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Degree Overview: Associate of Arts (A.A.) Degree in Veterinary Technology

Majors Overview March 5, 2014

In order to obtain employment at research or animal facilities, one must earn an Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree in veterinary technology. Veterinary technicians will assist licensed veterinarians.

A.A. Programs in Veterinary Technology

Students enrolled in an associate’s degree program in veterinary technology are trained to seek entry-level careers working under the supervision of licensed veterinarians in hospitals and animal clinics or research institutions. Students can expect to become adept at providing pre- and post-operative care, using diagnostic equipment, anesthetizing animals and interacting with animal owners. Technical schools and colleges offer these two-year degree programs.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria related to veterinary technology associate’s degree programs typically require applicants to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma. Some schools may also require students to spend a specific number of hours observing at a veterinary facility; alternatively the incoming students should have prior experience in animal care.

Coursework

Coursework in the veterinary technology associate’s degree covers classroom lectures and laboratory studies. Students are also expected to participate in clinical studies whereby students are provided the opportunity to gain practical training at animal care facilities. Coursework may typically include topic areas such as:

•Animal nutrition
•Veterinary medical terminology
•Parasitology
•Veterinary surgical care
•Chemistry
•Animal anatomy and physiology
•Microbiology
•Animal radiology
•Laboratory procedures

Job and Wage Outlook

Students enrolled in an associate’s degree program in veterinary technology are prepared to seek entry-level jobs as veterinary technicians in veterinary hospitals, humane societies, research labs, zoos and animal clinics. A faster-than-average job growth rate of 30% has been projected for veterinarian technicians during the decade from 2012 to 2022 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)). In May 2010, veterinarian technicians took home an average annual wage of $30,290.

Certification Information and Continuing Education

Licensure, certification or registration is mandatory for veterinary technicians in many states (BLS). Passage of the National Veterinary Technician exam will help them accomplish this objective. Those employed in research settings can seek certification offered by the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science. To become eligible for certification, these professionals need a combination of professional experience and education.

Students who earn a bachelor’s degree in veterinary technology can seek veterinary technologist positions. An associate’s degree graduate can earn a bachelor’s degree in veterinary technology with two additional years of study. Coursework in a bachelor’s degree program involves continuation of veterinary technology courses; students would be allowed to opt for a concentration in a specific area. More hands-on education is imparted, and students in some schools are allowed to choose research or clinical learning, in keeping with career objectives.

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