Veterinarian and Veterinarian Technician training both take a certain number of years of schooling to complete, but the time may just be worth the effort, as both fields are currently in demand. There are always questions in the back of a potential student’s mind as to how long does it take to become a vet and how long is vet school? Which brings to mind whether a lengthy school program will bring about a real job in the field? With the job possibilities being there, it is worth pursuing.

A 2013 report from The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that the job outlook for veterinarians, veterinarian technicians, and veterinary technologists has been forecast to grow an average of 19 percent each year until 2022. Careers based on caring for animals appear to be in a more positive and forward motion in comparison to the current and future job market.

Veterinarian Training

How long does it take to become a veterinarian? How many years of college to be a vet? Many seek answers to these questions before they decide to pursue a career as a veterinarian. Potential veterinary students know that the study time involved is a long-term commitment. Everyone interested in these programs wants to know how long is vet school and veterinary medicine-related programs.

A veterinary medical education in the United States is a (4) four year program beyond an undergraduate degree. Although at each university is different, there is a general guideline that most schools follow when it comes to the type of courses you will be taking. An undergraduate program through an accredited university typically involves coursework in the following areas to be eligible to enter a vet school:

  • General Chemistry (two semesters) with lab
  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology with lab – one to two semesters
  • Molecular and Cell Biology may also be required by some veterinary schools
  • General Biology – two semesters with labs
  • Physics – two semesters with lab
  • Mathematics – algebra and trigonometry are usually a minimum requirement- depending on the college or university, calculus is also a requirement as veterinary schools will usually not accept students without this course.

There are, of course, general education requirements that have to be met for graduation from a college or university. Those prerequisites factor in with the other essential classes that have to be met for eventual entrance into a veterinary program. Every veterinary school has varying credit requirements in the science and mathematics categories, so it is best to check the admissions stipulations when applying to veterinary schools. Also, before applying to any veterinary school, it is necessary to check as to whether the program is accredited by the (AVMA) American Veterinary Medical Association.

A potential high school senior may ask an admissions director or school counselor exactly how many years is veterinary school and they will probably get an answer of up to 8 years of study and perhaps more if a specialization is pursued.

Veterinarian Technician

When asking and comparing veterinarian courses of study and veterinarian tech programs, most of the same questions arise with those wanting to know how long is a vet school. Similar questions and qualifications hold true for a vet technician education. Just how long is vet tech school anyway?


In order to apply and enroll in a veterinary technician program, there are qualifications that need to be met. Program requirements for most vet tech schools include:

  • Some courses at the college level that may include classes in the humanities
  • Core classes – biology, chemistry, microbiology, math (before actual application)

If an applicant has not had these classes, he or she will most probably have to take them at a local college. If any additional science and math classes can be completed while still in high school, that coursework can usually be applied to a vet tech program.

All of these classes are crucial to a technician’s training as they involve determining the right amount of medications to animals with the possibilities of interactions or side effects with animals. Pet owners need to be informed by the technician as to what is happening with the medications administered to their animals.

As far as answering the question as to how long does it take to be a vet tech, education programs range from short certification programs, to an associate’s degree (two years), to a four year degree in veterinary technology. Anyone enrolling in technician programs should always check as to whether the programs are accredited by the (AVMA) American Veterinary Medical Association.

If more in depth education is required to become a veterinary technician, it might be to the advantage of anyone truly interested in caring for animals on a more technical level to apply and enroll in a university veterinary technology program that offers a bachelor’s degree (four years).

Thinking about any of these veterinarian related programs and the commitment required comes with a lot of questions. Questions relating to the amount of time involved can be challenging. However if a potential student really loves animals and wants to work with them, then maybe vet school or a vet technical program is the route to take.