Veterinarian and Vet Assistant Training

A veterinary nurse and a veterinary technician are two titles used to describe the same job. Veterinary nurse is a title used mainly in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and some other European countries, while veterinary technician or technologist is the title used in the United States. Basically a veterinary technician is to a veterinarian what a nurse is to a medical doctor in their practice. A veterinary technician in the U.S. will have completed a 2-year associate's degree and a technologist will have completed a 4-year bachelor's degree. Veterinary technician training should not be confused with a pre-veterinary program. There are 4-year bachelor programs in pre-veterinary for students wishing to pursue their Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree.


There are 170 two-year veterinary technician programs approved by the American Veterinary Medicine Association (AVMA) with 9 of those being distance learning programs. AVMA has accredited 21 four-year technologist programs in the United States. Students wishing to pursue a career as a veterinary technician should only consider accredited programs.

After graduating from a veterinary technician program you will need to pass an examination to become licensed or certified in all of the states. There are three designations for veterinary technicians: LVT (Licensed Veterinary Technician), RVT (Registered Veterinary Technician), and CVT (Certified Veterinary Technician).

Components of a Vet Technician Program

What can you expect from your veterinary technician training program? You will need to complete general education classes and core courses pertaining to veterinary science. General education classes you can expect to take include: biology, biology of the cell, literature, college algebra, statistics, psychology, chemistry, social science, and communication courses. Core classes will include courses like: animal anatomy, animal physiology, animal diseases, medical terminology, surgery, and radiology. You can find a curriculum on most school websites, so researching your school choices is fairly easy these days.