There are many great reasons to become a veterinarian.
Not only do veterinarians get to work with and care for animals, but they also get to help humans by providing crucial diagnostic and treatment services.
And the best part about becoming a veterinarian is that there are many different paths to take.
Veterinarians can work in private practice, in research, or in academia.
While most veterinarians gain their degrees in four-year colleges and universities, it's also possible to obtain a degree in veterinary medicine by attending a community college.
In fact, there are several excellent community colleges that offer two-year programs in veterinary technology.
Although these programs are shorter, they still give students all the tools they need to go out into the world and work with animals.
And although the programs are shorter, the time commitment is still significant, as most programs require a full-time commitment of around 40 hours per week.
In addition, community college students can still gain hands-on experience by working in a veterinary hospital or laboratory.
Here, we'll take a look at some of the excellent veterinary schools in Kansas, as well as the resources and facilities available to students.
Kansas State University
Veterinary medicine students at Kansas State University have the opportunity to learn from and work alongside the world's leading veterinary scientists in the university's John A. David College of Veterinary Medicine.
The college's mission is to advance the profession through innovative instruction and research, as well as to serve as a conduit for the exchange of knowledge that benefits people and animals.
Students gain hands-on experience through the university's Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, which provides diagnostic services to animal hospitals across Kansas and beyond.
The lab also houses the Animal Immunology & Infection Center, which is focused on advancing the diagnosis and treatment of animal disease for both humans and animals.
Students can also gain experience in the form of co-op assignments through the college's Animal Health Technology Program.
Through the program, students have the opportunity to apply their knowledge and gain experience in a veterinary practice by spending time working in one for six months.
Students also have the opportunity to spend time working with animals through the college's Equine, Food Animal, and Small Animal Clinics.
In addition to these opportunities for practical experience, veterinary students at Kansas State University have access to a number of facilities and resources to aid in their education and training.
These include the Robert J. White Large Animal Hospital, a fully equipped and staffed facility with a number of advanced diagnostic and treatment technologies, as well as the Barbara Bush Children's Hospital, which provides a safe and nurturing environment for children to learn, interact with, and treat animals.
The college is also home to several research centers and laboratories, including the Center for Biosecurity, the Prather Lab, the Swine Health Monitoring and Evaluation Lab, and the Diagnostic Virology Laboratory, among others.
Kansas State University is also the home of the American Association of Avian Pathologists, which provides a forum for the discussion and exchange of avian health information.
Colby Community College
Colby Community College is the first of several community colleges on this list, and it's the only one to offer a two-year veterinary technology degree.
But that doesn't mean it's any less of an impressive program.
The program, which is part of the animal science department, takes around two years to complete and includes about 60 credits.
Students gain hands-on experience and knowledge through the college's animal care facility and clinic.
With this facility, students are able to work with a wide variety of animals, including dogs, cats, horses, birds, reptiles, and more. They're able to practice procedures, such as drawing blood, administering medication, and more.
Colby Community College also offers a unique opportunity for students to study abroad at the Animal Health Technology Program in Italy. In this program, students take courses alongside students from North Central Technical College and University of Wisconsin-Madison.
They also get to apply their knowledge and skills by working with animals in Italy.
As part of Wichita State University, Wichita State University Tech has a long history of excellence in veterinary education.
In fact, the first classes were held in 1902, just two years after the school's founding. Since then, thousands of students have studied under the school's distinguished faculty, earning their degrees from the Wichita State University School of Veterinary Medicine.
The school has earned international recognition for its research, winning awards from the American Association of Veterinary Clinical Pathologists and the American Association of Bovine Practitioners.
The veterinary school's work blends with that of the university as a whole, which has earned recognition as a leader in sustainability. The university has been a member of the Presidents' Climate Commitment, a group of universities committed to carbon neutrality, since 2007.
In addition, the school has partnered with local industries to solve problems with new technologies. These include the Food Innovation Center, which provides resources for entrepreneurs working in the food industry, and the Bio Innovation and Technology Incubator, which provides research and laboratory spaces for biotech startups.
Butler Community College
As part of the statewide Kansas Community College system, Butler Community College has a mission to provide quality educational opportunities for students from all backgrounds and all walks of life.
Butler's associate of applied science degree in veterinary technology is no exception to that goal.
The two-year program trains students to become highly-skilled veterinary medical technicians, providing care to animals and supporting veterinarians in their work. With a class size of around 20 students, the program gives personalized attention to its participants, ensuring that they gain the knowledge and experience they need.
Along with the knowledge and experience that Butler provides, the school partners with Hutchinson Community College to offer its veterinary technology certificate program. This allows students to study introductory material at Hutchinson, then continue their education at Butler, gaining a more advanced understanding of the field.
Butler also supports its students by providing resources, such as a $50,000 endowment to keep the school's large animal mannequin and simulation lab operational.
Butler Community College knows that the field of veterinary medicine requires highly-qualified and knowledgeable individuals to uphold the high quality of care that the profession deserves. That's why Butler Community College works hard to provide that kind of education for its students.
Barton County Community College
At Barton County Community College, students in the animal sciences program are not limited by their choice of major. Rather, they can take courses in a number of different disciplines, allowing them to better focus their interests.
One of those options is the three-year associate in science degree, which students can use to move on to a four-year program elsewhere or begin working in the field.
In addition to the more traditional coursework, Barton County Community College's animal sciences program includes two areas of emphasis: animal technology and animal production and management.
Through the animal technology track, students learn how to care for animals as a business, including how to handle their daily care, how to market their products, and how to make a profit. Through the animal production and management track, students learn how to care for animals as a hobby, taking care of them as a labor of love rather than a business.
Students in the animal sciences program also have the opportunity to learn from experts in the field through the college's advisory board, which is made up of veterinarians, animal scientists, and other industry experts.
Dodge City Community College
As part of the Kansas Board of Regents, Dodge City Community College has a clear mission: to provide high-quality education to everyone who wants it.
DCCC has several programs designed to prepare students for further study in veterinary medicine. In addition to a one-year pre-veterinary track and an online pre-veterinary track, the college offers a two-year business and agriculture associate degree.
Students in the pre-veterinary track gain a solid understanding of the sciences, including classes in biology, chemistry, and physics. They also study social and natural sciences, learning how to think critically about the world.
Those in the business and agriculture associate degree program gain knowledge in business, agriculture, and farm and home management. These classes will round out their understanding of the world, giving them a solid base for thinking about animal health.
With these courses in mind, it's no wonder that several Kansas schools include DCCC on their lists of accepted colleges. The University of Kansas, Kansas State University, Emporia State University, and The University of Southern Kansas all allow DCCC coursework to count toward their admissions requirements.
Independence Community College
Veterinary assisting is a great entry point into the field of veterinary medicine. It provides students with an opportunity to learn about the profession and gain hands-on experience before deciding whether to pursue a degree.
That's why Independence Community College in Kansas has added a veterinary assisting program to its list of courses, joining other offerings such as animal science, agriculture, and horticulture.
In the program's first two semesters, students gain an understanding of animal biology and physiology, including animal anatomy and physiology, as well as disease prevention, control, and treatment. They also learn about animal health care and management, including animal nutrition and health management.
In the program's second two semesters, students gain more advanced knowledge and skills in animal health care and management. They learn about procedures in animal first aid and veterinary technology. They also gain experience working with animals in the animal technology and pet care internships.
Students in ICC's veterinary assisting program can earn a Associate of Applied Science degree, but they don't have to because the program also offers a variety of noncredit courses for people who want to learn more about animal care and don't have the time or resources to commit to a full degree program.