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Best Online Degrees in: Veterinary Technician

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Explore a Bachelor's Degree in Veterinary Technician

If you want to make a career out of helping animals, but don't have the time, money, or desire to pursue a professional doctorate in veterinary medicine, you may want to consider a career as a veterinary technician. A veterinary technician will perform tasks such as recording an animal's medical history and vital information, performing routine clinical and laboratory procedures, and assisting the veterinarian during procedures. Each state has licensing and education requirements for veterinary technicians. In most cases, you will need to earn a degree in veterinary technology through an accredited program. A bachelor's degree can usually be earned in four years, but this depends on whether you are a full- or part-time student, your ability to pass each class and progress through the program, how many credits you are able to transfer and use toward your degree, and the program's requirements.

Class Curriculum

An online veterinary technician program will cover the anatomy of different types of animals, equipment, methods, and technology used to examine and treat animals, clinical and laboratory procedures, and laws, ethics, and regulations that apply to the veterinary industry. Each program differs, but the following is a list of a few of the most common classes found in a veterinary technician program:

  • Introduction to Veterinary Technology. This class will focus on the duties and responsibilities of a veterinary technician and introduce animal science, clinical, laboratory, and office procedures, animal behavior and handling, medical record management, medical terminology, and ethics and legal aspects of veterinary practice. Many of the other courses in the program will expand on what you learn in this course.
  • Pharmacology and Anesthesiology. This class will focus on the different medications and anesthesia used to treat animals. Students will learn proper usage, dosage, actions, and side effects associated with each medication.
  • Animal Anatomy and Physiology. This class will cover the systems found in different animal species, such as the skeletal, muscular, and reproductive systems. Students will also learn about the location and function of major organs.

Some of the assignments veterinary technician students can expect include taking exams and writing papers over the topics covered in each course. Some programs may require you to prepare a medical record, describe methods of treatment, and identify what medications may be used based on a description of an animal and its condition. Veterinary tech programs will also require a certain amount of hands-on training in the field, earned through labs, clinical hours, or internships.

Building a Career

Most veterinary technicians work for a veterinarian or group of veterinarians in a private clinic, at animal hospitals, or in animal laboratories. Much of a veterinary technician's time is spent in examination rooms and laboratories examining animals, performing tests, assisting the veterinarian, and consulting the animal owners. This is considered to be a somewhat dangerous profession because many of the animals undergoing treatment are injured, afraid, or otherwise distressed, and may attack, causing injuries.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that the average income for veterinary technicians is $29,710 a year. Your income may be different because several factors are used to determine what you will be paid, such as the type of facility you work at, who you work for, the city and state you work in, and your level of experience. Earning a veterinary technician degree doesn't guarantee that you will be able to find a job, but the BLS is expecting employment to grow 52% through the year 2020, which is significantly higher job growth than what is projected in other occupations.