With a population of over nine million, North Carolina is a large state that offers a wide variety of options for anyone looking to attend veterinary school. The state is home to a number of excellent programs that can prepare students to enter the field, earning them a degree and the skills they need to begin a rewarding career.
Veterinarians and veterinary technicians help animal owners and pet owners to keep their furry friends healthy. They diagnose illnesses, perform surgeries, and provide treatment to help animals get better.
The field is growing quickly, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting a 10% increase in jobs for veterinarians and a 12% increase in jobs for veterinary technicians over the next decade.
The best veterinary schools in North Carolina are all part of the state’s network of community colleges, giving students a wide range of options. These schools can provide an affordable way to begin an education in the field without the high costs associated with four-year colleges.
Following graduation, students can continue their studies by transferring to a four-year college to complete their bachelor’s degrees. Or, they can begin their careers by taking advantage of the hands-on training and experience they have already gained at a community college.
Here are the best veterinary schools in North Carolina.
Central Carolina Community College
As the only veterinary technician program in North Carolina, CCCC's Veterinary Technology program is in high demand. Students can complete the program in just a year, making it possible for qualified applicants to begin their careers as a certified veterinary technician following graduation.
The program takes full advantage of the college's network of campuses across the state, with classes offered in person at the Harnett Campus in Lillington and online from the school's Sanford campus.
Students in the program spend their first six months learning the theory and concepts behind veterinary medicine, including animal anatomy and physiology, disease processes, and more. They then put their new knowledge to use in the second half of the program, spending three months working in a veterinary hospital as an apprentice, gaining hands-on experience working with animals under the supervision of a veterinarian.
CCCC's program follows the guidelines set by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America, ensuring that students receive an education that fully prepares them for the industry.
Cape Fear Community College
Veterinary technology is a fast-growing field that can lead to a direct path to a career. Those who enter the profession after earning an associate degree can begin working in a veterinary clinic or hospital right away. Those with a bachelor's or higher degree can advance into management or other critical roles.
Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington, North Carolina, offers an associate of science degree in veterinary technology that can be completed in two years. The 90-credit program includes 32 credits of general education courses and 18 credits in animal science. Students spend the remaining credits in related courses, including four in clinical veterinary technology.
The program includes a practicum that puts students in contact with veterinary clinics and hospitals for hands-on experience. They gain experience working with a variety of animals, including dogs, cats, horses, birds, and more. Students perform diagnostic tests, take medical histories, and perform various other tasks to help veterinarians care for their patients.
Students who earn a A.A. degree in veterinary technology can later transfer the credits to a four-year school to earn a bachelor's degree in the field.
Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College
The Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College (ABTCC) is part of the North Carolina Community College System, and as such it provides an affordable way for students to begin their education.
The two-year college has several programs that are of interest to future veterinarians, including a veterinary technician program and an animal health technician associate degree.
Through the veterinary technician program, students gain hands-on experience and receive instruction in anatomy, physiology, disease processes, and animal care. After completing the program, students earn a certificate of completion and are prepared to take the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE).
The animal health technician associate degree offers a more well-rounded experience, covering topics such as animal care, animal health, and veterinary technology. At the end of the program, students earn a North Carolina Associate of Arts degree in animal health.
ABTCC is an excellent choice for those who want to begin their education but do not have the time or resources to attend a four-year college immediately. Later, students can transfer the credits they have earned at ABTCC toward a bachelor's degree program at a number of other colleges in the state.
Alamance Community College
Alamance Community College is part of the North Carolina Community College System and has been training veterinary technicians since 1995.
The two-year associate of applied science degree in veterinary technology offers a range of classes that give students a solid foundation.
Courses include anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, disease recognition and control, animal care and management, and animal restraint and handling.
Students also gain experience at the school's veterinary technology laboratory, which is run by an onsite veterinarian.
Alamance offers a unique opportunity for students to gain hands-on experience in a professional setting under the supervision of an onsite veterinarian.
The college's network of hospitals includes three facilities: Holly Veterinary Hospital in Burlington, NC, Forest Animal Hospital in Forest City, NC, and Southern Veterinary Hospital in Southern Pines, NC.
Alamance's network of veterinary hospitals gives students a chance to gain experience working with a variety of animals, including dogs, cats, horses, cows, birds, and more.
Alamance has an active student chapter of the American Veterinary Medical Association, which gives students a chance to network and meet like-minded peers.
Veterinary Technician programs are an excellent starting point for those who want to enter the veterinary profession. A degree in veterinary technology provides the hands-on experience required for a job in animal care, often as part of a team that includes veterinarians.
At Gaston College in Dallas, North Carolina, students can earn an associate degree in veterinary technology in just a year and a half. The program includes 60 credit hours of classroom instruction and clinical practice.
The first half of the program covers the basics of animal health care, including anatomy and physiology, disease prevention, and medical and surgical nursing care. The second half focuses on hands-on experience, with three weeks in an animal hospital and two weeks working with a small animal veterinarian in the community.
Gaston College's program is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), which means that it meets the association's high standards for quality and integrity.
Nash Community College
Veterinary technicians perform many of the same tasks as their physician counterparts. They conduct health exams, take X-rays, perform laboratory tests, and dispense medications. They also provide instruction and support to pet owners.
But unlike veterinarians, veterinary technicians typically do not dispense advice regarding pet care or make diagnoses. Instead, they report their findings to the veterinarians with whom they work.
That distinction is crucial, as it makes the two-year associate degree in veterinary technology offered by Nash Community College a perfect choice for those looking to enter the profession.
Throughout the Nash curriculum, students learn the basics of animal health, including animal anatomy and physiology, animal nutrition, and animal health care.
In addition, students gain hands-on experience working with animals, learning how to perform basic medical procedures, such as drawing blood and collecting urine samples.
By the end of their program, students are ready to sit for the Veterinary Technology National Exam, which is administered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards. If they pass, they'll be one step closer to their dream job as a veterinary technician.
Miller-Motte College - Raleigh
The Miller-Motte College of Veterinary Medicine is a public institution affiliated with North Carolina State University. It was founded in 1966 and is the second oldest veterinary school in the country.
The school is located on the NC State campus in Raleigh, which allows students to get hands-on experience at the nearby Animal Health Center as part of their curriculum.
Students also have opportunities to work with the Veterinary Medical Center of Central North Carolina, located in Research Triangle Park. The Center is a leader in veterinary medical and diagnostic services for companion animals and farm animals.
The school is particularly proud of its small class sizes, with an average of only 16 students per class. This allows instructors to get to know each student personally and provide more personalized instruction.
Miller-Motte graduates go on to work in a variety of capacities, including in small animal and large animal practices, pharmaceutical companies, government agencies, and research centers.