8 Online Vet Tech Programs as Good as On-campus Ones

by Kate Williams

If you’ve always dreamed of working with veterinarians to treat animals, online vet tech programs give you the training you need. These programs are accredited and they are just as good as on-campus programs.

If you are looking to change your career, online vet tech programs allow you to earn your degree while working in your current career.

These programs require you to work in a veterinary practice or at an animal hospital. But where you do your coursework is up to you.

What Are Vet Tech Duties?

Vet techs work under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian. Their duties include:

  • Watch the condition and behavior of animals
  • Give first-aid to sick or injured animals
  • Bathe animals, clip nails and groom them
  • Restrain animals during the exam or during medical procedures
  • Give anesthesia and monitor the results
  • Take x rays and perform lab tests including urinalyses and blood draws
  • Prepare animals and equipment for surgery
  • Give medicine, vaccines, and treatments prescribed by the veterinarian
  • Write and maintain medical records

Where Vet Techs Work

Vet techs work in private clinical practices or animal hospitals. You will interact with animal owners. Many times you are the first face that pet owners see when they visit the vet.

This means you should be able to communicate clearly with nervous or upset pet owners. You will have to explain in simple terms what treatments have been prescribed.

Vet tech jobs are physically and emotionally demanding. You may see severely abused animals or have to help euthanize sick, injured, or unwanted animals.

Euthanizing animals can be difficult, especially if you’ve developed a relationship with the pet owner.

Is Being a Vet Tech Dangerous?

Vet techs can get injured at work. Animals can bite, scratch, or kick them. Aggressive or scared animals can lash out, despite the vet tech’s best efforts to retrain them safely.

Being a vet tech requires a strong stomach. It can be pretty gross. You have to be ok around vomit, infections, diarrhea, and traumatic injuries. A vet tech knows this is part of the job.

Working With Pet Owners

Vet techs often have the first contact with the pet owners. Some animal owners go to Google to diagnose their animal.

Some pet owners may try to what you should do to help the cat or dog. While others will haggle over the expense and question if the treatment is needed.

How Long Vet Techs Go to School

Vet techs must pass a credentialing exam and must be registered, licensed, or certified, depending on the state they work in. They have to earn an associate’s degree, which is a two-year degree.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredits veterinary programs.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Requirements vary state to state, but most vet techs must pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE), offered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards.

Find your state’s veterinary board.

Online Vet tech programs can be taken at home on your schedule.

Online Vet Tech Programs Accredited By the AVMA

Ashworth College, Georgia

The first of the online vet tech programs gives you 270 hours of clinical experience. You do your coursework online. You have up to four years from the date of enrollment to earn your vet tech degree online.

Tuition and fees: Just over $5,000

Cedar Valley College, Texas

Cedar Valley College is part of the Dallas County Community College system. It offers an Associate of Applied Science in Veterinary Technology that takes about 5 semesters to complete.

The program costs just over $3,000 for Dallas County residents. Courses are offered on-site and online.

Colby Community College, Kansas

This program offers an Associate of Applied Science in Veterinary Nursing. It is available on campus and online.

Students in the Distance Learning Veterinary Nursing Program complete classroom coursework online. Students are not required to visit the campus.

Distance learning students must have a computer with a webcam, a headset with a microphone, and reliable, high-speed Internet.

Starting with the second term of the program, students must also have a veterinary hospital where they can complete their veterinary clinical experiences courses.

Jefferson State Community College, Alabama

Some online vet tech programs require you to live and study within the state it is offered. The Jefferson State Veterinary Nursing Program requires you to:

  • Access to a computer with an internet connection
  • The ability to work or volunteer for a veterinarian within Alabama for a minimum of 20 hours per week.

 Program Brochure

Medaille College-Online New York

Medaille offers the associate degree in Veterinary Technology online or on its Rochester campus as an accelerated evening and weekend program.

The A.A.S. in Veterinary Technology prepares you to take the Veterinary Technician National Exam.

The program satisfies the New York State Education requirements for professional licensure as a veterinary technician.

Penn Foster College, Arizona

Penn Foster has the most well-known of the online vet tech programs. It is a four-semester Veterinary Technician Associate Degree that includes online vet tech classes.

Each semester costs about $1,800 and can be paid monthly. Discounts are available if you pay in one lump sum per semester. See pricing.

This program allows you to complete two externships at a veterinary clinic near you, or you can apply through one of the school’s partners VCA Animal Hospitals or Banfield Pet Hospital.

Purdue University, Indiana

Named as one of the top programs in 2019 by TheBestColleges.org, this veterinary nursing program can be done all online or on campus.

This is a science-based veterinary nursing program offering an Associate in Applied Science degree.

Students may move through the program at their own pace and have the flexibility to take more classes per semester, allowing a student to potentially complete the Associate Degree curriculum in as little as three years.

There are 18 clinical mentorships that must be completed at a veterinary health care facility.

Purdue University’s online vet tech programs offer something unique — study abroad opportunities.

Purdue Veterinary Medicine (PVM) offers the chance to work at wildlife rehabilitation center in Guatemala, or a chance to work at Rakuno Gakuen University Veterinary Clinic in Japan. 

More study abroad information is available here. 

San Juan College, New Mexico

San Juan College’s online vet tech programs emphasize the techniques for assisting in diagnostic, surgical, and clinical procedures with business skills necessary to meet the needs of the Veterinary Technology profession.

Veterinary Practice News, an online publication, recently named San Juan College number one among two-year online veterinary technology programs in the United States.

All program-specific courses are 12 weeks long. Required general education courses are 16 weeks.

Veterinary courses are broken down into tiers 1 through 4 and begin in January, May, and August of each year.

Students can complete 1-4 courses per semester.

Students can expect to devote approximately 4 to 6 hours per week to each course.

Vet Tech Salary

The median annual salary for veterinary technicians was $34,420 as of May 2018 says the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The lowest 10% earned less than $23,490, and the highest 10% earned more than $50,010.

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