Career Information for a Degree in Animal Health Sciences
Animal lovers may want to consider a career in the animal health science field. With a degree in animal health science, individuals may find work as a veterinary technician. Some positions may require individuals to obtain additional certification or training in the field.
Animal Health Science Degree Programs
Animal health science degree programs are available at the undergraduate level as both associate's and bachelor's degree options, though bachelor's degree options may be more common. Typically, these programs are designed to prepare students to become veterinary technicians or technologists. Coursework in these programs typically focuses on fundamental concepts of veterinary technology, including anatomy and physiology, pathology, disease study and microbiology. Students may also take courses in clerical duties in and office procedures for veterinary facilities.
At the bachelor's degree level, students may have the opportunity to select a track of specialization, which could include scientific subjects like organic chemistry and neuroscience, or business subjects like accounting, finance and management. Clinical laboratory experiences are typically extensive and can train aspiring professionals in multiple settings, including those that involve radiography or surgical procedures.
Career Information for Veterinary Technicians and Technologists
Veterinary technicians and technologists work closely with veterinarians and veterinary surgeons in clinical settings, and may perform organizational tasks in smaller practices. They may prepare and arrange surgical equipment. During procedures requiring general anesthesia, they may monitor an animal's vital signs. After surgical procedures, veterinary technicians may clean equipment, reorder supplies and advise owners on necessary precautions. Most positions require individuals to hold at least an associate's degree. They may also be required to pass a credentialing exam, such as the National Veterinary Technician (NVT) exam. Mandatory licensure, certification or registration of veterinary technicians and technologists varies by state.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for veterinary technicians and technologists was $30,290 as of 2012. The BLS expected employment for veterinary technicians and technologists to grow by 30% between 2012 and 2022, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.
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