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What Are the Pros and Cons of Online Vet Tech School?

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

The rise of technology and digital learning has made it possible for prospective vet techs to complete their education online. There are AVMA accredited vet tech programs that are fully online. As with any educational choice, online vet tech programs come with both advantages and disadvantages.

Pros of Online Vet Tech Programs

  1. Flexibility: One of the most significant benefits of online learning is the convenience and flexibility it provides. You can complete coursework on your own schedule, making it an excellent option for those who work, have family commitments, or live in remote areas.

  2. Grow Your Own: Veterinary clinics are often under-staffed with credentialed vet techs. One option to fill these roles is for the practice to identify current employees with interest in the profession and “send” them to school online while allowing them to stay on as a full-time employee. A great way to encourage this is for the practice to help pay a portion of their schooling in exchange for a commitment of employment for a certain amount of time upon graduation.

  3. Accessibility: Online programs can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection, making them an excellent choice for students who live far from a college or university that offers a vet tech program.

  4. Cost Savings: While tuition for online programs is often comparable to traditional programs, online students can save on associated costs such as commuting, parking, and housing. Often, online students have more availability to work full or part time, which can help mitigate the cost of tuition.

  5. Self-Paced Learning: Online learning often allows students to work at their own pace. Some programs offer a more guided structure while others are determined by the student’s ability to progress through the content.

Cons of Online Vet Tech Programs

  1. Obtaining Hands-On Experience: In traditional on-campus programs, the hands-on skills are scheduled and set up in laboratory sessions that students attend. Whereas, students in an online program must identify veterinary practices and mentors that can facilitate learning the AVMA required hands-on skills

  2. Delayed Feedback: In a traditional classroom, students can ask questions and get immediate responses. While many online platforms offer chat or video conferencing, the feedback may not be as immediate.

  3. Self-Discipline Required: Online learning requires a high degree of responsibility and time management skills. Procrastination can be more prevalent due to the lack of set class times, which can cause some students to fall behind. In addition, if a student is struggling in a course, it is important that the student be proactive in communicating with their instructor.

  4. Limited Networking Opportunities: Traditional programs often offer more face to face opportunities for networking with classmates, instructors, and professionals in the field. It is important to understand that some online programs do help provide students with virtual networking opportunities.

When considering online vs. traditional vet tech programs, it's essential to evaluate your learning style, career goals, and personal circumstances. Be sure to choose an AVMA accredited program, whether online or in-person, to ensure that you are eligible to become credentialed when you graduate.

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