What Degree Does a Vet Tech Need?

A vet tech is a professional who provides technical and nursing care to animals. They work in a variety of settings, including veterinary hospitals, zoos, and animal shelters. A vet tech typically needs an associate’s degree in veterinary technology.

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The education requirements for a vet tech depend on the state you wish to practice in. Most states require vet techs to have at least an Associate’s degree from an accredited school, although some states have Bachelor’s degree requirements.

Associate’s Degree

An Associate’s Degree in Veterinary Technology is the minimum educational requirement for someone looking to become a licensed Vet Tech. A two-year degree from an accredited institution will prepare you for the state board exams and enable you to work in a professional setting.
While an Associate’s Degree is the minimum requirement, many employers prefer applicants with a Bachelor’s Degree in Veterinary Technology. A four-year degree will give you a more well-rounded education and may make you more competitive when applying for jobs.
If you’re already working as a Vet Tech and decide that you want to further your education, many colleges and universities offer online or evening programs that allow you to earn your Bachelor’s Degree while continuing to work full-time.

Bachelor’s Degree

There are two main types of vet tech programs two-year associate’s degree programs and four-year bachelor’s degree programs. Many vet techs choose to pursue the two-year associate’s degree, as it can be completed in a shorter time frame and is typically less expensive. However, more and more employers are beginning to prefer or require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree in veterinary technology.

Bachelor’s degree programs in veterinary technology are typically four years in length and include both classroom and clinical instruction. These programs prepare students for a career in veterinary technology, teaching them how to perform medical procedures, dispense medication, maintain records, and provide customer service.


A Vet Tech is a accredited Veterinary Technician that has completed a two-year course at an accredited institute and has taken and passed a Veterinary Technician National Exam.


In order to work as a certified veterinary technician, one must complete an accredited program and pass a credentialing exam. There are many accredited programs across the country, each with different requirements. Typically, these programs take two to four years to complete and include coursework in anatomy, physiology, animal husbandry, laboratory procedures, pharmacology, and other medical topics. Some programs also include clinical rotations, where students gain hands-on experience working with animals.

Once they have completed an accredited program, veterinary technicians must pass a credentialing exam in order to be certified. The National Veterinary Technician Exam (NVTE) is administered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) and is used by most states to credential veterinary technicians. To be eligible to take the NVTE, candidates must first complete an accredited veterinary technology program. The NVTE is a multiple-choice exam that covers a range of topics related to veterinary medicine. Candidates have four hours to complete the exam, and the passing score is 300 out of 400 possible points.

After passing the NVTE, candidates are credentialed as Certified Veterinary Technicians (CVTs). In some states, CVTs may also be referred to as Registered Veterinary Technicians (RVTs). Each state has its own laws and regulations governing the practice of veterinary technology, so it’s important for CVTs to check with their state’s Board of Veterinary Medicine for specific requirements.


Most states require that veterinary technicians complete a two-year accredited veterinary technology program and pass a state exam in order to be licensed. A few states have reciprocity agreements that allow technicians who are already licensed in one state to become licensed in another state without completing another full accredited program or taking another state exam. Some states also require continuing education for licensed veterinary technicians.

Job Outlook

The median annual wage for vet techs was $33,400 in May 2019, and job prospects are expected to be good. The number of jobs for vet techs is projected to grow 19 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. An aging pet population and increasing demand for animal health services will lead to higher demand for veterinary technicians and technologists.

Vet Techs

Vet techs are in high demand and the job outlook is good. The median salary for vet techs is $32,000, and the top 10% earn more than $45,000. There are many opportunities for advancement, and vet techs can become certified in several specialty areas.

To become a vet tech, you will need to complete a two-year Associate’s degree program at a community college or technical school. Some states also require that you pass a state-administered exam.

Veterinary Assistants

Veterinary assistants work under the supervision of licensed veterinarians or veterinary technicians to provide basic animal care and perform routine laboratory and office procedures. Although most states do not regulate veterinary assistants, some have certification programs that may be helpful in obtaining a job or advancing in the profession.

Some community colleges offer 1-year certificate or 2-year associate’s degree programs in veterinary technology, which include courses in animal anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, nutrition, and medical office procedures. Successful completion of a State approved program is required to sit for the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). The VTNE is required for licensure in most States. Veterinary assistants typically have little formal education; however, many have on-the-job training from experienced workers. Employers generally prefer to hire veterinary assistants who have experience working with animals.

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