Veterinary technicians are highly skilled and knowledgeable paraprofessionals who perform many important duties in a veterinary hospital or clinic. Veterinary Technology is the study of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures used in the medical care of animals.
Students will apply to the Veterinary Technology program through Mat-Su College and will receive instruction in person. Classes will be held at the Mat-Su College campus and at affiliated locations such as Mat-Su Borough Animal Care and Control, UAF Experiment Farm, and local veterinary clinics. The vet tech program is a 2.5 year, 72 credit hour, full-time program of education leading to an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in Veterinary Technology.
Completing the program will prepare students to take the Veterinary Technology National Exam (VTNE). Once the student has passed the VTNE they are eligible to apply for licensure in the state of their choice.
- General Program Information
- Is the program accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association ( AVMA)?
We are applying for AVMA accreditation. However, until the first cohort of students are approximately 2/3 the way through the program, we will not know if we have met the rigorous standards set by the AVMA accreditors. We will be working hard to achieve this goal.
Assuming we achieve accreditation, our first cohort of students will be graduating from an accredited program.
- If I decide to go on to become a veterinarian, will any of my credits from this program
The coursework necessary to become a Veterinarian has substantial differences from those required of a Veterinary Technician student. Depending on the school, some of the General Education Requirements may apply as prerequisites to apply to veterinary school, but most of the coursework should not be expected to transfer.
- When does the program start?The first semester of the program will be Fall of 2024.
- How many credit hours is the program?The total number of credits in the AAS degree in Veterinary Technology is 72. Within these 72 credits are 54 credit hours that are unique to the Veterinary Technology AAS. The remaining credits are General Education Requirements for the AAS degree including writing, communication, and math, as well as coursework that will prepare the student with the knowledge of biology and chemistry necessary to help them succeed in the veterinary technology material that follows. A full program course guide will be available online soon.
- Will I be able to be a part-time student?The Veterinary Technology program is a full-time program with a set curriculum. Courses must be taken in sequence. Our program is designed with each semester’s courses serving as prerequisites for the next semester. Therefore, it is not feasible to attend the program on a part-time basis.
- Is this a 9 to 5 program?Not always. All efforts will be made to keep to a strict class schedule. The need for students to perform all of the Essential Skills required to graduate from an accredited program may need additional hours if a student needs more than an average number of attempts to attain success. Veterinary practice is not 9 to 5, and neither is technician school.
- What physical and personality traits are required?
Aside from the vaccination requirements, students must be able to perform the tasks required of a working Veterinary Technician, some of which are physically demanding. You should be able to stand for long periods of time, often on hard surfaces. You should have the physical ability to lift 50+ pounds along with the physical and mental endurance to complete long days. Veterinary Technicians spend little time sitting down except for writing charts. You must have the ability to read and understand patient care instructions and record observations and medical record notes. Veterinary Technicians must stoop over patients, or kneel to work with them on the floor, so flexibility is essential as well. Veterinary Technicians must not have unmanageable allergies that would prevent working with domestic animal species. Vision, hearing and manual dexterity must be sufficient to reliably observe changes in an animal’s condition, to restrain animals, and administer treatments safely, for both the human and the animal.
Since much of animal care involves a human owner during a potentially emotional and stressful situation, students in the program must have certain personality and emotional traits as well:
- The emotional maturity and stability to approach highly stressful situations in a calm and rational manner.
- They must be able to communicate with other team members effectively despite stress and anxiety.
- The ability to make clinical judgments using critical thinking.
- The ability to adhere to ethical standards of conduct as well as applicable state and federal laws.
- The ability to provide effective written, oral, and nonverbal communication with clients, their families, colleagues, health care providers, and the public.
- The ability to effectively track and retain information and multi-task in high-stress and emergency situations daily.
- Do you have an attendance policy?
Yes. Because we are required by the American Veterinary Medical Association Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (AVMA/CVTEA) to teach students specific essential skills, attendance is expected. We will sometimes teach specific tasks only once in the curriculum.
Currently, the program is not planning to house animals on campus, therefore, no animal care duties are expected of students beyond class periods. Should the program require animals to be housed beyond class period times on campus in the future, each student may be required to take an active role in animal care duties. If animal care duties are necessary, each student will receive a Veterinary Technician Program Animal Care Handbook and all students will attend a mandatory animal care orientation meeting before the start of their animal care duties.
In summary, students are expected to meet during the scheduled times for classes, exams, laboratories, and practicum learning activities. Students are expected to adjust personal schedules to meet course requirements. Students are expected to have reliable transportation for attendance in class, labs, and practicum assignments around the College area. Students should also be prepared to be scheduled for off-campus learning experiences and to be assigned to clinical practicum locations. Most, if not all, of the practicum sites are anticipated to be in Wasilla, Palmer, Eagle River, or Anchorage. More remote locations would be on mutual agreement of the program director(s) and the student.
- Where will my classes be?
Classes will be held on the MatSu College campus and at affiliated locations such as MatSu Borough Animal Care and Control, the UAF Experiment Farm, and some local veterinary clinics. You would be required to provide your own transportation to these locations.
- How many students will be in each class?
There will be sixteen students in the program at one time.
- What happens if life circumstances require me to drop out of the program? Can I come
You may reapply for the program and may return if accepted, although you may be required to repeat coursework previously taken.
- Is there a student club?
It is our intention to launch a Student Chapter of the North American Veterinary Technician Association (SCNAVTA) on campus. We hope all our students will participate and this club will bring together experienced technicians and our graduates for fun activities, networking, and some unique learning opportunities.
- Is the program accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association ( AVMA)?
- Program Requirements
- Will I have to have any vaccines to be in the program?Yes, you will be required to have received the rabies and tetanus vaccines. The AVMA has strict rules regarding rabies vaccination for the sake of student safety. These diseases are serious and transmissible from animals to humans, so preventing them in our students is a high priority. See the Veterinary Technician Student Handbook for details.
- Is there a GPA requirement to stay in the program?The Veterinary Technician curriculum builds on the previous material learned. There are GPA requirements to proceed to the next semester. It is our desire for every student to succeed and we will help as much as possible, but the student is ultimately responsible for learning the material.
- Will I have to have any vaccines to be in the program?
- Animal Handling and Externships/Practicums
- I’ve heard about externships/practicums. Will this program require training in veterinary
clinics?Yes! This can be the most exciting part of the program for students. They will get the opportunity to apply the knowledge they have acquired to real patients with supervision of clinic technicians and veterinarians. The hands-on skills that veterinary technicians do every day are further developed in the clinical practicums through repetition and the guidance of experienced technicians and doctors in these practices.
- What kind of animals will I be exposed to and how much hands-on experience will I
have?AVMA accreditation mandates that students perform a list of essential skills on multiple specific species. These may include, but are not limited to cats, dogs, horses, cattle, small ruminants, lab animal species, reptiles, birds, and some captive wildlife. The job of a Veterinary Technician has many associated motor skills to develop. To adequately prepare our students for this aspect of the job, we strive to incorporate as much hands-on experience in the curriculum as possible. The program requires students to have two clinical experiences; each will be 135 hours for a total of at least 270 hours of time in a veterinary clinic.
- I don’t like, or I have allergies to, horses/cattle/mice/dogs/cats/etc. Do I have
to work with them?The AVMA accrediting body requires all graduates to have performed skills found on the Essential Skills list. This will require the handling of all these species. They do not allow exceptions, and you should expect to work with all species.
- I’ve heard about externships/practicums. Will this program require training in veterinary clinics?
- Costs/Financial Aid
- What are the costs of the program?
For cost estimates, please refer to the tuition, costs and payment webpage.
Expenses will include tuition, books, and some personal equipment such as a stethoscope, lab coat, goggles, bandage scissors, and suture scissors. We are currently updating the course fees to provide the supplies necessary to adequately train the students in the essential skills required by the AVMA accreditors.
Although not officially a program cost, it is expected that graduates will desire to take the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) to be eligible for state licensure. Currently, the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) administers this exam. The currently listed application fee for the exam is $345.
- Is there financial aid available?There are several sources of financial aid including some scholarships. You may learn more about these by contacting our financial aid specialists by booking an appointment.
- What are the costs of the program?
- Application Information
- I am a high school student or under 18 years of age, am I eligible?No, the AVMA accrediting body mandates that students of accredited programs must have a high school diploma or equivalent. Further, State of Alaska law requires that people must be 18 years of age or older to perform radiographs. Since learning to take radiographs is part of the program, you must be 18 years of age or older to be considered for the program.
- Are there any prerequisites for the program?The University of Alaska is an open admissions university; however, acceptance into the program is by selection. There are some General Education Requirements for the Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree that will be completed within the program. If General Education Requirements have been fulfilled by the student prior to entering the program, and are transcribed as such to a UAA transcript, they will be accepted if they meet the requirements of the Veterinary Technician program AAS degree and the AVMA accrediting body.
- Will any credits I have taken for the Veterinary Assisting Occupational Endorsement
Certificate transfer to the Veterinary Technician program?At this time, no, but the Veterinary Assisting courses provide insight into the Veterinary profession and can help determine if going on to become a Veterinary Technician is right for you. Successful completion of the Veterinary Assisting OEC is taken into consideration by the admissions committee when considering your application to the Veterinary Technician program.
- What is the application process?
The University of Alaska is an open admissions university; however, acceptance into the program is by selection. To be eligible for the program, students must:
- Apply for admission to Mat-Su College/University of Alaska Anchorage
- Request your Official high school transcript or equivalent.
- Submit a resume of work and volunteer experience. Special consideration will be given to both customer service experience and animal-related experience. For further information about career development, you may contact the Career Development advisor.
- Complete an application essay (see the application form for the topic and general expectations).
- Submit three reference letters that support your selection for the program.
The Admissions Committee, for the program, reviews and evaluates each application on an impartial basis. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission into the program. If you wish to apply to the program, please complete the application online. The final part of the selection process will require students to interview with an admissions committee member/s. Please see the Veterinary Technician Student Handbook, which will be online soon, for further details on the application process.
If offered a position in the Veterinary Technician program, there are further requirements prior to beginning the program that are outlined in the Veterinary Technician Student Handbook. These include, but are not limited to, undergoing a criminal background check, supplying proof of being current or getting vaccinated for rabies and tetanus, and providing documentation via a statement by a physician, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner that the student has the physical ability required to complete the program. If rabies vaccination is not covered by your health insurance plan, please contact the Program Coordinator, Dr. Judy Montalbano, at email@example.com for possible financial assistance for these vaccinations.
- I am a high school student or under 18 years of age, am I eligible?
- What jobs are available after graduation? Do you have a job placement program?The job market demand for a Veterinary Technician is incredibly strong right now and for the foreseeable future. Not only are the number of jobs plentiful, but the salaries are also rising. While we do not have an official job placement program at this time, students often are offered employment after graduation by the clinics at which they did their practicum.