While many people are familiar with the benefits of a medical degree, fewer are aware of the benefits of a veterinary degree.
Veterinary medicine is a highly rewarding, challenging, and lucrative career path. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, veterinarians are among the top ten highest-paid professionals in the country.
The field is expected to grow by 6% between 2020 and 2030, which is faster than the average for all other occupations.
As more people become pet owners, the demand for veterinary services will continue to grow.
Veterinary degrees are typically two-year associate degrees. However, some veterinary colleges, such as Ross University in the Caribbean, offer four-year bachelor’s degrees.
Veterinary degrees prepare students for a variety of careers, including working as a veterinarian, veterinary technician, and veterinary assistant. Some schools also offer master’s and doctoral degrees.
In addition to classroom instruction, veterinary students gain practical experience through internships and externships. Internships are typically one semester long, while externships can last anywhere from one month to one year.
Veterinary colleges and programs are plentiful across the country, especially in states with a high population of pet owners. Many of the best schools are in Texas, where many veterinarians got their start.
Here, we’ve compiled a list of the top veterinary colleges in Texas. We’ve based our rankings on each school’s placement in the U.S. News & World Report list of best veterinary colleges.
Vet Tech Institute of Houston
Established in 1998, the Vet Tech Institute of Houston is a non-profit, private educational institution that provides students with the skills and knowledge they need to become competent veterinary technicians.
To that end, VTI Houston offers a two-year associate of applied science degree in veterinary technology.
In addition to classroom instruction, which consists of 27 different credits in veterinary technology, veterinary paraprofessional, and animal health technology subjects, students gain practical experience through internships that can last anywhere from one to six months.
Students also have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the veterinary technology laboratory through the institute's veterinary technology program.
Through the AAS in veterinary technology, VTI Houston graduates are eligible to take the National Examining Board for Veterinary Technologists' certification exam.
In addition, the school's faculty members are thoroughly vetted for their experience and expertise in the field. Many of the instructors have worked in the animal health industry for decades and bring that hard-won expertise to the classroom.
In addition to the campuses in Houston and Dallas, the Vet Tech Institute also has campuses in San Antonio, Austin, and The Woodlands.
Pima Medical Institute - Houston
At Pima Medical Institute, students learn the fundamentals of veterinary medicine through a hands-on approach, using the latest technologies and equipment. “We don't preach. We do.”
Pima's accelerated, four-year program requires students to complete 1,800 hours of hands-on experience, as well as 240 hours of client education.
As part of their training, students at Pima develop a veterinary medical plan, or VMP, in collaboration with an established veterinarian. A VMP is a blueprint of a veterinarian's practice, outlining how the veterinarian and student would work together and the services they would provide to their clients.
Students also gain experience in the Pima Veterinary Medical Center, which was established in 1979 and serves as a teaching hospital for the school. The center provides services such as emergency and critical care, internal medicine, and pet hospice care.
The institute also maintains a 35,000-square-foot facility that includes classrooms, laboratories, and teaching hospital wards. Students use the hospital's state-of-the-art equipment and procedures, such as ultrasound, CT and MRI scanning, endoscopy, arthroscopy, and laparoscopy.
Texas A&M University - Kingsville
Texas A&M University - Kingsville is among the most respected and prestigious academic institutions in the United States. It is also one of the few veterinary schools in the U.S. to be part of a nationally ranked top 50 public university.
The school traces its roots to 1901, when the Department of Agriculture was founded at what was then the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas. The school has grown into a university that supports more than 7,000 students across 13 different academic areas.
As part of such an esteemed university, the Texas A&M University - Kingsville veterinary program is among the best in the nation. The school is home to the Integral Biomedical Research Center, which was designed to advance the interdisciplinary study of animal health.
The center includes research labs and offices, as well as a veterinary hospital that is staffed by some of the top practitioners in the field. The hospital provides an ideal setting for students to gain hands-on experience while working alongside some of the best veterinary doctors in the world.
The center also features a large research facility that allows students to study the effects of climate change on animals, as well as the effects of pesticides and pollutants on animal health.
Pima Medical Institute - El Paso
The Pima Medical Institute in El Paso is a branch of Pima Medical Institute, a private medical school founded by Arizona’s Mayo Clinic. PMI-El Paso is one of the smaller veterinary schools on this list with an enrollment of just 90 students. But those students receive excellent training because of PMI’s unique approach to the subject.
In addition to the typical classes, which cover topics like animal anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, and pathology, PMI gives its students hands-on experience through its cooperative program with the El Paso Zoo. Students perform research alongside zoo veterinarians, providing them with expertise they can put on their resumes. They also use their new knowledge to care for the animals in their charge, helping to ensure that the zoo is a safe and healthy environment for its creatures.
Thanks to its Mayo affiliation, PMI also offers students opportunities to work with the famous medical center. Through the institute's affiliation with the Mayo Clinic Health System, students can complete their clinical rotations at the El Paso Community Hospital. There, they gain experience working with a variety of animals, from household pets to large farm animals.
With its unique approach to teaching, the Pima Medical Institute gives its students the knowledge and experience necessary to become excellent veterinarians.
Lone Star College
The College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Texas A&M University is the only academic institution in the U.S. to hold all four accreditations from the American Veterinary Medical Association.
The four accreditations include the school's veterinary medicine program, which requires students to complete a minimum of four years of study and 2,000 hours of clinical experience, and the college's facilities, research, and continuing education programs.
The school's research focuses on improving animal and public health by studying the transmission and prevention of zoonotic diseases, foodborne illness, and antimicrobial resistance.
The veterinary college has also made headlines for its research on companion animals' ability to sense human emotions, the effects of corncob bedding on cattle health, and the role of fungi in crop production.
Along with advancing the veterinary field, the college's research has been featured in publications such as PLOS ONE, the Journal of Animal Science, and the American Journal of Veterinary Research.
The school is home to 11 core faculty members and more than 50 adjunct faculty members, many of whom are award-winning researchers and clinicians.
Dallas College - El Centro Campus
The El Centro College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences is the only veterinary school in Texas that is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Dallas is unique among veterinary schools in that it is the only school in the country that offers a dual-degree program with Texas A&M University.
This program allows students to earn a bachelor's and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree simultaneously, saving them years of time and tens of thousands of dollars in tuition.
Students also benefit from Dallas's proximity to research institutions such as the Southwest National Primate Research Center and the Southwestern Medical Center.
This allows students to gain experience working with some of the most important and influential medical centers in the country, as well as the most up-to-date equipment and resources.
Dallas also offers a rural track program that allows students to gain hands-on experience working with large animals in a rural setting.
Through the program, students are able to take courses and gain experience working with a variety of large animals, including horses, cattle, swine, and sheep.
Houston Community College
Thanks to its affiliation with the Houston Community College System, the Houston Community College (HCC) Veterinary Technology Program enjoys resources and accreditation second to none.
Thanks to its affiliation with the HCC, one of the largest community college systems in the nation, the Houston Community College Veterinary Technology Program has access to cutting-edge research and the very best in accreditation.
The HCC is a nationally recognized leader in higher education, with over 70,000 students in more than 100 programs. The school has been named one of the Top 100 Community Colleges in the United States by The Center for Public Education every year since the center began ranking institutions in 2003.
The Houston Community College Veterinary Technology Program is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the Commission on Accreditation of Veterinary Technician Education Programs (CAVPE).
Thanks to its AVMA accreditation, the HCC Veterinary Technology Program is uniquely positioned to offer students a pathway to professional certification. After completing the program and meeting other requirements, students can sit for the Veterinary Technician National Exam and, if they pass, become a certified veterinary technician.
Thanks to its CAVPE accreditation, the HCC Veterinary Technology Program can also award students a certificate in veterinary technology, a diploma in veterinary technology, or a bachelor's degree in veterinary technology.
Thanks to its AVMA accreditation and CAVPE accreditation, the HCC Veterinary Technology Program is fully equipped to prepare students to enter the rapidly growing field of veterinary medicine.
Thanks to its CAVPE accreditation, the HCC Veterinary Technology Program is one of only a handful of institutions in the nation authorized to offer the Veterinary Assisting National Exam. After completing the program and meeting other requirements, students can sit for the Veterinary Assisting National Exam and, if they pass, become a certified veterinary assistant.
Austin Community College District
Austin Community College District is one of the largest community college districts in Texas. It consists of three colleges, ACC Highland, ACC Riverside, and ACC Rio Grande, and a plethora of branch campuses and learning centers.
Each college has its own program offerings, but they all share veterinary technician associate degree and certificate options.
Students can choose to study veterinary technology at any of the district's campuses, giving them the flexibility to pursue their education from virtually any location.
A bachelor's degree program is only offered at ACC Highland, where students can earn a degree in veterinary technology.
At both ACC Riverside and ACC Rio Grande, students can take various classes to expand their knowledge and experience, which will prepare them to sit for the Veterinary Technician National Exam.
At all campuses, students can also earn credits toward a veterinary technician certification through the National Board Examination (NBE).
After completing the required courses and exams, students can become certified through the National Board of Veterinary Examiners.
As part of the Blinn College Foundation, the Blinn College Veterinary Technology Program is a two-year associate degree that puts students in immediate contact with the animals and veterinary professionals they will one day serve.
The program is one of just 17 in the United States, and one of only three in Texas, to be accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association. This distinction means that the program follows the same standards as those used by veterinary colleges across the nation, ensuring that the quality of education and experience is consistent across the profession.
As part of an academic foundation, the Blinn College Veterinary Technology Program is committed to serving rural areas. To that end, the program maintains a small class size of around 15 students, with an even split between genders and a rural residency requirement.
These measures ensure that each student has ample opportunity to work with animals and veterinarians during their formative years, gaining the experience and exposure they will later bring to their professional lives.
Tarleton State University
The College of Agricultural Sciences at Tarleton State University offers students a wide range of options, from pre-veterinary studies all the way to a PhD in veterinary sciences.
The pre-veterinary studies track is a multidisciplinary major that gives students the background they need to pursue a wide range of careers.
Students receive four years of academic instruction and gain valuable hands-on experience through internships and volunteer opportunities.
They also take part in research projects, which gives them the opportunity to showcase their talents and gain recognition in their chosen field.
Those who complete the pre-veterinary track can then apply to the College of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences to pursue a bachelor's degree in veterinary sciences.
The multidisciplinary major prepares students to work in the animal health field, providing them with a broad curriculum that includes biology, animal health, and agribusiness courses.