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Veterinary Management Programs: Degree Overviews

People working in veterinary medicine and animal science understand and practice fundamentals of managing business and human resources. Growth of veterinary practices depends on the talent and dedication of technicians and managers. Veterinary services management is an expanding field, presently without many clearly defined programs offering degrees, though an A.A.S. or a BTech in Veterinary Science Technology could be useful degree programs.

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Associate of Applied Science in Veterinary Science Technology

This 2-year Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) program focuses on basic skills needed to assist veterinarians in handling and restraining animals. Students apply anatomy, pharmacology, pathology and physiology to veterinary medicine. Clinical sites are used to practice procedures. Grads acquire working knowledge of instruments, skills to assist in surgery and the ability to work as a vet tech in a variety of settings.

Educational Prerequisites

High school students of chemistry, biology, mathematics, reading, writing, and oral communication are best prepared. Generally, they transfer with a minimum 2.5 GPA. Candidates pass a math exam (with one year of defined math under their belts), a biology exam with 75 or better, and a chemistry exam.

Program Coursework

Studies begin with basic nursing, biology and biochemistry, as well as oral and written communication courses. Freshmen delve into anatomy, physiology, microbiology and research as it relates to farm and companion animals, exotic species and laboratory animals. Courses also include:

  • Veterinary office procedures
  • Clinical pathologies
  • Principles of anesthesia
  • Animal therapies
  • Nutritional concerns
  • Database basics

Popular Career Options

Graduates gain entry-level technical positions in laboratories, animal rescues and shelters, clinical practices, animal pharmaceuticals and research, veterinary supply, equipment manufacturing and sales. They also work in farms and stables, state and federal agencies and zoo/wildlife medicine. Samples of jobs are assistant business office manager, assistant director of animal health, clinical coordinator or supervisor and emergency veterinary technician.

Continuing Education

The Veterinary Hospital Managers Association (VHMA) offers vet techs a Certified Veterinary Practice Manager (CVPM) designation (www.vhma.org).

After six months of laboratory employment, grads are eligible to take the veterinary technician licensing examination, and certification examinations of the American Association of Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS). One of these is the Certified Manager Animal Resources (CMAR) certification program, designed to improve competency and professionalism in the field of Animal Resources Management (www.aalas.org).

Bachelor of Technology in Veterinary Services Management

This BTech degree is available as an articulation program at some colleges, springing from and building upon completion of a 2-year degree program in veterinary technology. Programs provide knowledge and skill for managing a business or organization focusing on veterinary care.

Education Prerequisites

Prerequisites depend on the institution. Some require previous coursework in math, natural and social sciences, humanities, history, civilization, foreign language and/or communication. Depending on the student's state of residency, eligibility or actual licensure, registration or certification as a veterinary technician also may be required.

Program Coursework

Educators concentrate on a foundation in basic business and accounting principles; and apply them to management of specific types of veterinary businesses and institutions. Schools usually offer an internship within a veterinary setting. Today's program options may include a physical campus, online courses, or a combination of both; offering classes that include:

  • Financial and managerial accounting
  • Business law
  • Human resource management
  • Veterinary hospital management
  • Public health concerns and policies
  • Veterinary medicine: issues and views

Career Outlook

Managerial positions in animal-related industries are in high demand as administrative tasks expand. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, during the 2010-20 decade, employment for administrative services managers in general is expected to grow by 15% (www.bls.gov).

Continuing Education

Vet techs attend classes, seminars and lectures offered through membership in professional certification associations. Management institutes hold immersion programs that last a day, weeks or months. Consulting firms offer veterinary management training seminars. Veterinary technicians also stand at the gateway to ongoing academic careers that branch into agribusiness, veterinary medicine or marketing graduate degree programs.

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