Choosing an Online Veterinary Technician Program: A Guide

July 17, 2021

For Veterinarians

July 17, 2021

You’ve always dreamed of working with animals, but you’re unsure about the education required to be a veterinarian. In your search for animal-related careers, you discovered one that seems perfect: a veterinary technician.

As a veterinary technician, you would be your veterinarian’s right-hand man or woman, assisting them with a variety of tasks focused heavily on patient care. However, most veterinary practices seem to prefer a graduate from an accredited program. Since you are an untrained, although passionate, animal lover, you set out to find the program best for you.

While searching, you run across numerous online veterinary technician programs that you think could be a great fit for your hectic schedule and family life. But, is an online program the best choice for your future career? Learn the pros and cons of an online vet tech program, and what to look for, to ensure you choose a program that will help you reach your goals.

What are the benefits of an online veterinary technician program?

Attending an online veterinary technician program provides multiple benefits over an on-campus program, including:

  • Flexible scheduling — The ease of attending class on your own time is a huge draw for online students. Provided you complete your work in the allotted time, you can study early in the morning or late at night. You can maneuver around work schedules and other activities. Additionally, online course schedules may be more lenient. You can take as many or as few classes per semester as you want to obtain your degree.
  • Ability to work around family obligations — Many people with families, particularly young children, have difficulty attending in-person classes. Online programs are a godsend if you have family obligations. Rather than paying for childcare and tuition, you can step away from your laptop to care for your family as needed.
  • Less reliance on transportation — Not many veterinary technician programs exist, which can make driving to nearby on-campus classes difficult. If your transportation options are limited or less than reliable, or if the nearest vet tech program is half a state away, an online program may suit your needs.

An online veterinary technician program can be an excellent choice, depending on your current situation and schedule.

What are the challenges associated with an online veterinary technician program?

Attending an online veterinary technician program offers many benefits, and also some drawbacks. When deciding if an online program is right for you, consider the following factors:

  • All hands-on training is performed on campus — Traditional AVMA-accredited programs have incorporated all the AVMA-required hands-on training into its on-campus program. For example, students do not have to seek out large-animal practitioners themselves to complete all the AVMA-required skills.
  • Fewer networking opportunities are available for online programs — If you’re attending a local university, job fairs can easily set you up with a job after graduation. You can also get your foot in the door by working as an intern at a nearby veterinary practice. While online programs have some job placement features, veterinary practices actively pursue college students who will soon graduate.
  • Online programs do not offer as much hands-on experience — By attending online classes, rather than living and breathing veterinary medicine in a university hospital, you will receive less hands-on experience. That can hurt future job placement.
  • Innovative tools and equipment may be lacking compared with universities — Major universities usually have cutting-edge diagnostic and treatment equipment. Smaller veterinary practices used to complete the hands-on portion of online programs may not have many innovative tools. Unfortunately, your education and experience may suffer.

Depending on the veterinary practices in your area, you may be able to complete the hands-on portion of your curriculum without trouble. However, many online students struggle to find large-animal practitioners to complete skill assessments, and have difficulties finding an internship with a suitable mentor.

What should I look for in an online veterinary technician program?

When searching for the ideal online veterinary technician program, depending on your needs and career goals, you should explore the following criteria.

Accreditation status

Not all veterinary technician programs are accredited by the AVMA. That means you would not be a credentialed vet tech on graduation. If you live in a state that does not require that you obtain your license to become a vet tech, this may not be a big concern. Attending an accredited program and gaining your credentials will open many more doors in the future, especially as the industry shifts to ensuring all veterinary technicians are credentialed.

VTNE pass rate

The Veterinary Technician Licensing Exam (VTNE) evaluates whether veterinary technology program graduates have the entry-level skills needed to practice and be credentialed. If a graduate cannot pass the VTNE, they cannot become credentialed. Ideally, the program you choose should have a high VTNE pass rate. This ensures they teach the curriculum well and prepare you for the exam. Schools with a low pass rate may lose their accreditation status, so do your research carefully before committing to a program.


A well-rounded curriculum will help prepare you for the real world, and make you an attractive job candidate for possible employers. Look closely at the curriculum your favorite online vet tech program offers. Ensure a multitude of academic courses, hands-on learning opportunities, and internships are included, to provide you with a solid educational background.

Degree options

While you need only an associate’s degree from an accredited program to become a credentialed vet tech, a bachelor’s degree can help you further along your career path. If you’re interested in practice management, laboratory research, or government work, a bachelor’s degree may be the best route.

Is an online veterinary technician program right for you?

When determining if an online veterinary technician program is right for you, weigh your options and your lifestyle. An online program’s flexibility may be the perfect fit for your busy schedule, or the hands-on experience you gain from taking classes on campus may be preferable. Check out a wide range of options to see which program best fits your needs, and then set out on your veterinary technician career.

Sources: I Love Veterinary. 2021. EduMed. 2021. Vet Tech Colleges. 2021.

Stay In Touch

Have a question?

Feel free to get in touch with us anytime.

Disclaimer: Our content is for informational purposes only — it’s not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.