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What do you think of online veterinary technician schools?

By: Dr. Jon Rappaport

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Our question this week was:

This is not really a pet question, but a career question. I am turning 50 in a couple of months, and considering early retirement. Over the past few years, I have grown to be quite the animal lover, especially dogs (I have 3 of my own, and 3 granddogs, and various grandreptiles). I have been considering veterinary technician as a possible career for another 10 years or so. Here's my question. How seriously do Veterinarians look at someone who obtains a strictly online degree? I have been researching a couple of online colleges who are accredited by AVMA and various other organizations. Only 2 colleges here in GA offer Vet Tech training, and neither are feasible for me because of distance. Any advice?

Gayle Keller


Answer

Hi Gayle – thanks for your email and question. You asked how veterinarians regard veterinary technicians with online degrees. This is an interesting conversation. I recently had a young woman ask me the same question. She has a degree in animal science and is working full-time in a research lab. She is going to night school in a technician program at a local technical school but has had problems with scheduling around her full-time job and having a life. She came to me to ask about my opinion on online school.

She asked me about a specific school (which I had not heard of). I asked 5 other vets (from 3 different states) and none had head of it. Additionally, I asked what they thought about online training.

This does not speak for all veterinarians but everyone had concern about quality of training and the importance of "hand-on" training.

It is good if a program is accredited by the AVMA. I would ask for a reference from someone that graduated and practices in your state. Find out how much hands-on they got, if their employers were happy with them and...any licensing issues they might have gone through.

I did have experience with one young woman that graduated from an online school and her online degree did not allow her to qualify to take the state board examination. Therefore she could not get licensed (or get paid as a licensed technician).

If a school is reputable, you find out licensing is achievable– then I'd maybe try to combine your education while working in a veterinary hospital where you can actively apply what you are learning. Also, this experience on top of your education should help you obtain a job as a technician when you are finished. I think experience will be important to employers as you look for a job with an "online" degree.

Best of luck!


Dr. Jon




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