If you’re someone who loves animals and wants to make a difference in their lives, then you might want to consider a career as a veterinarian.
But what does it take to become a veterinarian?
To become a veterinarian, you must first get a college degree. But not just any college degree. In fact, most veterinarians got their start studying biology in college.
And while you might assume that you need to attend an exclusive, private college to get a degree in biology, you’ll find that there are excellent colleges where you can study biology in all 50 states.
In fact, there are so many excellent colleges where you can study biology that it can be difficult to choose just one.
Today, we’ll discuss the best colleges in Pennsylvania for those who want to study veterinary medicine. We’ll also give you some tips on how to apply to veterinary school.
Penn State is a world-class research university, with a distinctive mix of advanced science and professional practice. It's no surprise, then, that it's an excellent choice for those who want to study veterinary medicine.
The main hub of the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, the University has consistently been ranked among the top ten research institutions in the United States.
The College is home to more than 1,300 faculty members, who are engaged in groundbreaking research across all areas of agriculture.
This research has an immediate impact on the world, as evidenced by the $65 million in annual economic impact that the College generates for the state.
Students at Penn State have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in a veterinary medicine program that is second to none.
The College is home to the nation's first veterinary medicine teaching hospital, which was constructed in 1993. Since that time, the university has expanded the hospital's capacity to 35,000 visits a year.
The University is also the home to the first veterinary college incubator, launched in 2020. The incubator provides student entrepreneurs with the resources they need to launch their own businesses, leveraging the University's research and clinical resources.
Prospective students should keep in mind that Penn State is home to one of the most competitive admissions processes in the country.
For the Fall 2020 semester, the University received more than 7,000 applications for just over 100 spots in its veterinary medicine program.
Vet Tech Institute
When you think of veterinary schools, you might assume that only those who plan to become veterinarians should attend. But, in fact, there are veterinarian technician programs that can help those who care for animals to gain the experience they need to excel in their careers. One such program is the Vet Tech Institute, which has its main campus in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as well as campuses in Pittsburgh and Phoenix.
The Vet Tech Institute offers two associate's degree programs, one in veterinary technology and one in veterinary technology - equine studies. Those who complete these programs receive a credential that is recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association. Additionally, these programs are approved by the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs of the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
These associate's degree programs both require a total of 64 credits. However, the equine studies program also requires students to complete a minimum of 20 hours of on-farm observation. In addition, both programs require students to complete a minimum of 110 hours of clinical rotations, which take place at various veterinary clinics and hospitals. Students gain valuable experience working with a variety of animals and working alongside experienced veterinarians.
Thanks to the clinical experience provided by the Vet Tech Institute, students are well-prepared for the Veterinary Technician National Exam, which they must take after two years of experience. If they pass this exam, they will be recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association as certified veterinary technicians.
YTI Career Institute - York
The YTI Career Institute in York is a for-profit school with some impressive statistics - 95% of graduates find employment within 6 months of graduation, and the average salary for graduates is $30,000.
The YTI Career Institute offers a two-year associate's degree in veterinary technology. Students gain hands-on experience and training in the profession under the guidance of experienced instructors.
The school also offers a veterinary technician certification program, which takes about one year to complete. Students who already have an associate's degree in another field can also earn the veterinary technician certificate in about a year.
Prospective students should have a passion for animals and be willing to put in the hard work to succeed. Students should also have good writing and communication skills and strong math and analytical abilities.
Established in 1853, Wilson College is a private, coeducational college located in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. The college has a total enrollment of approximately 1,300 students, 85% of whom are undergraduate students.
The school offers a variety of undergraduate degrees, including those in the sciences, humanities, and pre-professional programs. However, Wilson College is known for its animal sciences program, which it began offering in 2001.
Through the animal sciences major, students gain knowledge and hands-on experience related to veterinary sciences. Graduates of the program are able to apply their knowledge to careers in animal care, management, and research.
Students in Wilson's animal sciences program spend their first year taking general education courses, followed by two years of courses focused on animal care and management. During their final two semesters, students complete an internship, giving them their first opportunity to put their knowledge to work in a professional setting.
Along with their regular courses, students in Wilson's animal sciences program participate in a variety of extracurricular activities. The college's Student Animal Health Club provides opportunities for students to network with future colleagues and participate in community service initiatives. The group hosts speakers on various animal care topics and participates in community outreach events, such as health clinics.
The group also hosts social events, such as a summer picnic and an end-of-the-year banquet. Members of the club are also responsible for maintaining the college's animal hospital, which features a variety of small animals for students to care for.
Lancaster County Career & Technology Center
As the only vocational school in the Lancaster area, Lancaster County Career & Technology Center has a lot to offer prospective veterinary students.
LCCTC has an excellent reputation in the area, having served the community for over 50 years. The school has many options for students pursuing a career in veterinary sciences, with options for those looking to earn an associate degree or go into the trade right away.
The school has two associate degree programs specifically for those looking to enter the veterinary field. The associate of applied science degree in veterinary technology has various tracks, including clinical veterinary technology and small animal clinical track and the large animal clinical track.
The other program is the associate of science degree in veterinary technology. Like the A.A.S. degree in veterinary technology, the A.S. degree has various tracks, such as the clinical track and the food animal and production track.
LCSC also has an associate degree in veterinary technician studies, a two-year program for those who already have a bachelor's degree in another field. The program is designed to prepare students to take the national board examination in veterinary technology.
Students in any of the programs can gain hands-on experience at the school's on-site clinical facilities. These include the Brackbill Large Animal Hospital, which is run by a professional veterinary staff. Students in the veterinary technology programs work alongside the hospital's staff and have the opportunity to perform a wide range of procedures. The hospital provides care for a variety of large animals, including horses, cattle, donkeys, mules, goats, sheep, pigs, and camels.
LCSC also has a partnership with the Lehigh Valley Hospital for Animals, where students in the large animal track can gain experience. The Lehigh Valley Hospital for Animals is a 25-bed hospital that provides care for a variety of animals, including dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, pocket pets, and reptiles. The hospital has a professional veterinary staff and offers services such as surgery, emergency care, imaging, and dentistry.
With these excellent facilities and programs, it's no surprise that LCSC was named a Top Workplace in the small business category by The Morning Call in 2019. The school has also been recognized by The Wall Street Journal and BusinessWeek as a top 100 school for degrees in health sciences.
Institute of Medical and Business Careers
The Institute of Medical and Business Careers (IMBC) is a private college located in Exton, Pennsylvania. It has a very limited student population of around 300 students, giving each student individualized attention and care.
IMBC offers several bachelor's programs, including a two-year associate degree in veterinary technician. Through this program, students gain the knowledge and experience necessary to begin a career as a veterinary technician.
Students gain a solid foundation in veterinary medicine, including immunology, disease processes, animal anatomy and physiology, and pet first aid. They also gain hands-on experience in basic medical procedures and animal care.
Students complete the program in two years by taking 32 credits of veterinary technology courses and 32 credits of science courses. They also must complete a veterinary technology practicum, in which they gain 200 hours of experience working with animals.
The college also offers several associate degree and bachelor's degree programs in business. Through these programs, students learn the skills needed to succeed in the business world, such as communication and interpersonal skills.
PennWest California is a branch of PennWest College, a private college founded in 1966. PennWest California is located in California, Pennsylvania, about an hour northwest of Philadelphia.
The school has a student body of around 1,500 students and offers several Bachelor of Science degrees, including animal biology, animal science, and pre-veterinary studies.
PennWest California's animal biology major offers several concentration tracks, including pre-veterinary studies, animal health, production and management, and research.
Through these tracks, students gain knowledge and hands-on experience that will prepare them for a career in veterinary medicine.
Students in the animal health track, for example, gain knowledge in animal medicine and surgery, as well as basic veterinary laboratory technology. They also gain experience through an internship with an animal hospital or clinic.
PennWest California is home to the Prusik Institute for Animal Health Education, a facility that allows students to learn hands-on through a wide range of courses and seminars. The institute also houses several animals for students to practice their skills on, including goats, sheep, miniature pigs, and llamas.
Northampton Community College
The only community college on this list, Northampton Community College is also one of the best schools for veterinary studies in the entire country.
Northampton boasts one of the best veterinary programs in the country, one that brings in $4.5 million in annual revenue and attracts students from as far away as Saudi Arabia and Australia.
Part of the college's success comes from its impressive facilities, including a large animal clinic with three treatment rooms, an intensive care unit, a surgery suite, and a radiology suite.
Students also have access to a large barn, which houses several horses and other large animals used for instruction purposes.
The college also offers more traditional facilities, such as a small animal clinic with three treatment rooms and an examination room.
Thanks to its unique curriculum, which includes an intensive 16-week summer session, Northampton is the best choice for anyone who wants to study veterinary medicine right away.
Lehigh Carbon Community College
As one of the best community colleges in Pennsylvania, Lehigh Carbon Community College has earned a reputation for its excellent academic programs and the opportunities it provides to students throughout the area.
One of the school's most impressive programs is its animal care technician program, which was developed in partnership with the Allentown School District.
Through this program, students gain the hands-on experience they need to succeed in the animal care field, while also earning the associate's degree required to take the certification exam.
Coupled with this experience is the opportunity for students to teach and mentor younger learners through the animal care technology program run by the Allentown School District.
Lehigh Carbon's animal care program also has a unique partnership with the Humane Society of the Lehigh Valley, which allows students to work with the animal care technicians at the organization.
This gives students the opportunity to work with animals and help the community while gaining the experience needed to advance in the field.
Another program that benefits the local community is Lehigh Carbon's pet food assistance program.
Through this program, students in the animal care technology program help low-income families keep their pets by providing pet food and care supplies.
As the first college on our list, Harcum College is a small, private, co-educational school located in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. It was founded in 1846 as the Women's Medical College of Philadelphia, the first such school for women in the United
States. It later changed its name to Harcum College in honor of Catherine Harcum, the matriarch of the family that founded the school.
Since its founding, Harcum has focused on providing high-quality education to all who desire it. It maintains small class sizes and a student to faculty ratio of around 10 to 1.
Harcum students can choose from more than 25 majors, including ones in the arts, business, education, and health care. The college also has several pre-veterinary studies options, which help students prepare for veterinary school after they graduate.
The campus itself is a historic landmark, with buildings dating back to the late 1800s. The main campus is located on a hilltop overlooking the Philadelphia skyline.