Apply Now

Does a Vet Tech Degree Help Me Become a Veterinarian?

by Kelsey Wirt, MS, LVT and Josh L. Clark, MS, RVT

Many individuals interested in veterinary medicine find themselves at a crossroads when deciding whether to become a veterinarian or a vet tech/nurse. A common question is can a vet tech degree serve as a stepping stone toward becoming a veterinarian? While both fields share a common love for animals and involvement in their care, the paths to becoming a vet tech/nurse versus a veterinarian differ significantly.

A vet tech degree, typically obtained through an AVMA accredited two to four-year associate or bachelor's program, focuses on providing students with the practical skills and knowledge needed to support veterinarians in clinical settings. Vet techs play a vital role in animal healthcare, performing nursing tasks such as administering medications, conducting laboratory tests, assisting during surgeries, and more.

Compare and contrast becoming a vet tech instead of a veterinarian.

However, it's important to recognize that a vet tech degree alone does not qualify individuals to practice as veterinarians. Veterinarians undergo more extensive and intensive training, completing a Pre-Vet undergraduate degree then apply and get accepted in a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM). DVM programs span over four years of rigorous academic study and clinical rotations. The DVM curriculum covers a broad spectrum of veterinary medicine that prepares graduates to diagnose, prescribe medications, and perform surgery in various animal species.

Despite the differences in educational requirements and scope of practice, a vet tech degree can still provide valuable experience and knowledge beneficial to aspiring veterinarians. Working as a vet tech allows individuals to gain firsthand experience familiarizing themselves with clinic operations which can offer insights into the realities of veterinary practice, strengthen communication and teamwork skills, and provide exposure to different animal species and medical conditions.

While it is possible for vet techs to transition to becoming veterinarians, it is not the most efficient route and is not very common. Even if you have a degree in veterinary technology, most DVM programs require more standards and different coursework than what you learn in a vet tech program. This will require longer schooling and time commitment to complete all the requirements to apply, let alone get accepted into a DVM program.

Learn more about the educational path to becoming a veterinarian.

After working in practice, some vet techs might find that they are more drawn to the role of the veterinarian. While a vet tech degree does not qualify individuals to become veterinarians, vet techs can switch career paths if they choose. In conclusion, the best choice of becoming a veterinarian or a vet tech depends on the individual’s goals and career aspirations.

Start Your Nursing Journey

Applications will be open in August. In the meantime, connect with us to learn more.

Connect With Us

Suggested Articles

Why Be a Vet Tech Instead of a Vet?

Explore the contrasting paths of becoming a veterinarian versus a veterinary technician, weighing factors like education, financial implications, and hands-on animal care. This comprehensive guide aids in discerning the best-fit veterinary career, backed by insights from Purdue's esteemed programs.

Read more

Why Should I Get a Bachelor's in Veterinary Technology?

An overview of the key benefits, including enhanced knowledge, career opportunities, leadership training, and research prospects, compared to an associate's degree.

Read more

How Do I Get a Raise as a Vet Tech?

Discover actionable steps for veterinary technicians to boost their earning potential. From pursuing specialization to effective negotiation, learn how to highlight your value in the veterinary field and advocate for a salary that matches your skills and contributions.

Read more