When most people think of veterinarians, they imagine someone who went to a four-year university, studied biology, and then passed a series of difficult exams to receive a doctorate degree.
But there are actually many different paths that can lead to a career in veterinary medicine.
In addition to traditional four-year programs, aspiring veterinarians can also enroll in associate degree programs, certificate programs, and continuing education programs.
In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 39% of veterinarians have a bachelor’s degree.
The remaining 61% of veterinarians have a professional degree, which can be achieved through a combination of education and work experience.
Veterinarians who obtain a professional degree can then work toward certification by the American College of Veterinary Medicine, which requires a combination of education and work experience.
Veterinary technicians, on the other hand, must complete a program approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association.
With so many options, it can be difficult to know which program is the best fit for aspiring veterinarians.
That’s where this list comes in.
Here, we’ll break down the best programs for aspiring veterinarians in Oregon. We’ll discuss the benefits of each program, along with its requirements and the courses that students can expect to take.
Portland Community College
For aspiring veterinarians looking to get their feet wet before diving into a bachelor's or associate degree program, Portland Community College has the option to enroll in the two-year Veterinary Technician program.
Taught by VMC faculty members who have extensive experience in the field, the program follows a lecture-and-lab format, with coursework covering topics such as animal anatomy and physiology, animal disease, and animal treatment.
Along with in-person classes, PCC students in the veterinary technician program also have access to the school's on-site veterinary technology lab, which contains seven stations equipped with various devices to train students on procedures such as blood collection, intravenous injections, and ultrasound scanning.
With a wide range of classes that can count toward either an associate degree or a transfer credit to a four-year university, PCC gives aspiring veterinarians the chance to explore the field while building a solid academic foundation.
Mt. Hood Community College
Veterinary technology programs are an excellent option for those who want to work in the veterinary field without having to complete a full four-year degree.
That's the case with the veterinary technology program at Mt. Hood Community College.
Housed in the college's Animal Technology Department, the program consists of two courses: one focused on animal anatomy and physiology, and the other on veterinary technology.
Students learn the basics of animal care, including how to care for animals in a clinical setting. They also gain hands-on experience working with various types of animals, including dogs, cats, horses, birds, and reptiles.
After completing the program, students receive a certificate of completion in veterinary technology.
Mt. Hood Community College also offers a number of animal care associate degrees, allowing students to expand their knowledge of veterinary medicine.
Central Oregon Community College
In the veterinary technician program at Central Oregon Community College, students learn in a classroom setting alongside animal patients. With an instructor and a team of mentors at their side, students gain hands-on experience and form relationships with the animals that they will one day care for.
COCC's veterinary technician associate degree requires 60 credits. In the first year, students take courses in animal science, including animal anatomy and physiology, pathology, and nutrition, as well as veterinary technology courses, such as animal handling and anatomy. In the second year, students move into clinical studies, in which they gain hands-on experience in animal care and treatment as part of a veterinary practice.
The college also offers an animal health technician certificate, which can be completed in as little as nine months. Along with animal anatomy and physiology and pathology, the program includes courses such as equine and small animal medicine and surgery. This more condensed program allows students to begin working as a technician sooner while they continue studying.
Treasure Valley Community College
Veterinary technology is a great choice for those interested in animals and wanting to make a difference in their care. But, because it is such a sought-after field, getting into the right program can be difficult. That's why Treasure Valley Community College is such a great choice.
At TCC, veterinary technology students take two years to gain the knowledge and experience they need to excel in their field. With their solid grasp of the material, in addition to the laboratory and clinical experience they've gained, students are well-positioned to apply to veterinary technology programs around the country.
The program begins with an introduction to the field, covering topics such as animal health, medical terminology, and animal anatomy and physiology. Students then move on to more advanced topics, including laboratory procedures, animal hospital practice, and animal surgery. Throughout the course of the program, students have the opportunity to use the equipment and facilities of the school's On-site Animal Hospital partners, including the Valley Veterinary Hospital and the Nampa Animal Hospital.
Thanks to its rigorous curriculum and its proximity to so many excellent veterinary programs, TCC has been recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association as a Blue Ribbon Institution.
Blue Mountain Community College
Veterinary technology is a booming field, with a projected 17% growth nationwide by 2026. The Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton, Oregon, is the first stop on the path to that exciting career for students in the state.
BMCC's two-year associate of applied science degree in veterinary technology has several requirements, but they're all designed to ensure students gain the experience necessary to succeed in the field.
The first is a minimum of 64 credits in core courses, which include chemistry, physiology, immunology, and microbiology. Those are the scientific foundations a veterinary technician needs to understand how animals and their diseases work.
Students also need to complete a minimum of 64 credits in clinical hours, working with veterinarians at their local hospitals and clinics. During these clinical hours, students gain the experience needed to understand how the profession works in reality, far from the classroom.
BMCC also offers a number of other courses helpful for future veterinarians, such as animal anatomy and physiology. These classes give students a deeper understanding of the animals they'll care for, allowing them to provide better quality services.
Carrington College - Portland
When it comes to selecting a career in veterinary medicine, students have many options. They can choose to attend a traditional four-year college or university, or they can opt for a less traditional option, such as an online program.
For those who want the support and resources of a larger school without moving too far from home, Carrington College has the answer.
A small, private college with campuses nationwide, Carrington has everything future veterinarians need to succeed in their chosen field.
At the core of the school's approach is its focus on student success. To that end, Carrington provides a wide range of resources to ensure that every student graduates with the skills and credentials they need.
Those resources include a student support team, which is available to every student to help with academic, financial, and personal concerns.
The team includes advisers, financial aid counselors, and student success coaches, all of whom are committed to helping students reach their goals.
Carrington also provides every student with the tools they need to succeed, including a state-of-the-art online library and virtual laboratories.
The library includes hundreds of books, videos, and other resources related to the field, while the virtual laboratories allow students to conduct simulated lab experiments using computer software.