Do you have to go to college before being in a 2 year vet tech program?

Jan 1, 2012
112
0
Status
Pre-Veterinary
i'm a sophomore and my major is biology (pre-vet). i want to be a veterinarian, but if my gpa isn't too competitive to be accepted, i thought about being a vet tech. do i have to have a degree before joining the 2 year vet tech program? since i will be getting my bachelors in biology, do you think i will have a better chance on getting in vet tech school?
 

CanHardlyWait

VMRCVM c/o 2016
Mar 8, 2012
586
102
from the sea to the mountains
Status
Veterinary Student
i'm a sophomore and my major is biology (pre-vet). i want to be a veterinarian, but if my gpa isn't too competitive to be accepted, i thought about being a vet tech. do i have to have a degree before joining the 2 year vet tech program? since i will be getting my bachelors in biology, do you think i will have a better chance on getting in vet tech school?
Where I live the tech program is at the local community college and all of their programs are first come, first serve. So everyone that finishes the pre req's gets in to the program. Surprisingly, having a bachelors degree does not allow you to waive certain pre req's, like computers 101 or interpersonal communication for example. The pre req's could be done in a semester. There aren't many and they are not very difficult if you have already been at a university.
Finishing the tech program earns you an Associate of Applied Science.
I would check with your local tech program for their specifics.
 

SocialStigma

OVC c/o 2015
7+ Year Member
Dec 24, 2009
600
147
Midwest, US
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Resident [Any Field], Veterinarian
All of the vet tech programs here are direct entry from high school, all the prereqs are grade 11/12 level.
 
Oct 10, 2010
883
11
Allentown, PA
Status
Pre-Veterinary
Around here, our tech programs are pretty competitive too. Not quite vet school competitive, but it's definitely not something you just decide to do and walk into.

I did the first year of a tech program before switching to pre-vet. I think you needed a chem survey, an A+P class and a microbiology class. The rest were all specific technical classes.

Having a biology degree would be helpful, definitely, but it might also be a bit of overkill if you're planning on doing tech work as a career.
 

Fly Racing

5+ Year Member
Jan 23, 2012
257
51
Oklahoma
Status
Veterinarian
i'm a sophomore and my major is biology (pre-vet). i want to be a veterinarian, but if my gpa isn't too competitive to be accepted, i thought about being a vet tech. do i have to have a degree before joining the 2 year vet tech program? since i will be getting my bachelors in biology, do you think i will have a better chance on getting in vet tech school?
Can I give you some advice? Feel free to stop reading if you said no :laugh:

I had a handful of friends were were very passionate about getting into a professional program (a couple vet, a med and a dental), but found they were on the wrong side of the bell curve, test after test. They were lucky to get C's in the sciences. By sophomore year they would be planning a new direction because they know pre-whatever was basically hopeless. But here's the deal, even though they wanted to be successful really badly, they didn't know how to study for the sciences. They weren't any less smart than I was! They all shared a common trait in that the classes would just become too overwhelming for them to know were to start.

For example on a botany exam, other pre-vet friend and I have NO botany background, so this is going to require a lot of studying. I start studying a week out, no less than 6-8 hours a day (while still working, caring for my horse's and going to class, doing homework, and i tried to sleep 4 hours a night). I studied each section in the book until I could write an essay about it without looking up details (a great study tip!) we take the test and scores come back. I barely squeezed out an A somehow while friend got a score under 50% :(

I ask her how long she studied and she said she spent 5 hours rewriting all her class notes. 5 hours of hard core studying should be enough to get a B- since she was an active listener in class, but she didn't study in way that allowed her to remember anything from those 5 hours. She just rewrote her notes word for word. Add some test anxiety and confusing herself in the test and a really poor grade resulted.

I felt most horrible for her in that she felt this test was just another example of her inability, but in reality it was just showing her she needs to do a 180 on her approach to test based science classes.

I truly believe ANYBODY can be a 3.5gpa student with the right support system and enough effort. A person can make all the excuses they want about not having time, not having the money for a tutor and that's fine if you don't want to go to vet school. But, if you set vet school as your life goal and strive to break through those barriers, there is no reason why you cant make it to and through vet school!

Have you seen the the movie The Blind Side (a true story)? That kid couldn't even read the test questions in his senior year classes because his reading level was so low. And yet he managed to graduate and then graduated with honors from college 4 years later while playing division 1 football (taking 4-8 hours out of his day). That's INSANE! but he had a tutor and I can only imagine the amount of will power he had!

So maybe you have to take out a loan because next year you'll need 5,000 bucks worth of tutoring to knock out a 3.8 year. You will make that back ten fold as a vet instead of a $10 an hour tech!! Not to mention the priceless value of career satisfaction.

But most importantly, I think you should consider spending significant time this summer learning about learning. Take tests to determine your learning type. Read books about study systems (they even have systems were you dont need to study before a test). Learn about how the brain learns and remembers. Practice memory tricks. Get your self ready for next semester with a plan in place from the start on how you will kick butt one week at a time for 16 weeks!!

Good luck! If it's not worth it to you then don't feel bad doing something else, but seeing that your back up is in the same field, that says more to giving up rather than having found a better direction for your life! I've seen enough people take the step down drom their real passion and none have been happy for the long term!
 

PppermintTwist

7+ Year Member
Aug 10, 2011
184
23
Status
Pre-Veterinary
You do not need to have a degree to go to tech school. (PS SUNY Delhi is awesome)

However, it is a different job. Lower pay, less professional appreciation. Lower debt to income ratio! If you like to nurse animals, do radiography, run the bloodwork, monitor anesthesia, then it may be the job for you. If you want to read the rads and bloodwork and do the surgery then you probably wont be happy as a tech...

One big thing that quite a few vet schools look at is your last 45 hour GPA. Read the above reply. If you spend the rest of your time in pre-vet improving it will look very good and a lower overall GPA may be forgiven (within reason) Other things they look at are your science GPA. If you have some lower but passing science classes dont retake them, instead take higher level science courses and do well.

You dont have to have a 4.0 or even a 3.5 overall GPA to get in to vet school. Dont give up if its really where your heart is!
 
Oct 10, 2010
883
11
Allentown, PA
Status
Pre-Veterinary
That was the decision I had to make, a few years ago.

I knew I could like tech work, for a while.

But after a lot of thought, I knew I wouldn't be happy doing just that for the rest of my career.

Here are the things I figured out:

  • The pay sucks, relative to other 2 year medical certifications.
  • Most of your clients will view you as a marginal employee with few real skills.
  • Turnover and drama are pervasive.
  • If you change jobs, you usually start with a blank slate in terms of pay and responsibility
  • Opportunities for real professional advancement are almost non-existent.
  • It takes a pretty substantial toll on your body
  • It's not generally a job you grow old doing. (Techs over 40 are pretty few and far between.)
  • The majority of your credits won't transfer if you decide to go back to school, or do something in another field.
.

That said, it does open doors to a lot of ancillary careers. Many of the drug reps, medical sales and customer service people I meet are former techs, and those are jobs that will get you to retirement.
 

Wubbles

7+ Year Member
Feb 17, 2010
133
7
Status
Pre-Medical
i'm a sophomore and my major is biology (pre-vet). i want to be a veterinarian, but if my gpa isn't too competitive to be accepted, i thought about being a vet tech. do i have to have a degree before joining the 2 year vet tech program? since i will be getting my bachelors in biology, do you think i will have a better chance on getting in vet tech school?
The tech program at my CC is relatively competitive to get into - you have to go through the whole shebang - pre-reqs, shadowing/work experience, application, interview, etc. Years back when I looked into it, I was told that those who apply with bachelors degrees have a higher rate of acceptance.
But YMMV depending on where you want to go to school, I suppose. This is the only LVT program in the state right now (not counting online crap) so it may be more competitive than similar programs in other states.
 

PppermintTwist

7+ Year Member
Aug 10, 2011
184
23
Status
Pre-Veterinary
That was the decision I had to make, a few years ago.

I knew I could like tech work, for a while.

But after a lot of thought, I knew I wouldn't be happy doing just that for the rest of my career.

Here are the things I figured out:

  • The pay sucks, relative to other 2 year medical certifications.
  • Most of your clients will view you as a marginal employee with few real skills.
  • Turnover and drama are pervasive.
  • If you change jobs, you usually start with a blank slate in terms of pay and responsibility
  • Opportunities for real professional advancement are almost non-existent.
  • It takes a pretty substantial toll on your body
  • It's not generally a job you grow old doing. (Techs over 40 are pretty few and far between.)
  • The majority of your credits won't transfer if you decide to go back to school, or do something in another field.
.

That said, it does open doors to a lot of ancillary careers. Many of the drug reps, medical sales and customer service people I meet are former techs, and those are jobs that will get you to retirement.
I've seen a few older technicians. All very awesome at their jobs and with a ton of knowledge.

As far as classes transferring it depends on what you take at tech school and what you plan on majoring in in college.

Vet School Pre-reqs
General chemistry transferred
( I could have taken Ochem or physics there as well)

Microbiology transferred

Animal Anatomy and Physiology/Clinical Physiology transferred as a Biology course and I was not required to take Human A and P

Public Speaking Transferred

English will transfer

Math will transfer

4 Year degree requirements: ( I did Animal Science...kinda a waste of time...)

All of my vet tech specific classes transferred to my 4 year school as animal science electives.

Veterinary Clinical Technology/and Lab transferred as a Biochem/Molecular Biology elective

Humanities transferred

So you get all of your gen eds out of the way, plus quite a few vet school pre-reqs. If you dont mind taking 16-18 credits a semester, and you should be able to handle that if you want to do vet school later, then you can do tech school first without adding too much extra time.

So if someone is not 100% sure they want to go to vet school. Its a two year program and allows you to get some very good knowledge and experience that can help solidify your decision.

Thats my two cents
 

CanHardlyWait

VMRCVM c/o 2016
Mar 8, 2012
586
102
from the sea to the mountains
Status
Veterinary Student
That was the decision I had to make, a few years ago.

I knew I could like tech work, for a while.

But after a lot of thought, I knew I wouldn't be happy doing just that for the rest of my career.

Here are the things I figured out:

  • The pay sucks, relative to other 2 year medical certifications.
  • Most of your clients will view you as a marginal employee with few real skills.
  • Turnover and drama are pervasive.
  • If you change jobs, you usually start with a blank slate in terms of pay and responsibility
  • Opportunities for real professional advancement are almost non-existent.
  • It takes a pretty substantial toll on your body
  • It's not generally a job you grow old doing. (Techs over 40 are pretty few and far between.)
  • The majority of your credits won't transfer if you decide to go back to school, or do something in another field.
.
I also started out in tech school and came to the same realization as you. I just knew I wouldn't be happy or satisfied long term.

Regarding what you said about tech programs where you live (presumably PA) vs here in SC: I have often thought that a competitive, merit based admission system would help both the public and employers see the true value of good tech work and a tech education. It's sad to hear that it is not necessarily so.