at CantonCanton, NY

SUNY College of Technology in Canton, New York, blends classroom instruction with practical, hands-on experience. Graduates earn an associate of applied science degree in veterinary science technology. The degree requires 66 credit hours and is taken over a two-year period, but students have up to four years to complete the degree. Students work with animals in small laboratory sections that include an average of about 20 students each. In the final year of the program, each student must complete two 120-hour preceptorships in a facility such as a veterinary hospital, animal shelter, animal research facility, or zoo.

11

Medaille CollegeBuffalo, NY

Medaille College in Rochester, New York, offers an associate of applied science degree in veterinary technology that can be earned either on campus or through an online program. The on-campus program includes hands-on training and consists of 70 credit hours taken over two and a half years. Students meet one evening per week from 6:00-10:00 p.m. in order to accommodate students who are working full-time. The online program consists of 70 credit hours taken over two years. The in-person program is AVMA-accredited, and Medaille College has applied for AVMA accreditation for the online program.

12

Central Carolina Community CollegeSanford, NC

Central Carolina Community College, located in Sanford, North Carolina, offers a program which consists of 71 credit hours. The program takes five semesters to complete and leads to an associate in applied science degree in veterinary medical technology. The program gives students access to a diverse selection of animals, including a large dog and cat ward and other large animals. Students receive hands-on experience and view demonstrations of various techniques. Classes are held on campus during weekdays. Some classes may be taken online, but the majority must be attended in person.

13

Morehead State UniversityMorehead, KY

MSU, located in Morehead, KY, offers an associate of applied science in veterinary technology. The six-semester program consists of 62 credit hours. Applicants must have completed a minimum of 120 hours of supervised work or volunteer experience in a professional veterinary setting. A written recommendation from the supervising veterinarian also is required. Enrollment is limited to 40 students per year.

14

Gaston CollegeDallas, NC

Gaston College offers an associate of applied science degree in veterinary medical technology. The program consists of 73 credit hours which are taken over six semesters. Classes are held during weekdays, generally running from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Beginning in the third semester, students must complete daily kennel duty and animal care duty. Some courses are available at night, but all veterinary classes are held during the day.

15

Nebraska College of Technical AgricultureCurtis, NE

Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture, located in Curtis, offers an an associate of applied science degree in veterinary technology systems. Students will gain hands-on experience working with a wide variety of animals, and can learn more by completing internships, working in laboratories, or traveling with the NCTA Safari Club.

16

Lincoln Memorial UniversityHarrogate, TN

Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee, offers an associate of science degree in veterinary medical technology. The program can be completed in two years with a curriculum that consists of 73 credit hours, or completed in three years which takes 78-80 credit hours. Applicants must complete 20 hours of observation in a veterinary facility before applying and submit confidential evaluator forms from two separate sources. The program emphasizes hands-on experience with animals, preventative medicine, and community service.

17

Bellingham Technical CollegeBellingham, WA

Bellingham Technical College, located in Bellingham, Washington, offers a vet tech program which leads to an associate of applied science degree. The program consists of 155 credit hours, spanning the pre-program and six quarters. Students receive hands-on training, which prepares them for their career as a vet tech, and 97% of learners who complete the program are employed within nine months of graduation.

18

Shawnee Community CollegeUllin, IL

Shawnee Community College, located in Ullin, Illinois, offers an associate of science degree in veterinary technology. The two-year program consists of 67-68 credit hours. Applicants must complete 30 hours of supervised veterinary clinical observation or employment before admission. The program is offered through the Southern Illinois Collegiate Common Market (SICCM). This allows students from several colleges across southern Illinois to take general education courses on their own campuses and veterinary courses together in a central classroom on the SICCM campus in Herrin, IL.

19

Southeastern Illinois CollegeHarrisburg, IL

Southeastern Illinois College in Harrisburg, IL, offers an associate of science degree in veterinary technology. The two-year program consists of 68 credit hours. The program is offered through the Southern Illinois Collegiate Common Market (SICCM), which allows students from several colleges across southern Illinois to take general education courses on their own campuses and veterinary courses at a central classroom on the SICCM campus in Herrin, IL.

20

Colby Community CollegeColby, KS

Colby Community College, located in Colby, Kansas, offers an associate of applied science degree in veterinary technology, available either on campus or online. Both options consist of 82 credit hours. On-campus students can complete the program in two years. Online students have the option of either a part-time or full-time course load, which takes four years and two years respectively. On-campus students receive hands-on training with various animals and have access to large animals on the 60-acre farm located east of Colby.

21

Southern Regional Technical CollegeThomasville, GA

Southern Regional Technical College in Thomasville, Georgia, offers an associate of applied science degree in veterinary technology. The six-semester program consists of 81 credit hours, including a clinical internship in the final semester. Students receive hands-on training with cats and dogs. They also learn how to identify the parasites most commonly found in small animals, how to perform x-rays, and how to perform an intravenous catheterization on cats and dogs.

22

Ridgewater CollegeBridgewater, VA

Ridgewater College in Willmar, Minnesota, offers an associate of applied science degree in veterinary technology. The program consists of 75 credit hours. It is designed to be completed in about two years, but a student may take three or more years if they are simultaneously working more than 20 hours per week. Classes start each fall, with approximately 60 students in each class. These classes are divided into lab groups, containing no more than 16 students per lab, and each lab has a veterinarian instructor and a certified veterinary technician laboratory assistant. The small student-to-instructor ratio guarantees each student will receive personal attention.

23

Becker CollegeWorcester, MA

Becker College in Worcester, Massachusetts, offers an associate of science degree in veterinary technology. The program lasts two years and consists of 64 credit hours. Students receive classroom instruction and gain hands-on experience at Becker’s Lenfest Animal Center, which features a busy veterinary clinic. Additional learning opportunities include field trips to shelters and large animal facilities, and an externship experience in an approved veterinary practice or facility.

24

Northern Virginia Community CollegeAnnandale, VA

Northern Virginia Community College, located in Sterling, offers an associate of applied science degree in veterinary technology. A full-time program is available for on-campus students, which is designed to last two years. A part-time, online course is available as well for students who work as a veterinary assistant at an approved practice site for an average of at least 20 hours per week. The online program takes three years to complete.

25

Athens Technical CollegeAthens, GA

Athens Technical College in Athens, Georgia, offers an associate of applied science degree in veterinary technology. Students must complete a minimum of 80 credit hours to earn this degree. The program is designed to allow graduates to obtain entry-level employment as a vet tech working with any type of animal. It is recommended that applicants have previous experience, either volunteer or paid, working in a veterinary hospital or other animal care facility under the supervision of a veterinarian.

26

Eastern Iowa Community CollegesDavenport, IA

Eastern Iowa Community College offers an associate of applied science degree in veterinary technology at its Muscatine location. Students must complete a minimum of 74 credit hours to earn this degree. The program is designed to last five semesters, including one summer semester. The program is limited to 24 students per year.

27

Blue Ridge Community CollegeWeyers Cave, VA

Blue Ridge Community College in Weyers Cave, Virginia, offers an associate of applied science degree in animal science: veterinary technology. Applicants must observe in a veterinary hospital for a minimum of 35 hours in the last calendar year before applying and submit a completed reference form from a supervising veterinarian or licensed veterinary technician. Students must complete a minimum of 72 credit hours to earn this degree, plus a coordinated externship which includes 350 hours of work in a veterinary hospital.

A two-year program is offered on campus at the Weyers Cave location, and a three-year distance learning program is offered through other community colleges in the state. The distance program is restricted to Virginia residents currently working as veterinary assistants. Distance learners meet twice a week at the distance learning center and must travel to the Weyers Cave campus for laboratories three times per semester.

28

Truckee Meadows Community CollegeReno, NV

Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, Nevada, offers an associate of applied science degree in veterinary technology. The program consists of 73 credit hours taken over the course of six semesters. It is recommended that applicants complete at least six months of work in a veterinary facility or hospital. Applicants without experience must complete 50 hours of observation at a veterinary hospital and submit a form signed by a supervising veterinarian.

29

Mount Ida CollegeNewton, MA

Mount Ida College in Newton, Massachusetts offers two on-campus vet tech programs that include hands-on experience working with animals on-campus in the state-of-the-art Center for Veterinary Technology and off campus at Tufts University and a local equestrian facility. The programs include a bachelor of science degree in veterinary technology, a three year associate of arts degree in veterinary technology, and a master of science in management degree. Students work closely with internship coordinators to complete two to six professional internships. Other opportunities for students include study abroad and travel courses, working with local animal shelters, and working with the community on service learning projects. The Veterinary Technology program at Mount Ida College is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).

30

Pierce College - Fort SteilacoomLakewood, WA

Pierce College, located in Fort Steilacoom, Washington, offers an associate degree in veterinary technology. The program consists of 93 credit hours taken full-time over the course of three years. Classes and other commitments are scheduled over 30 daytime hours or more per week; it is not recommended that students take the program while maintaining a job. Enrollment is limited to 40 students per year.

31

San Diego Mesa CollegeSan Diego, CA

San Diego Mesa College offers an associate of science degree in animal health technology. It’s a full-time, two-year program consisting of 60 credit hours. Students must complete 120-150 hours in an animal health technology work environment during their second year, such as an animal hospital or veterinary clinic.

32

Palo Alto CollegeSan Antonio, TX

Palo Alto College in San Antonio, Texas, offers an associate of applied science degree in veterinary technology. It is a full-time, two-year program consisting of at least 60 credit hours. Enrollment is limited to 50 students each year. Applicants must complete 80 hours of work experience in a veterinary clinic before applying and submit a recommendation from a veterinarian with the application.

33

Northeast Iowa Community CollegeCalmar, IA

Northeast Iowa Community College in Calmar offers an associate of applied science degree in agriculture and animal sciences upon completion of the large animal veterinary technician program. The program requires a minimum of 72 credit hours and can be completed in two years. The program focuses on large animal medicine, but covers all aspects of veterinary technician medicine, including working with companion animals. The program gives students access to the college’s dairy herd and a commercial companion animal hospital. Professional internships offer additional practical experience with a variety of animals.

34

Mt. San Antonio CollegeWalnut, CA

Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, California, offers an associate of science degree in registered veterinary technology. The program requires students to earn a total of 88 credit hours and can be completed in two years, although many students take longer. Students receive hands-on experience with large and small animals at a 150 acre farm and a state-of-the-art veterinary medical facility.

35

New England Institute of TechnologyEast Greenwich, RI

New England Institute of Technology in East Greenwich, Rhode Island, offers an associate of science degree in veterinary technology. The program may be completed in 18 months. Students gain hands-on experience with clinical and laboratory work.

36

Iowa Lakes Community CollegeEstherville, IA

Iowa Lakes Community College in Emmetsburg offers an associate of applied science degree in veterinary technology. The two-year program consists of 77 credit hours. Students take a small animal clinic observation course and a large animal clinic observation course during their first year. Learners are also required to complete a professional internship during the summer semester between their first and second year.

37

Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community CollegeAsheville, NC

Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College in Asheville, North Carolina, offers an associate of applied science degree in veterinary medical technology. The two-year program requires 73 credit hours. The curriculum provides plenty of hands-on experience. Students take classes on veterinary clinical practices and lab techniques throughout the second year, and the sixth semester consists of professional, work-based learning.

38

Hillsborough Community CollegeTampa, FL

Hillsborough Community College in Plant City, Florida, offers an associate of science degree in veterinary medical technology. The two-year program requires students to earn 73 credit hours. The curriculum provides plenty of hands-on experience. Students take classes in veterinary clinical practices and lab techniques throughout the second year, and the sixth semester consists of work-based learning in a professional veterinary environment.

39

Cosumnes River CollegeSacramento, CA

Cosumnes River College in Sacramento, California, offers an associate of science degree in veterinary technology. The two-year program requires students to earn 60 credit hours. The second year includes a minimum of 300 hours of work experience in a professional veterinary work setting. Students are assigned to care for the college’s animals throughout the two-year program.

40

Northwestern Connecticut Community CollegeWinsted, CT

Northwestern Connecticut Community College in Winsted offers an associate of science degree in veterinary technology. Applicants are advised to spend at least 20 hours observing at a veterinary practice before applying. The program requires students to earn 68 credit hours. The program can be completed in two years by a full-time student, and part-time students have up to five years to complete the program. Students must complete two off-campus externships — one consisting of 150 hours and the other 200 hours — before they can become eligible to graduate.

41

Northampton County Area Community CollegeBethlehem, PA

Northampton Community College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, offers an associate of applied science degree in veterinary technology. Applicants must spend at least 20 hours observing at a veterinary practice before applying. The program consists of 68 credit hours taken over a period of two years. Classes are offered during the day. The final summer session is a professional externship. NCC works with Lehigh Carbon Community College to provide the program to students at both schools. Classes are held on both campuses. NCC’s campus includes the program’s clinical science laboratory, and the LCCC campus is home to a veterinary training facility.

42

Windward Community CollegeKaneohe, HI

University of Hawaii’s Windward Community College in Kaneohe offers an associate of science degree in veterinary technology. The degree consists of four semesters, beginning with two semesters spent earning a certificate of achievement in veterinary assisting. Students who earn the veterinary assistant certificate are eligible to apply for the second year to earn the associate degree. Only 25 spots are open for the associate degree each year. During the second year, students intern at three of WCC’s preceptor clinics and shelters, gaining real-world experience and the opportunity to be evaluated and critiqued by veterinary professionals.

43

Piedmont Technical CollegeGreenwood, SC

Piedmont Technical College, located in Greenwood, South Carolina, offers an associate of applied science degree in veterinary technology. The program consists of 77 credit hours taken over five semesters. Students work with dogs, cats, and other small animals at the local animal shelter in Newberry County to gain experience with companion animals. Large animal medicine classes include visits to local farms, where students can work with dairy cattle, horses, goats, sheep, and other livestock. Six credit hours are earned from a clinical externship.

44

Rochester Community and Technical CollegeRochester, MN

Rochester Community and Technical College offers an associate of applied science degree in veterinary technology. The program is limited to 36 students per year. It consists of 75 credit hours and can be completed in two years on a full-time schedule. Training includes a combination of classroom, laboratory, and field experience.

45

Trident Technical CollegeCharleston, SC

Trident Technical College, located in Charleston, South Carolina, offers an associate of applied science degree in veterinary technology. The program can be completed on a full-time or part-time schedule. The full-time schedule contains 77 credits and can be completed in two years. The part-time schedule contains 79 credits and can be completed in three years. Students are only allowed to work with animals from local shelters that are less likely to be adopted. Faculty and students address these animal’s medical, surgical, and social needs. Students work to socialize, clean, and groom them as well. This treatment significantly improves the chance of the animal being adopted.

46

Columbia State Community CollegeColumbia, TN

Columbia State Community College offers an associate of applied science degree in veterinary technology. Applicants are required to spend a minimum of 8 hours observing in a veterinary clinical setting. The two-year program consists of 73 credit hours. Clinical training is provided at various veterinary facilities. Up to 48 first-year students can be accepted, though the average class size in recent years has been 30 students.

47

Arkansas State UniversityBeebe, AR

Arkansas State University in Beebe offers an associate of applied science degree in veterinary technology. Applicants are required to spend a minimum of 20 hours observing in a veterinary clinical setting and submit a form signed by the observed veterinarian. The two-year program consists of 71 credit hours. Some of the required general education courses can be taken at night or online, but the veterinary classes are all held during the day. Up to 40 students can be accepted to the program annually.

48

San Juan CollegeFarmington, NM

San Juan College in Farmington, New Mexico, offers an associate of applied science degree in veterinary technology. The classroom instruction for this program is completed online. Hands-on exercises and laboratory work occurs at a veterinary practice. The program consists of 76-77 credit hours. A full-time student can complete the program in two years; part-time study will take about four years.

49

Kent State University at TuscarawasNew Philadeplphia, OH

Kent State University offers an associate of applied science degree in veterinary technology. The degree can be completed at the Tuscarawas and Trumbull, Ohio, campuses. Applicants must spend at least 25 hours observing a registered veterinary technician at a veterinary practice. Up to 48 students can be admitted annually at the Tuscarawas campus, and up to 24 students at the Trumbull campus. The program consists of 70 credit hours and can be taken over five semesters once the prerequisite courses have been completed. The final semester includes a practicum worth five credits, during which the student will gain hands-on experience working in a veterinary clinic or approved clinical site.

50

Gwinnett Technical CollegeLawrenceville, GA

Gwinnett Technical College in Lawrenceville, Georgia, offers an associate of applied science degree in veterinary technology. The program consists of 79 credit hours and can be completed in five semesters if prerequisites have been completed. A veterinary technology clinical internship worth 12 credit hours provides real-world experience. During the internship learners are supervised by a veterinarian or a registered veterinary technician.


To determine the best vet technician schools, we looked at the most important factors prospective students, mainly common predictors of future success and a school’s commitment to online programs. This boils down to admissions rate, student loan default rate, retention rate, graduation rate, and the percent of students enrolled in online classes. All data points are taken from information provided by colleges and universities to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Each factor is weighted evenly in order to give an objective view and determine the 50 best vet technician programs. To calculate our rankings, we looked at a school’s ranking when organized by a single factor, and then averaged each category’s ranking to find an overall score: Admissions Rate (20%) + Default Rate (20%) + Retention Rate (20%) + Graduation Rate (20%) + Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes (20%) = Final score.