Best Online Vet Tech Schools & Programs

Several schools offer online programs in veterinary technology, which can prepare students for vet tech certification in a few short years. Explore top schools, program requirements and characteristics, and well as what to expect after graduation. Schools offering Veterinary Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Top Online Vet Tech Schools and Programs

When choosing a school with an online vet tech program, students should consider cost, program length, admissions requirements and any residency components. Some of the best schools with online vet tech programs are discussed below.

Learn.org's school ranking methodology categorizes and assesses data from schools and other reliable sources, such as the U.S. Department of Education, and weighs the information based on quality, cost, value and other factors critical to students' academic decisions.

1. Tarleton State University

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Stephenville, TX $7,292 89%

Tarleton State University has an online Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) in Veterinary Technology program that is open to students with an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Veterinary Technology. Students are required to have completed 120 credit hours, 42 of which must be completed at TSU. Students can choose to concentrate their BAS degree in veterinary practice or companion animal, choose a minor in veterinary technology, or earn a certificate in shelter animal medicine. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and has a per-credit tuition rate of $173 to $595, depending on student residency.

2. Medaille College

Location Tuition & Fees % Receiving Financial Aid
Buffalo, NY $29,500 99%

Medaille College offers an online Associate of Applied Science in Veterinary Technology program that has a cost per credit of $425 for most students, or $250 for qualifying military personnel. The program consists of 72 credit hours and can be completed primarily online through 7- and 15-week terms. All program instructors are licensed practicing veterinary technicians or veterans, giving students experienced insight during their studies. The school is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, and the AASVT program is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

3. San Juan College

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Farmington, NM $1,546 89%

In-state students at San Juan College have a tuition rate of $49 per credit hour while out-of-state students have a tuition fee of $155 per credit hour; depending on the number of credits taken, students have an additional $78 to $212 in flat-rate fees per term. San Juan College offers an online certificate in veterinary assistant that consists of 32 to 36 credit hours and takes around one year to complete. Students can also pursue an AAS in Veterinary Technology, which includes online coursework, clinical practice hours near students, and a total of 76 to 80 credit hours. The AAS program is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association, and the college is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

4. St. Petersburg College

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Clearwater, FL $2,682 74%

St. Petersburg College graduates are ranked #1 in Florida for highest wages upon career-entry, and the school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. SPC has an online Associate of Science in Veterinary Technology degree that allows students to complete practice hours near them, consists of 73 credit hours and takes around 3 years to complete. Tuition is $112 per credit hour for in-state residents, while out-of-state residents have a tuition cost of $387 per credit hour. SPC also has an online Bachelor of Applied Science in Veterinary Technology program that consists of 120 credit hours. For the lower-division AS courses in the BAS program, bachelor's students pay the same tuition rate as associate's students. However, for the upper-division courses in this program, in-state students pay a tuition fee of $122.70 and out-of-state residents pay $425.79 per credit.

5. Colby Community College

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Colby, KS $3,758 91%

Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, Colby Community College was ranked as #6 Most Affordable Online Colleges for Veterinary Technicians in the United States in 2017 by the SR Education Group. Their online Associate of Applied Science in Veterinary Nursing program consists of 82 credit hours and takes around two years to complete. Students complete clinical requirements at nearby sites as well as demonstrate clinical skills by completing required tasks over video. The program is fully accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association. Depending on their state of residence, online students have tuition fees of $130 to $190 per credit hour ($215 for international students).

6. Cedar Valley College

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Lancaster, TX $3,330 73%

Cedar Valley College offers online certificate programs in large animal veterinary assisting and small animal veterinary assisting (20 credits each). Students can also earn an Associate of Applied Science in Veterinary Technology through CVC's distance program by completing 60 credit hours. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, and their distance vet tech programs are accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association. The tuition fee per credit hour for CVC's vet tech programs are $59 to $174 per credit hour, depending on student residency.

Overview of Online Vet Tech Programs

There are three main vet tech degree programs, and several types of online vet tech certificate programs. Students should consider their prior education (if applicable) as well as their desired program outcomes when selecting which option is right for them.

  • Associate's Degree: Typically, these programs lead to an associate of applied science (AAS) degree, although some programs may instead award an associate of science (AS). Most of these programs are open to students with a high school diploma or an equivalent and take two years to complete. Students typically do between 70 and 80 credit hours of coursework, learning basic theories, topics and practices of veterinary medicine.
  • Bachelor's Degree (full program): Online bachelor's degree programs for vet techs usually lead to a Bachelor of Applied Science in Veterinary Technology, and take around four years to complete. These programs are open to students who have a high school diploma or the equivalent and typically consist of 120 credit hours. Students take the same courses as students in associate's programs as well as more advanced courses.
  • Bachelor's Degree (transfer): Students who have previously earned an associate's degree in veterinary technology can usually waive up to 80 credit hours of the required bachelor's degree coursework, enabling them to complete their program in less than two years. Students are able to bypass the foundational courses and focus their studies on advanced classes in veterinary medicine.

In addition to degree programs, several schools offer online vet tech certificates such as small animal certification, large animal certification, veterinary assistant and more. These certifications allow graduates to demonstrate their expanded understanding of specific areas. Additionally, some bachelor's degree programs allow students to choose a concentration option such as companion animals or administration. Like certifications, degree concentrations provide graduates with a more specific skillset and understanding relating to their focus area.

The Online Learning Environment

Online vet tech programs typically enable students to complete all of their didactic (non-practice) coursework online. Students may use one centralized site for assignments, discussions, lectures and other course tools, or they may be required to use a learning portal site as well as online lab websites. Regardless of how their online platform is structured, students are provided with a tutorial or online orientation at the start of their program to become familiar with the format.

Common Courses

Online vet tech programs explore various topics in science, medicine, animal science and technology. Discussed below are many courses commonly included in these programs, separated into associate's courses (lower level) and bachelor's degree courses (upper level).

Associate's Degree Courses

Students are required to complete various general education requirements, such as English, mathematics, and communication, as well as program-specific classes. These courses are included in vet tech associate's degree programs and are also used as foundational courses in bachelor's degree programs.

  • Veterinary Nursing - This course explores basic skills used to assist in veterinary medicine, and may be used as an introduction to build a broad foundation, or as a capstone assessment course.
  • Veterinary Anatomy - Students learn the basics of animal anatomies, and may focus on characteristics of canines and other commonly treated animals.
  • Intro to Veterinary Technology - In this course, students learn the basic practices and requirements involved in vet tech positions such as medications, animal restraining and breed identification.
  • Veterinary Office Skills - This course covers various office procedures and practices, such as utilizing software and patient communication, and may also cover regulations and ethics in veterinary medicine.
  • Veterinary Pathology - In this course, students review blood chemistries of animals and lab procedures of veterinary practice including differentiating blood components and using pathological equipment.
  • Veterinary Pharmacology - Students learn the basic properties, uses and classifications of standard pharmaceuticals that are applicable to veterinary medicine.
  • Veterinary Anesthesia & Surgery - Students develop an understanding of anesthesia and surgical practices in veterinary medicine, including sterilization, post-operative care and instruments used.
  • Large Animal Skills - This course teaches students useful tools for assisting with large animal management, restraint, treatments and common health characteristics.
  • Small Animal Skills - Students behaviors and characteristics of small breeds of animals, and may focus on training and behavior modifications of felines and canines.
  • Food Animals - Students review standard practices for managing and caring for food-producing animals as well as common illnesses, treatments and behaviors.
  • Equine Skills - This class discusses equine topics such as proper techniques for care, feeding and disease prevention, as well as reproductive and behavioral implications.
  • Felines and Canines - Students review common practices for caring for felines and canines, common health conditions and treatments, as well as behavioral and reproductive characteristics.

Bachelor's Degree Courses

The classes below are the upper-level courses in bachelor's degree programs, and give students a deeper understanding of veterinary practices and topics. Although specific classes vary by program, those discussed here are commonly found in many vet tech bachelor's degree programs.

  • Regulations in Veterinary Technology - This course gives students a firm understanding of ethical and legal implications of veterinary practice, including those applicable to licensure.
  • Companion Animal Care & Nutrition - Students learn more about pet food ingredients and regulations, guarantees, lifecycles of pets and patient education.
  • Companion Animal Anesthesia, Surgery and Critical Care - Students explore the aspects of animal anesthesia and surgery including pre-operative and post-operative topics.
  • Veterinary Management - Students review useful tools in management roles such as scheduling, animal supervision, communication and performance enhancement.
  • Veterinary Finance - This course explores financial and economic topics relevant to veterinary practice, and often includes topics such as pricing models, equipment, and various other expenditures.
  • Leadership in Veterinary Medicine - Students develop their leadership skills by learning best practices including strategic thinking, influencing and building relationships.

Practical Requirements in Online Vet Tech Programs

Most online vet tech programs require students to complete clinical practice hours, although some programs do not (example: programs open to current veterinary technicians with an associate's degree in veterinary technology). The number of clinical hours required varies by program and state. Some programs require students to attend learning sessions a few times during their entire program, while others require students to work 20 or more hours per week in a veterinary setting. These clinical hours can include building skills in laboratory settings, restraining animals, taking animal histories, administering medications and practicing various other skills.

Certification Requirements for Vet Techs

Vet techs are required to complete specific educational requirements and obtain licensure. There are two types of vet techs: veterinary technicians and veterinary technologists. Veterinary technicians are required to earn an associate's degree in veterinary technology while veterinary technologists need to complete a bachelor's degree. Students typically need to complete programs accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association, as these programs generally enable graduates to qualify for their licensure exams.

Although specific licensure requirements vary by state, many states require candidates to pass the VTNE. The VTNE, or Veterinary Technician National Examination, is a three-hour exam that can be taken at various approved sites throughout the United States. Although the exam does not award certification to candidates, the results are used by states to determine the readiness of candidates.

What is a Vet Tech?

Veterinary technologists and technicians provide care and services to animals under the supervision of licensed veterinarians. Their duties can include conducting diagnostic and laboratory tests, consulting with pet owners, updating pet records and administering medications. They primarily work in animal hospitals and private veterinary clinics, but can also work in educational settings, laboratories and animal shelters. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, vet techs are expected to see a 19% job growth from 2018 to 2028 due to the increasing number of household pets and their required care. In 2018, the median annual salary for all vet techs was $34,420, with the highest-paid techs working in educational settings (such as colleges & universities) and making a median salary of $40,360.

What's the Difference Between Vet, Vet Tech and Vet Assistant?

Those who are passionate about working with animals can choose from a variety of career options that enable them to do so. The table below provides a snapshot of four different jobs in veterinary medicine along with their characteristics, requirements and earnings.

Job Title Required Education Certification Needed Key Job Duties Median Annual Salary (2018) Estimated Job Growth
Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers *High School Diploma *Optional certifications: **Approved Veterinary Assistant
**Assistant Laboratory Animal Technician
**Laboratory Animal Technologist
**Laboratory Animal Technician
*Bathe/feed animals
*Clean cages & equipment
*Assist with collecting samples
*Monitor and care for animals
$27,540 19%
Veterinarians *Doctor of Veterinary Medicine *National certification required (North American Veterinary Licensing Examination)
*State certification required (where applicable)
*Examine and treat animals
*Perform surgeries and testing
*Euthanization
*Prescribe and administer medicines and vaccines
$93,830 18%
Veterinary Technologists and Technicians *Associate's degree (technicians)
*Bachelor's degree (technologists)
*Varies by state, typically includes the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE)*Observe, bathe, and care for animals
*Restrain animals when necessary
*Provide medical care and medications as directed
*Prepare equipment and animals for surgery
$34,420 19%

Job data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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