Veterinary Technician

In Demand

Online Vet Tech School

Pursue your passion for working with animals and prepare for an in-demand career in veterinary healthcare with Penn Foster's online Veterinary Technician Associate Degree. Our self-paced, online AVMA-accredited vet tech courses allow you to study on your own time, using visual learning aids and interactive assessments to help prepare you for a rewarding career as a veterinary technician.

  • Penn Foster's online Vet Tech Program is fully accredited through AVMA-CVTEA
  • Prepares you to sit for the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE).
  • Veterinary Technicians are in high demand. 
  • Penn Foster is a trusted partner of some of the largest veterinary hospitals in the country, including Banfield, VCA, and BluePearl.
  • Our online programs are flexible enough for you to finish them at a pace that works for you, based on how much time you can dedicate to your coursework each week.
Self Paced

Save up to $400 Ends 6/25/2024

First Semester


$1,999 Save $400


$69/month, Start for as low as $20

1-800-471-3232 (9AM - 9PM ET)

What You Will Learn

  1. How to prepare to sit for the VTNE exam by studying animal healthcare, animal anatomy and physiology, veterinary practice management, veterinary pharmacology, and more. View test scores for Penn Foster's Vet Tech students.
  2. How to recognize an animals’ integumentary, urinary, and endocrine systems using engaging visual learning aids and interactive assessments.
  3. How to care for large and small animals, small and large animal medicine, animal nutrition, laboratory animal medicine, and more.
  4. How to be a part of a working veterinary team and apply knowledge and skills in a mixed-animal practice.
Full Program Goal & Outcomes

Career Outcomes

Veterinary Technician







Our online Vet Tech Program is designed with job-readiness in mind. Our expert faculty, interactive curriculum, and required hands-on externship experience make for an engaging online learning experience that will help prepare you for an in-demand career. According to national averages from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for veterinary technicians is expected to grow 21% over the next decade.*

State Licensing Requirements

Licensing requirements for Registered Veterinary Technicians vary greatly from state to state throughout the United States and may contain specific educational course approvals. You should contact your state's appropriate licensing bureau for the current requirements, or your state legislature for pending legislation. See the State Licensing page for contact information for state licensing/regulatory boards and certain industry licensing information.

How to Become a Credentialed Veterinary Technician

If you want to become a certified, licensed, or registered veterinary technician in your state, you’ll need to follow a few steps!

  1. Earn your high school diploma or equivalent. In order to take the first steps toward becoming a credentialed vet tech, you’ll need to finish high school or earn your GED.
  2. Find out your state requirements. Different states have different requirements and regulations in place around who can call themselves a credentialed vet tech or veterinary technician. Some states do not require you to have credentials to work, while there are many that do. Before taking your next step, check with your state board of veterinary medicine to find out what you need to do to become a credentialed vet tech where you live.
  3. Graduate from an AVMA-accredited veterinary technician degree program. While it may not always be the case, for the most part, you’ll need to have earned a degree from an AVMA-accredited vet tech school to be eligible to sit for the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE), which is a requirement for credentialing in many states.
  4. Sit for and pass the VTNE. Once you’ve graduated from your vet tech program, you’ll register for the VTNE. The VTNE is administered during 3 exam windows throughout the year. Depending on when you graduate, you may have to wait a bit before sitting for the exam.
  5. Apply to become a CVT, LVT, or RVT. Each state has different regulations in place for becoming a veterinary technician. Some states certify vet techs (CVT), while others license (LVT), and some register (RVT). You’ll need to check with your state board of veterinary medicine to find out more about what you need to do to become credentialed. Usually, this will involve submitting your transcripts from your vet tech school, passing VTNE scores, and completing an application. Some states also have state-specific exams you’ll need to take and pass to become credentialed.

Online Vet Tech Program Curriculum

  • 4 semesters
  • 72 credits
  • 2 externships

Estimated completion time per semester:

  • Fast track = 9 months
  • Average time = 13 months

With Penn Foster, you can learn at whatever pace works best for you. Some learners will be more comfortable moving faster, and dedicating more time, and the fast track estimate will apply to them. The average track will apply to most learners who can dedicate a few hours per week to completing their coursework. The estimated completion times per semester are based on completion times for learners enrolled in this program from November 2020 - October 2021, excluding withdrawals.

In the online veterinary technician program, you'll get the skills and hands-on experience needed to work as a vet tech in small or large animal hospitals or clinics. Your courses include:

  • Animal Anatomy and Physiology
  • Pharmacology for Veterinary Technicians
  • Surgical Nursing for Veterinary Technicians
  • Small and Large Animal Medicine
  • Laboratory Animal Medicine and Nursing


Non-US residents: This is a United States-based institution with course materials that are geared toward US job and labor standards. Learners from outside of the US may find that some information and materials will differ from the current standards of their country. Please note, the materials for this program are in English and use the Imperial unit of measurement, not the metric system.


This program is available only to students within the United States and Canada. Due to externship requirements and other factors, international students are not able to enroll.

Show Full Curriculum
veterinary technician with a dog.

Veterinary Technician Externship Experience

Penn Foster’s accredited Vet Tech program includes two clinical externships where you’ll work alongside licensed veterinarians and veterinary technicians to practice the knowledge and skills covered across 4 semesters.

Students and prospective students are advised to review the program’s health and safety policies located in the student catalog to help inform them of occupational risks to zoonotic diseases and rabies prevalence in the region they will be performing clinical skills.

Vet Tech Student Success Stories

Penn Foster’s online Vet Tech Program has helped recent prepare for new careers in the veterinary field. Learn more about our vet tech students' experiences and how Penn Foster worked for them. 
View Student Success Stories
quote icon

Danielle H.

Penn Foster Graduate, 2023

“I like to be able to work at my own pace online. The externships were rigorous but prepared me well for the VTNE.”

Looking for veterinary technician training for your workers?

Penn Foster currently works with hundreds of leading employers to meet their unique organizational needs.
Learn More

Veterinary Technician Associate Degree Tuition

Take the first step toward your new veterinary technician career by enrolling in Penn Foster's online Vet Tech Program. Simply choose from one of our customized payment plans below and get started today!

Option 1: Pay semester in full

Save up to $400 Ends 6/25/2024

First Semester


$1,999 Save $400

  • Best price. Best value.
  • Pay the full cost today
  • No monthly payments
Enroll Now

Option 2: Monthly Auto Pay Plan

First Semester


  • Pay $69 per month
  • Start for $20 down
  • All major credit and debit cards accepted
Enroll Now

Option 3: Monthly Mail Pay Plan

First semester


  • Pay $69 per month
  • Start for $49 down
  • Mail your payments
Enroll Now

California residents please click here for Required California Disclosures.

Need more info or ready to enroll?

Looking for more information on transfer credits, military benefits, or our refund policy? Find this information and more about tuition and enrollment here.

Tuition & Payment Options

We're here to help. Call 1-800-471-3232 (9AM - 9PM ET)

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Our Proven Vet Tech Learning Model

Empowering Penn Foster students to reach their professional goals.


  • No set start date
  • No exam due dates
  • Payment Plans


  • Engaging digital study guides
  • Easy to use digital textbooks
  • Practical exercises


  • 24/7 access to online resources
  • Engaging online student community
  • Connect with peers in real-time through discussion boards


  • Unlimited access to expert instructors
  • Robust learning resources
  • Dedicated student services team

Related Programs

Online Vet Tech School FAQs

How much do veterinary technicians make?

The average vet tech salary is about $38,240 per year*, though that can vary based on your experience, credentials, where you work, and other factors.

What can I do with a Veterinary Technician Associate Degree?

Credentialed veterinary technicians can find positions in various environments such as small and large animal veterinary practices, zoos and wildlife facilities, humane societies or animal control centers, and even research facilities. Veterinary technicians may also be eligible for a pay raise after completing a program like a Veterinary Technician Associate Degree.

How much does a Veterinary Technician Associate Degree cost?

Tuition costs up to $85 per credit, with the semester fee adjusting slightly based on our current offer. Visit our tuition page for the most current tuition information.

Is the veterinary technician degree accredited?

Penn Foster's Vet Tech Associate Degree Program has full accreditation with the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) through their Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA). Additionally, Penn Foster College is nationally accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC).

What are the vet tech practicum requirements?

There are two mandatory externships or practicums for this course. The first practicum is completed at the end of semester two, after all academic work has been completed. Clinical Externship 1 is 200 hours over a 10 week period (though an extension can be applied on a case-by-case basis) and covers 29 skills. This first practicum focuses on cats and dogs.

Clinical Externship 2 takes place after your final semester’s academic work is complete. This externship is 250 hours long, over 18 weeks, and covers 51 skills. The last practicum covers small animals, large animals, and lab animals.

Before beginning your externship, you’ll be required to submit the site you’d like to use for approval. If a site you want to do an externship at doesn’t meet all of the skills requirements, you are able to do your skills at different approved clinics.

Does Penn Foster place students in an externship site?

Unfortunately, Penn Foster does not place or assist in setting up placements for students. Students should locate an appropriate site in their area for externship. If you’re already employed at a clinic or site that meets the requirements, you are able to complete your practicum there as long as your employer is willing to allow you to do so.

Penn Foster has partnerships with clinics like VCA, Banfield, Blue Pearl, and more, at which students may have success in finding a placement. However, these partnerships do not guarantee placement and it is up to the discretion of the clinic whether or not they take on students.

What degree is best for a vet tech?

Generally, the best degree for a vet tech to start out with is an associate degree. While there are veterinary technician bachelor’s degree programs, one prerequisite for these programs is that you’ve already completed your associate degree.

What is the pass rate for the VTNE?

The national pass rate for the VTNE is 70%. Penn Foster’s current pass rate is 78%.

How fast can you complete Penn Foster vet tech program?

Generally, the fastest you could potentially complete the Penn Foster Vet Tech Degree is 2 years.

What is the difference between vet tech and vet assistant?

The difference between a vet tech and a vet assistant often comes down to job duties and the level of education needed. Veterinary assistants aren’t required to go to school or to be certified; veterinary technicians often need to complete at least an associate degree and gain credentials. Additionally, vet assistants tend to focus more on the administrative aspects of the veterinary clinic, such as setting patient appointments, while vet techs are focused on the more clinical aspects, such as assisting the veterinarian with exams, surgeries, and lab work.

What's the difference between a vet technician and a technologist?

The difference between a veterinary technician and a veterinary technologist is the level of education they need to do the job. Vet technologists need to complete a bachelor’s degree and, once they’ve earned that, can often specialize in different aspects of veterinary medicine.