*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Veterinary Technologists and Technicians, on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/veterinary-technologists-and-technicians.htm (visited March 24, 2022).
While this answer used to be four years to earn a B.S. Degree in Veterinary Technology, this was when most students attended their classes on-campus full time. Now, students have some additional choices, including the online option. Depending on how an individual university has this structured, an undergraduate student who takes at least 15 credit hours each semester can earn their degree in close to four years. However, most students decide to take only the minimum 12 credit hours per semester. This makes their program run close to five or even six years. Depending upon how flexible the university is with courses being offered (and how long a term or semester runs), students can anticipate graduating in five years, on average.
Before choosing a major there are some important facts you should know about.
In general, you can begin your career as a Veterinary Technology by earning a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) or a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in Veterinary Technology, but in many cases for the position you are seeking you may need to obtain a master's degree in Veterinary Technology. Furthermore, there are numerous specializations and subfields associated with a major in Veterinary Technology. You will want to research the college or university to determine if they have the major you are considering.
This is a very important question to ask yourself. Your major should play a big part in the schools you are considering. Not every college may offer the major of your choice, so doing your homework is the first step of the selection process.
Before you declare a major in Veterinary Technology, you should have an idea of what kind of timeframe you're looking at. If you are trying to achieve an associate degree, you will only need to finish about 60 credit hours over 2 years. However, if you are going for you bachelor's (B.S. or B.A.) degree in Veterinary Technology, you will need to complete 120 credit hours over four years. And, if you want to attain a master's degree as well, you will have to finish your bachelors first and then spend around 2 years completing 60 more credit hours. Some of the coursework you will find in typical Veterinary Technology degrees are:
Currently, students enrolled in four-year universities have less than a 50% chance of graduating within four years. Statistics vary from university to university, but many students are graduating closer to the 6-year range.
If you want to be one of the lucky 40% who do graduate in your fourth year, you'll need to make a few sacrifices. First, you'll have to take more than the minimum 12 credit hours per semester. Take 15 credits per semester, because you'll finish earning the required credits in around four years.
Go to school each summer session. Take at least one class per summer semester. Not only will you be sure to graduate on time, but you may also benefit with lower per-credit tuition charges, as well.
Declare a major as soon as you can. You won't be moving from major to major this way. If you have to work for gas or rent, work for the fewest number of hours per week that you can. Your studies are vital.
The college or university itself should be accredited. Look for a regionally accredited school based on that school's location. The six regional accreditation agencies are The Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, The New England Association of Schools and Colleges, The North Central Association of Schools and Colleges, The Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges, The Southern Association of Schools and Colleges, and The Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
Online-only schools should have accreditation from the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, the Distance Education and Training Council, or the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges but they should also hold regional accreditation.
Accreditation is an important part of the selection process. It adds value to a Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Technology degree by offering wider acceptance than degrees from non-accredited schools receive. Accreditation ensures employers and other reviewers of your educational background that you have a quality education in Veterinary Technology. It informs potential employers that the graduate has the expected level of education and knowledge to perform work in today's high-paced, technology-driven environments.
The Department of Education designates regional and national accreditation agencies. It is also through this department that educational loans and grants are provided to college students. The federal policy is to limit student loans to schools and colleges with acceptable accreditation. Which means that, if your school isn't accredited, you will likely not be eligible to receive any financial aid. For many students, accreditation is key to getting funds to pay for the substantial costs of a degree in Veterinary Technology.
The cost will depend on several factors. Are you pursuing your Veterinary Technology degree online or in a traditional setting? If you attend your courses on campus, you will also need to pay for food, room and board, and other fees. This can increase the cost of your Veterinary Technology education significantly unless you have a plan in place to keep these costs low. If you attend a public, state school, it will depend on whether or not you are a resident. In-state students usually pay much lower rates than out-of-state students. However, this can be overcome by attending classes online, as most institutions charge in-state rates for all online courses. Either way, you need to research the costs for each Bachelor’s Degree in Veterinary Technology program you are considering applying to, as each institution will have their own rates.
If you are going to spend a lot of time and energy to attain a Veterinary Technology degree, you will certainly want some job placement assistance as you near graduation. Discuss this with your admissions counselor when you are considering the right program. In fact, you might want to broaden that discussion by asking about how your school handles internships and if co-op programs are available. Experiential learning can help you not only gain the skills needed to land a job, but you can also cultivate a professional network that will help you build the career you deserve.