Veterinary medicine is a growing field that offers many benefits to those who want to help animals.
From the practical to the philosophical, working with animals can help anyone find their passion.
And there are many reasons to choose veterinary medicine. In fact, the field is expected to grow by 5% over the next few years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
If you want to become a veterinarian, you’ll need a degree from an accredited veterinary school.
While most people think of large, prestigious universities like Harvard or Johns Hopkins when they think of veterinary schools, there are many excellent options across the country.
Florida is home to several excellent schools, including those that offer veterinary technology degrees, which are required for those who want to work in a clinic or laboratory.
These programs have all of the same benefits of a traditional veterinary program, but they’re shorter, allowing you to go to school without breaking the bank.
Here are the best vet schools in Florida.
City College - Gainesville
Veterinary students at City College learn the fundamentals of veterinary medicine in the college's Department of Animal Health.
Through the program, students gain hands-on experience and develop the critical thinking and problem-solving skills necessary for future work.
Along with an associate degree in veterinary technology, the department's courses include topics such as animal health, anatomy and physiology, veterinary technology, and veterinary technician practice.
Through these courses, students gain knowledge about animal biology and disease, as well as the role of the veterinarian and technician in keeping animals healthy.
Students also gain experience in the clinic and hospital, where they can apply their knowledge and thinking in practical scenarios.
Through the department, which was established in 1964, students have helped establish the first-ever veterinary technician program at a community college in the state.
They have also helped the University of Florida establish a new veterinary technology program, so their thinking and work continues to impact the field long after they graduate.
City College is home to the first veterinary technology program in the state and has remained a leader in the field, preparing students for a career in keeping animals healthy.
Eastern Florida State College
Veterinary technology is an important field that allows those with an interest in animals to pursue a career that benefits both animals and humans. Those who pursue a degree in veterinary technology can work in a variety of settings, including animal hospitals, laboratories, and research centers.
At Eastern Florida State College, students in the veterinary technology associate degree program gain hands-on experience working with animals in the clinic and laboratory. In their first semester, students take courses in animal care, animal first aid and safety, and animal anatomy and physiology.
Later semesters feature more specialized courses, such as diagnostic imaging and laboratory animal health care. Throughout their studies, students also complete internships where they gain experience working with animals in a professional setting, often an animal hospital or laboratory.
EFSC's veterinary technology program has a longstanding history of preparing students to enter the workforce, with over 100 alumni currently working in the field.
Miami Dade College
As the largest college in the nation, it's no surprise that Miami Dade College has a veterinary technician program. But what is surprising is how well the school prepares its students.
For one, Miami Dade College has an incredibly low student to faculty ratio of around 13 to 1. That means that each instructor has the time to get to know each student and help them succeed. It also means that each student has the chance to form relationships with their instructors, letting them become the mentors that every vet needs to be successful.
Students in the program also have the chance to become involved in the community. In 2019, the school hosted its fourth annual Veterinary Technology Camp, which brings animal healthcare education to underserved children.
Additionally, Miami Dade College is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, allowing students to get the accreditation that every employer looks for.
Hillsborough Community College
Veterinary technicians are an important part of any veterinary practice. They perform a variety of tasks, from basic care and monitoring to diagnosing illnesses. Hillsborough Community College's two-year associate degree program equips students with the knowledge and hands-on experience needed to succeed in this important role.
HCC's program includes prerequisite courses in biology, chemistry, anatomy, and physiology. After these basics are covered, students move on to more specific topics, including animal health, diseases, and management. Additionally, students gain experience working with various species and in a veterinary setting through the program's clinical component.
Students gain experience working with a variety of animals through HCC's veterinary assistant program. This one-year program focuses on hands-on experience, giving students the opportunity to work with various species, including dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, birds, and more.
Thanks to its focus on veterinary technology, HCC has a partnership with the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) to offer students joint credit for certain courses. This credit transfer partnership allows students to complete some of their required coursework at the AVMA Higher Education Institute and receive credit toward their degree at HCC.
St. Petersburg College
Veterinary technology is an increasingly important part of modern veterinary medicine. In order to prepare their students for the demands of the profession, Florida veterinary colleges generally require two years of study in the subject.
However, students who already have significant experience in veterinary technology have the opportunity to begin their studies at St. Petersburg College.
At SPC's Veterinary Technology Program, students gain the knowledge and skills they need to become certified veterinary technicians.
After completing the program, graduates are eligible to take the National Board Examination, which is administered by the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians. If they pass, they become certified by the National Board of Veterinary Examiners.
Along the way, students gain practical experience through internships in local veterinary offices. These internships allow students to apply the skills they have learned in the classroom, working with animals under the supervision of experienced veterinarians.
SPC's program has plenty of other impressive features, including a focus on inclusive education, a commitment to teaching through technology, and a partnership with the Florida Veterinary Medical Association.
Pensacola State College
Veterinary medicine is a rigorous field filled with many tough classes, long hours in the lab and clinic, and tough exams. Students must have a solid understanding of animal anatomy, physiology, pathology, immunology, and microbiology, as well as excellent research, communication, and clinical skills.
To help prepare students for this challenging field, Pensacola State College offers a veterinary technician certificate. Through this 17-month, full-time program, students gain hands-on experience in veterinary hospitals, gaining knowledge of veterinary medicine and surgery, animal anatomy and physiology, and disease diagnosis.
Those who wish to enter the university's bachelor of science in veterinary science degree program, however, will need to have already completed some undergraduate coursework in the sciences, preferably in biology, chemistry, and math. Additionally, prospective students should have some experience working with animals, either at a veterinary hospital or through a hobby such as horseback riding, farming, or pet grooming.
Through the 90-credit bachelor's degree program, students gain a wide breadth of knowledge, including animal anatomy and physiology, immunology and pathology, animal health and disease diagnosis, pharmacology, and clinical practice and surgery. Students also gain hands-on experience through two externships, one in a small animal hospital and one in a research lab.
With a curriculum like this, it's no wonder that Pensacola State College is one of only two Florida schools to make it into the top 100 of the US News & World Report Best Colleges rankings.
Southern Technical College - Orlando
At the Southern Technical College in Orlando, students gain hands-on experience in the veterinary technology program. In their first semester, students take courses in animal science, equine studies, and anatomy and physiology. In their second semester, they gain experience working in a veterinary hospital as an intern.
This experience is not limited to observing veterinarians but also involves hands-on work such as administering medications, performing diagnostic tests, and other routine procedures. Along with learning the day-to-day responsibilities of a veterinary technician, students also gain a network of colleagues and mentors who can guide their career.
With a concentration in equine studies, this program prepares students for a variety of careers in the horse racing, breeding, and riding industries. Students learn about equine reproduction, anatomy and physiology, and health care. Those working toward a bachelor's degree in equine studies also complete several equine-related courses, including animal behavior and management, horse reproduction, and equine nutrition.
With this hands-on experience and academic background, students are prepared for careers as veterinary technicians. They can work in a variety of settings, including small animal hospitals, equine hospitals, and animal research facilities.
With the help of the Southern Technical College veterinary technology program, more people can make a difference in the lives of animals.
Southern Technical College - Fort Myers
Established in 1998, Southern Technical College offers a two-year associate's degree in veterinary technology.
To obtain their degree, students must complete 120 credit hours, which include core courses in biology, animal anatomy, animal health, and animal disease control.
Students spend 24 hours in clinical rotations at various veterinary offices, where they put their knowledge into practice by working with animals and their owners.
Along with learning how to care for animals, students gain practical experience that will help them find a job after graduation.
Along with the veterinary technology degree, Southern Technical College offers associate's degrees in numerous other fields, including animal science, construction technology, and medical office assistant.
All of the college's programs are approved by the State Advisory Committee on Education and the Florida Department of Education.
As a member of the State Board of Education, the Florida Association of Colleges and Schools, and the National Association of Colleges and Schools, Southern Technical College is held to high standards.
Suncoast Technical College
Veterinary technology is an increasingly important field, with rapidly growing demand and strong job security. A veterinary technology degree not only trains students in the animal care sciences, but also gives them real-world experience that can be leveraged in a variety of job types.
That's why Suncoast Technical College's veterinary technology program has grown to become one of the largest and most respected in the state.
The program currently serves more than 300 students at its Homosassa campus and more than 100 online learners from across the state.
Suncoast's vet tech program is structured around a 12-month, full-time program, as well as part-time and online options.
Students receive hands-on training in the animal care sciences under the supervision of experienced instructors and veterinarians.
Coursework covers everything from animal biology and physiology to animal health and disease.
Students also gain experience in the clinic, working with a variety of small animals, including dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, and more.
Courses are taught by members of the Veterinary Medical Society of Central Florida, which provides faculty with continuing education and professional development opportunities.
Lorenzo Walker Institute of Technology
Founded in 1997 as the Veterinary Technology Program at Central Florida Community College, Lorenzo Walker soon expanded to include its current site, the Sanford-Orlando area.
With a dedicated faculty of veterinary professionals, Lorenzo Walker brings real-world experience to every class. With a student-to-faculty ratio of 16:1, Lorenzo Walker gives every student the attention they need.
In addition to the one-year certificate program, Lorenzo Walker offers two associate's degree programs: veterinary technology and veterinary technology - large animal. With these options, anyone can study the profession, no matter their background.