Anyone who loves animals, science, and helping others is likely to consider a career in veterinary medicine.
Veterinarians are responsible for diagnosing and treating the health problems of all sorts of animals, from household pets to farm animals and everything in between.
The best veterinary colleges prepare students for this challenging and rewarding career by teaching them all they need to know about animal anatomy, physiology, and pathology.
They also give students opportunities to gain hands-on experience through internships and rotations in clinics, hospitals, and laboratories.
There are many excellent options for those interested in this career in Oklahoma. The state is home to nine accredited veterinary schools, which are spread across four different colleges.
These colleges offer a variety of benefits, from excellent educational resources to opportunities to work alongside veterinarians.
But how do these colleges differ? What sets one apart from the next?
Here, we’ll break down the key features of Oklahoma’s best veterinary schools and help you decide which one is right for you.
Tulsa Community College
As one of the largest community colleges in the state, Tulsa Community College has a lot to offer its students. But its veterinary technician program is truly one-of-a-kind. TCC is one of the few community colleges in the nation to offer a two-year associate degree specifically for veterinary technician students.
This program is not to be taken lightly. Students in the TCC veterinary technician program complete nearly all of the same coursework as their university counterparts, putting in the same amount of hours in the classroom and in clinical practice.
The major difference is that TCC students complete this work over two years, as opposed to the typical four years. This allows students to gain much of the same knowledge and experience as those at four-year universities, while saving them time and money.
This means that upon graduating from the TCC veterinary technician program, students have the same knowledge and experience as those who graduated from four-year institutions like the University of Oklahoma and the University of Central Oklahoma.
Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College
As one of the few colleges in the state to offer a bachelor of science in veterinary medicine, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College has several unique features.
One of these is its partnership with the Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Medicine. This makes Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College part of the largest veterinary education program in the United States.
In addition to the benefits this arrangement brings to current students, it also means that the college has access to the latest teaching methods and research findings.
Another notable feature of Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College is its emphasis on rural veterinary medicine. The college's program focuses on the unique challenges faced by those working in the area and prepares students to meet them.
This emphasis is supported by the availability of a range of courses in veterinary technology and equine, food animal, and small animal medicine.
Furthermore, the college's Cooperative Veterinary Education Program gives students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience and begin working with clients immediately upon graduation.
Oklahoma State University - Oklahoma City
Veterinary medicine students at Oklahoma State University have the unique opportunity to work alongside veterinarians at the OSU Veterinary Medical Center as part of their required training.
The only veterinary center in the state that offers medical, surgical, and emergency care to both animals and livestock, the OSU VMC is a hub of activity that provides excellent experience for students.
Students gain hands-on experience through rotations in small animal medicine and surgery, as well as large animal medicine and healthcare. They also have opportunities to work in the clinic's large animal hospital and intensive care unit, as well as the surgery center.
OSU's Integrated Veterinary Medicine Program is unique in that it allows students to choose their focus area during their second year. They can choose either small animal medicine, large animal medicine, or a combination of the two.
No other veterinary school in Oklahoma offers students the opportunity to study both animals and large livestock, making OSU a vital resource for those looking to enter the profession.
Murray State College
At Murray State College, students in the veterinary technology program learn beside practicing veterinarians in the college's clinical training facility. The facility provides hands-on experience and supervision as students gain proficiency in the skills required to provide quality care to animal patients.
The program consists of 1,200 hours of instruction, including 240 hours of clinical rotations. Students can choose from five areas of study, including veterinary technology, veterinary technology - equine, small animal, large animal, and veterinary technology - production animal.
In addition to instruction, students in the veterinary technology program at Murray State gain experience through the clinical facility's regular office hours. The facility provides care for both small and large animals and is staffed by five practicing veterinarians.
The college also offers several other educational programs with a focus on animal care. In the associate of science degree in animal technology, students gain hands-on experience working with horses and small animals. They also learn about animal health care, management, and selection. Other programs include an online associate of science degree in animal technology and an online certificate of completion in animal technology.
With a focus on small animal care, Oklahoma State University is a top-ranked university in the United States. The university is home to the Global Health Institute, which provides resources and training to improve animal health in developing countries.
Community Care College
Veterinary medicine is a noble profession, helping to protect animal health and wellbeing. That's why so many people choose to study it at Community Care College.
At CCC, students in the veterinary technician program learn in the classroom and in clinical settings. They gain hands-on experience working with animals, learning the basics of animal care, health, and disease.
Students learn how to administer basic care, including giving injections, drawing blood, and more. They also gain knowledge of animal anatomy and physiology, so they can better care for the creatures around them.
Students in the veterinary technician associate degree program gain even more knowledge, including about animal pathology, immunology, and nutrition. They also study business administration and receive training in laboratory diagnostics.
With these skills and knowledge, CCC graduates are ready to enter the job market. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that, within a few years of graduation, over half of CCC graduates are working in veterinary clinics. Others go on to work in kennels, animal shelters, horse stables, and other animal-related industries.
Kiamichi Technology Center - McAlester
As the only technology center in Oklahoma, Kiamichi Technology Center provides a variety of technical and career training programs to high school and adult students.
KC Tech, as it's often called, has several bachelor's degrees available, including a bachelor of applied science in business management and a bachelor of science in computer technology.
Students can also earn an associate of applied science in more than 30 different fields, including several types of technology, construction trades, health and medical, and more.
The school was founded in 1958 as the Kiamichi Trade School, with the goal of training high school graduates to be skilled and qualified workers. It was one of the first in the nation to offer classes in Industrial Electronics, Machine Tool, and Building Construction and Electrical Trades.
Today, KC Tech is an integral part of the McAlester community, providing local residents with job training and advanced education opportunities.
Moore Norman Technology Center
Veterinary technicians perform many of the same tasks as doctors and nurses, but under the close supervision of a licensed veterinarian. These tasks include giving injections, taking medical histories, and performing laboratory tests.
The Moore Norman Technology Center's veterinary technology program trains students in these and other tasks, laying the foundation for a career in animal care.
To that end, the program includes 120 hours of hands-on instruction in animal care, along with 40 hours of clinical experience in hospitals and animal care centers. Students also gain experience working with a variety of animals, including cats, dogs, horses, cows, and birds.
Students complete the program with an A.A.S. in veterinary technology, ready to take the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VANCE).
The Technology Center also offers related career training in other fields, including heating, ventilation, and air conditioning installation and repair; manufacturing and electrical systems installation; and computer network support technology.
Canadian Valley Technology Center
The Canadian Valley Technology Center is a public school that trains students in a variety of technology fields, including auto collision repair and welding.
But CVTC also has an animal technology program, which includes courses such as equine management and care, animal health technology, and small animal veterinary technology.
Students in the veterinary technology program learn basic and clinical sciences necessary for a career in veterinary medicine.
After completing the program, students are eligible to take the National Examining Board for Animal Health Technology's exam to become certified.
Students also have opportunities to gain hands-on experience through an internship with a veterinary clinic or hospital.
CVTC has a partnership with SouthWestern Animal Hospital in Duncan, which allows students to work with veterinarians to provide care to animal patients.
The school currently has two veterinarians on staff, Dr. James McKean and Dr. Daniel Charbonneau, to help guide and mentor students.
Central Technology Center
Established in 1966, the Central Technology Center is a public career and technology education district that serves several counties in Oklahoma. CTC offers a variety of associate degree and certificate programs, many of which are specifically tailored to prepare students for jobs in the technology industry.
One such program is the veterinary technician associate degree program, which trains students in the science, medicine, and business of veterinary medicine. Over the course of about two years, students in the program learn about animal anatomy, disease prevention and control, and immunology. They also gain hands-on experience working with animals in a hospital setting, performing diagnostics and lab work, administering medication, and more.
In addition to the associate degree program, CTC also offers a veterinary technician certificate program, which takes about a year to complete. The certificate program provides training in the same areas as the associate degree but does not offer the same degree of academic credit. Instead, certificate students use the coursework to prepare for the national veterinary technician certification exam.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a veterinary technician in Oklahoma is $28,000. However, the salary for technicians working at colleges and universities like CTC can be much higher. In 2017, the president and CEO of CTC made $130,000.
Mid-America Technology Center
The Mid-America Technology Center is part of the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education. It has two campuses, one in Chickasha and the other in El Reno.
The El Reno campus has a fully operational veterinary technician program. Students in the program spend more than 1,300 hours working with animals as they gain hands-on experience. They also take classes in business and animal science, learning about anatomy, disease, and animal care.
Students gain knowledge and skills that can help them immediately after graduation or put them in a position to transfer to a four-year university.
Oklahoma State University, the University of Oklahoma, and the University of Central Oklahoma all accept Mid-America Technology Center credits toward their veterinary programs.
Mid-America Tech also has veterinary technology associate degree and certificate programs at both of its campuses. These programs give students the knowledge and hands-on experience to work in veterinary offices, including hospitals and animal shelters.