What Are the Education Requirements for Becoming a Vet Tech?

Published on Aug 9, 2023 12:00 AM
What Are the Education Requirements for Becoming a Vet Tech?

Veterinary technicians play a significant role in animal care, working alongside veterinarians to provide diagnostic, treatment, and preventive care. 

In most states, to become a vet tech, you have to earn an associate's degree in veterinary technology from an accredited program. 

After you graduate, you'll need to pass the National Board of Veterinary Technician Examination (NBVE) to become licensed. 

You'll also need to complete continuing education (CE) credits every few years to maintain your license.

If you're interested in a career as a veterinary technician, there are a few things you need to know about the education for vet tech. 

Plus, you should be aware of the vet tech cost of education and how to get financial aid for your studies. 

Let’s learn everything in detail.

Education Requirements for Vet Tech

The path to becoming a veterinary technician involves fulfilling specific educational prerequisites. 

These vet tech education and training requirements are integral in ensuring that individuals entering this profession possess the necessary knowledge and skills to provide effective support to veterinarians.

High School Diploma or Equivalent

At a minimum, candidates interested in pursuing a career as a vet tech must possess a high school diploma or its equivalent. 

This essential education for vet tech serves as a starting point for further academic pursuits in veterinary technology. 

Basically, it’s a subsequent specialized training that equips aspiring vet techs with the expertise required to excel in their role.

2-Year Associate Degree Program

Most commonly, vet techs complete a 2-year associate degree program in veterinary technology. 

These comprehensive programs cover various aspects of 

  • Animal care 
  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Radiology
  • Laboratory techniques

Through a combination of classroom instruction and hands-on practical experience, students acquire a solid foundation in animal health and medical procedures. 

Primarily, this 2-year associate degree program hones vet tech’s ability to

  • Assist in surgical procedures
  • Administer medications
  • Perform laboratory tests
  • Provide critical care

Licensure or Certification

Upon completing the associate degree, aspiring veterinary technicians may need to obtain licensure or certification. 

It depends on the regulations of the state or country they wish to practice in. 

Licensure typically involves passing a standardized exam. 

Primarily, it evaluates the vet tech’s knowledge and competency in veterinary technology. 

Certification, on the other hand, may be obtained through organizations like

  • The American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) or
  • The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA).

Online Continuing Education for Vet Tech

Like veterinarians, vet techs also need continuing education to stay current with their field and practice.

Importance of Continuing Education

Continuing education for vet techs is crucial.

As the field of veterinary medicine continually evolves, staying updated with the latest advancements, techniques, and protocols is essential for providing high-quality animal care. 

Engaging in CE ensures vet techs remain proficient in their roles, incorporating new knowledge and skills into their practices.

How to Choose Continuing Education Courses

Selecting the right continuing education courses is paramount to maximizing the benefits of ongoing learning. 

Vet techs should align their choices with their career goals and areas where they seek improvement. 

Considering the provider's credibility, the content's relevance, and the opportunity for hands-on practice can help make informed decisions. 

In addition, it’s advisable to seek courses approved by relevant professional organizations.

How to Specialize as a Vet Tech

If you are a veterinary technician looking to specialize in a particular area, there are a few things you should do.

Choose a Specialty of Your Interest 

There are many different areas of veterinary medicine that you can specialize in. 

Some popular options include:

  • Anesthesia and analgesia
  • Dentistry
  • Emergency and critical care
  • Internal medicine
  • Nutrition
  • Oncology
  • Ophthalmology
  • Pathology
  • Surgery

Do Your Research

Once you have chosen a specialty, it is important to do your research. 

This includes learning about the different requirements for certification or registration in that specialty. 

You should also talk to other veterinary technicians already working in that area to get their insights.

Get the Necessary Education and Training

Most specialties require veterinary technicians to have a certain level of education and training. 

This may include taking 

  • Additional courses
  • Completing an internship or residency
  • Passing a certification exam

Gain Experience

The best way to learn about a specialty is to gain experience working in that area. 

This can be done by volunteering or working part-time in a veterinary clinic or hospital that specializes in that area.

Stay Up-to-date on the Latest Advances

The field of veterinary medicine is constantly evolving, so it is essential to stay up-to-date on the latest advances in your specialty. 

For that, you should

  • Take continuing education courses
  • Read journals and articles
  • Network with other veterinary technicians

Specializing as a veterinary technician can be a great way to advance your career and make a difference in animal care. 

By following the above tips, you can increase your chances of success.

Vet Tech Cost of Education

The cost of veterinary technician education varies depending on the type of program and the school you attend.

Associate's Degree

The cost of an associate's degree in veterinary technology typically ranges from $1,300 to $12,000 per year for in-state tuition and fees. 

However, out-of-state tuition can be much higher, up to $30,000 annually.

Bachelor's Degree

The cost of a bachelor's degree in veterinary technology typically ranges from $67,000 to $86,000.

In addition to tuition, other costs are associated with vet tech education, such as books, related supplies, and living expenses.

Financial Aid for Vet Tech Education

The cost of veterinary technician education can be a barrier for many individuals aspiring to enter the profession. 

However, financial aid options help alleviate this burden and make education more accessible. 

Scholarships, grants, and loans are common financial assistance available to prospective vet tech students.

How to Apply for Financial Aid

To apply for financial aid, vet tech students need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). 

This application assesses the student's financial need and determines eligibility for various aid forms, including federal grants and loans. 

In a Nutshell

Becoming a veterinary technician is a rewarding career that allows you to work in animal healthcare. The required education for vet tech is rigorous, but the rewards are worth it. 

If you're interested in becoming a veterinary technician, conduct good research and find a program that's right for you. 

We, at Vet and Tech, the online veterinary education platform, offer free interactive webinars, which are instructed by the industry’s top professionals. 

Register for our upcoming webinars to meet your vet tech continuing education requirements. 


What are the different state vet tech licensure and certification requirements?

The requirements for licensure and certification for vet tech vary from state to state. However, most states require passing the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) to be licensed or certified.

What are the different types of vet tech continuing education opportunities?

There are various types of continuing education opportunities available for veterinary technicians. These include online courses, webinars, and conferences.