You need at least an associate degree to work as a veterinary technician in a clinic, animal hospital, shelter or zoo. However, some colleges offer a bachelor's degree in veterinary technology, qualifying graduates as technologists. In most states, graduates of either program must also pass state exams for licensing or registration. High school classes in science, math and communications will prepare you for college and a career as a vet tech.
Math and Science
Prospective vet techs need an aptitude for math and science, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. Although calculus is not normally required, the "Science Buddies" website recommends taking classes in first-year algebra, geometry and second-year algebra. As for science, the website recommends biology and chemistry classes at a minimum. If available at your high school, classes in biomedical science and physiology are also recommended.
English and Foreign Language
A future vet tech needs good language skills to do well in college classes and have a successful career. Once working, a vet tech must be able to instruct animal owners on home care and procedures and communicate effectively with veterinarians and office staff. "Science Buddies" recommends taking high school English classes. Foreign language classes can prepare you to communicate in languages common to areas where you will be employed.
Good grades are important for gaining admission to college programs in veterinary technology, according to the online "Vet Tech Career Guide." Admissions officers look for well-rounded applicants with a good overall grade point average, but A's are especially important in your science and math classes, reports the guide. These classes provide a foundation for professional training in vet tech school, when you'll study subjects such as animal physiology, clinical pathology and veterinary pharmacology.
Extracurricular Experience and Volunteer Work
An important part of a vet tech applicant's high school work takes place outside the classroom. The "Vet Tech Career Guide" recommends getting hands-on experience volunteering with an animal shelter, veterinary office, humane society or animal rescue organization. Document your hours and responsibilities and put forth extra effort in your work. If you make a favorable impression, your volunteer experience will provide a ready source for the recommendation letters required for admission to many vet tech programs.
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- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook: Veterinary Technologists and Technicians
- Science Buddies: Veterinary Technologist & Technician: Key Facts & Information
- Mt. San Antonio College: Registered Veterinary Technology, A.S.
- American Veterinary Medical Association: Veterinary Technicians
- Vet Tech Career Guide: Vet Tech Advice for High School Students -- Part 2
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics May 2012 Wages: Veterinary Technologists and Technicians
- Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images