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Online Animal Care Degrees

Find out how you can earn an animal care-related degree in veterinary technology via online learning. Check the prerequisites for enrolling in one of these undergraduate programs, and learn how online or hybrid programs work. Explore some of the course topics you'd study, and get job outlook and salary info for veterinary technicians.

What Are The Prerequisites for Online Animal Care Degrees?

Online animal care degree programs typically prepare you for a career as a veterinary technician or veterinary assistant. Degree programs are available at the associate's and bachelor's degree levels. Online Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) programs that prepare you to become a veterinarian are not available, due to the advanced medical training required.

You may need to fulfill some prerequisites to enroll in an online animal care program. An Associate of Science (A.S.) in Veterinary Technology degree, as well as a Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.S.) in Veterinary Technology, may require previous coursework in biology, chemistry, English and advanced math.

Admission RequirementsDepending on the program, prior coursework in biology, chemistry and math may be required
Common Course TopicsIntro to veterinary nursing care, vet diagnostic imaging, dental techniques in veterinary medicine, medical therapeutics and pharmacology
Online Program DetailsSelf-motivated and disciplined students may excel in online programs, which may allow you to work at your own pace or set various deadlines
Median Salary (2018)$34,420 (veterinary technologists and technicians)
Job Outlook22% (for animal care and service workers between 2016-2026) and 20% (for veterinary technologists and technicians between 2016-2026)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Will I Study?

Core coursework in these programs varies, depending on the degree you pursue, but topics of study usually include:

  • Intro to veterinary nursing care
  • Medical therapeutics and pharmacology
  • Diseases in small and large animals
  • Vet diagnostic imaging
  • Surgical assistance and veterinary anesthesia
  • Veterinary physiology and anatomy
  • Dental techniques in veterinary medicine

How Do Online Programs Work?

Earning an animal care degree online may be the perfect solution if you're a self-motivated and self-disciplined individual whose schedule doesn't allow on-campus attendance. Some online programs allow you to work at your own pace; others may require courses to be completed by a certain date. Online courses are delivered through an online learning system, such as Blackboard or Angel.

Depending on your level of study, your animal care program may be fully online, Web-enhanced or hybrid. To gain the necessary hands-on experience working with animals and medical equipment, you'll usually be required to complete on-the-job training or clinical experiences at a veterinarian's office or animal hospital in your local area. Many schools offer financial aid for distance learning students.

What Can I Do With My Degree?

You might find work in a veterinary hospital, animal clinic or zoological park. Most states require veterinary technicians to pass a licensing exam.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of animal care and service workers grew by 22% between 2016 and 2026 (www.bls.gov). Employment of veterinary technicians grew by an estimated 20% during the same time frame. The BLS notes that future job growth for animal care workers depends on the economy's strength; pet owners spend more on animal services during periods of economic growth.