Become A Veterinary Technician Online
If you want to become a veterinary technician online, the first thing you need to know is that every online vet tech school is different! The answers you find here are general guidelines, however, make sure to research the each specific online vet tech school you are interested in.
Click on a school name to get more information about their veterinary technician distance learning program, including credit hours, tuition, online experience, student resources, and much more.
|Blue Ridge Community College (VA)|
|Cedar Valley College (TX)|
|Jefferson State Community College (AL)|
|Moraine Park Technical College (WI)|
|Northern Virginia Community College (VA)|
|Penn Foster College (AZ)|
|Purdue University (IN)|
|St. Petersburg College (FL)|
|San Juan College (NM)|
Q. How do I become a veterinary technician online? Do I have to be working a vet’s office?
Online vet tech programs use a combination of web-based classes, didactic testing, and clinical mentorships to prepare you for your career. Web-based courses can be done from the comfort of your own home and are comparable to the typical lecture classes you’d be taking at any other school. These web classes require you to pass tests on the material as well, which must be given by an approved examination proctor (more on this below). Once the web-based portion of your classes are completed, you move on to a clinical mentorship, which requires you to work hands-on under the supervision of a vet or credentialed vet tech.
Q. How long does it take to complete an online vet tech program?
The whole point of distance learning is to provide flexibility to students who cannot commit full-time schooling. Although online vet tech programs do have deadlines, you are working at your own pace for the most part. If you’d like to complete the degree requirements at full-time student speed, it should take you no more than 2 years. Most students CAN’T commit to that type of time schedule. If you are taking 3-4 credit hours online per semester, it would take you 5 years to complete the degree at that pace. For your own personal calculations, most online vet tech programs require about 70-75 credit hours.
Q. How much studying will my online veterinary technician degree require?
Obviously, everybody learns differently. Keep in mind that some coursework can be difficult. A strong emphasis on science and math means you should spend at least 3 hours studying for every 1 credit hour you take. So if a certain course is 1 credit hour, you should spend 3 hours each week studying the material. If you fall behind in your assignments this is going to catch up with you quickly, so make sure to stay on top of your studies.
Q. How do tests and exams work?
In most cases, schools require the student to find a veterinarian, credentialed veterinary technician, or educator to serve as an exam proctor. The student cannot be related to the professional they choose to work with.
The school sends test materials directly to the proctor, who is responsible for providing an appropriate testing area for the student (quiet, secure, no notes or books available). Once the student has completed the test, the proctor sends it directly back to the school. In many cases the proctor makes a copy of the completed test before mailing it back. This allows the student to get feedback on their work when they receive the test answers, and also serves as an emergency backup in case the original test is lost in the mail.
Q. Do I need a clinical mentorship if I want to become a veterinary technician online?
Every program I’ve seen requires some form of clinical mentorship that allows the student to get some hands-on experience. Each school has different standards for veterinary facilities that meet the requirements for mentorship, so you will need to research online programs on a case-by-case basis. The tasks you need to complete for most clinical mentorships require that you work with certain animals (small, large, and laboratory), equipment, supplies, and types of cases.
Once you have completed the web-based portion and didactic testing for your degree, you are eligible for the clinical mentorship. To do this you will need to form a relationship with a veterinarian or credentialed veterinary technician that serve as the off-campus “eyes” for the program. These professionals are responsible for observing you as you perform all of the required tasks for the mentorship according to the guidelines required by your particular school. Certain tasks may have to be performed multiple times, and even though your vet or vet technician may do things differently, you must perform your tasks in accordance with the way your program has taught you.
For most clinical mentorship tasks, you will be required to send in a video of you completing the task according to the program’s criteria. The final judge of whether or not you have satisfactorily completed your clinical mentorship will be faculty members at the school.
Obviously, to do a clinical mentorship you need to develop a relationship with a vet or vet technician that is comfortable and willing to serve as your mentor. You should reach out to potential candidates early on in your online vet tech degree so that when the time comes, you can jump right into it. Many students wait until the last moment and then find themselves without a suitable place to perform the mentorship tasks. The school can assist with placement in some cases, but you are much better off doing this on your own. Here is some great advice from Dr. David Wright about finding a clinical mentor.
Q. What type of coursework will I be taking if I become a veterinary technician online?
Every program is different, but many do share some coursework similarities. You can expect plenty of credit hours in anatomy physiology, nursing, health management, anesthesia, imaging, ophthalmology, dermatology, oncology, clinical pathology, laboratory health management, pharmacology, microbiology, and more! Your clinical mentorship coursework will require you to apply all of the principles you learned in your web-based classes to actually perform procedures in nursing, anesthesia, sterilization, diagnostic imaging, parasitology, pharmacy, necropsy, and more.
Q. What are the admissions requirements for becoming a veterinary technician online?
Most online vet tech programs require a high school transcript that verifies high school graduation (or equivalent). You also need a couple of semesters of Biology, Chemistry, Math, and English at the high school level. Applicants should be at least 18 years of age.
Some schools require applicants to submit their SAT-1 or ACT scores. Some students who have completed college coursework or who have been out of high school for a long period of time may be exempt from this requirement.
Be absolutely sure to check with the admission’s center of the program you are interested in to see their specific requirements.
Q. How much does it cost to become a veterinary technician online?
This number varies widely depending on the school. You can enroll in a program with a great reputation like Purdue at spend in excess of $20,000, or you can choose smaller schools like San Juan College which only charge $30 – $70 per credit hour ($2250-5250).