When it comes to the best states for future veterinarians, most people probably don’t think of Iowa.
But, in fact, the Hawkeye State is home to several veterinary schools and programs, which supply the state with some of the best veterinarians in the country.
These schools offer a wide range of options for future veterinarians, from associate’s degrees to two-year programs to certificate programs.
They also supply students with the knowledge and hands-on experience needed to enter the field.
Here are the best veterinary schools in Iowa.
Iowa Lakes Community College
At Iowa Lakes Community College, students can earn a two-year associate's degree in animal science. A variety of classes focused on the biological, agricultural, and management aspects of animal care and production make up the curriculum.
Students gain hands-on experience in the animal care industry through several internship and practicum opportunities. ILCA's animal science program partners with area businesses, including pet stores, stables, and livestock production facilities, to provide students with a valuable perspective on the profession.
Students can also gain knowledge through international study opportunities. ILCA's exchange program with the University of Applied Sciences in Furtwangen, Germany, allows students to study animal science in either location for a semester.
Another program, the International Farm and Animal Production Studies Program, takes students to three European countries for a five-month experience. The trip begins with a two-month study abroad experience in Denmark, Sweden, or England. Students then travel to Germany and Ireland to visit farms and animal facilities, as well as take courses taught in those countries.
Eastern Iowa Community College
Eastern Iowa Community College is part of the Iowa Community College System, the second largest community college system in the nation.
EICC boasts a wide range of associate degree and certificate options for future veterinarians.
The program requires students to complete two years of study in animal science, with four additional classes in related subjects, such as veterinary technology and animal health.
Students also gain hands-on experience through an internship with an animal health care facility, which they arrange independently.
Additionally, EICC encourages students to attend veterinary conferences and national gatherings to network with professionals in the field.
The school partners with the Linn County Animal Hospital to provide students with hands-on experience and training.
The hospital offers wellness care, surgery, diagnostic imaging, and other services to the community.
Students gain experience working with large and small animals while gaining access to diagnostic imaging and surgery equipment.
Des Moines Area Community College
Veterinary technology is a popular choice for those looking to enter the healthcare profession while remaining in close proximity to family and friends.
That's why Des Moines Area Community College is proud to offer a veterinary technology associate degree.
Through this program, students gain the knowledge and hands-on experience needed to enter the profession.
After completing the associate degree, students can go on to earn a certificate in veterinary technology from the University of Minnesota, which DMACC partners with.
The associate degree requires that students complete 64 credit hours in general education and 18 credit hours in veterinary technology.
Through the latter, students gain knowledge in anatomy, physiology, pathology, medicine, surgery, and more.
They also gain hands-on experience through three weeks of clinical rotations in hospitals, where they work with veterinarians and gain experience working with various animals.
Students also have the option to complete a veterinary technology certificate, which requires that they complete 32 credit hours.
Kirkwood Community College
Veterinary technology students learn a great deal in the classroom and in the clinic as they prepare to advance in their career. Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids offers students that opportunity as they learn the basics necessary to care for animals.
KCC offers three different associate degree programs in veterinary technology, one that takes two years and two that take four years. Students in the two-year program complete around 60 credits in the veterinary technology program and around 30 in general education courses. Those in the four-year programs complete around 90 credits in the veterinary technology program and around 30 in general education courses.
In addition to the required courses, students also have the opportunity to take specialized courses that focus on various aspects of animal care. Courses in the two-year program include animal handling and restraint, animal first aid, and animal health and pathology. Those in the four-year programs add courses such as equine anatomy and physiology and nutrition and disease.
As an extension of the college's veterinary technology program, KCC also offers a veterinary technology internship. The program allows students to gain hands-on experience working in an animal care facility as they get supervised by instructors.
Iowa Western Community College
Iowa Western Community College is part of the nationwide Hawkeye Community College District, and it's located in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The school has an impressive veterinary technician program that can be completed in about a year.
To earn an associate of applied science degree in veterinary technology, students at Iowa Western Community College take about a year to complete 64 credit hours in the subject.
These credit hours are divided between core courses, including animal science, anatomy, physiology, and pathology, and more specialized courses in veterinary technology.
Students also gain hands-on experience in the veterinary technology program by completing an internship with an approved institution.
The Council Bluffs school also offers more focused training in a handful of other associate of applied science degrees, including production agriculture, animal care technician, and horsemanship technician.
These more focused degrees require students to complete fewer general education credit hours, which leaves more time for focused coursework in their area of interest.
Western Iowa Tech Community College
At Western Iowa Tech Community College, students can earn a two-year associate degree in veterinary technology. The program is offered at the school's Sioux City campus and includes coursework, laboratory and clinical experience, and supervised patient care.
Students learn how to administer care to a wide range of animal patients, including dogs, cats, horses, cattle, birds, and reptiles. They also gain knowledge about animal health, including how to administer medications and care for animals within the veterinary practice setting.
In addition, students at Western Iowa Tech Community College can participate in extracurricular activities, such as the veterinary technology club. The group supports student participation in national and state veterinary technology conferences and hosts community outreach events.
To further prepare for a career in veterinary medicine, students can also join the veterinary medical assistant club. Members network with one another and participate in community outreach events, such as pet expos. The group also hosts educational presentations to spread the word about the benefits of veterinary medicine and the role of a veterinary medical assistant.
Northeast Iowa Community College - Calmar
As one of the few community colleges on this list, Northeast Iowa Community College might seem an unlikely choice for a school that produces some of the state's best veterinarians.
But that's not the only reason to be skeptical. After all, Iowa is not known as a hub of innovative veterinary medicine.
However, that's exactly why NEICC is the perfect choice for anyone who wants to make a name for themselves outside of the usual hotspots.
The school's Animal Health Technology program offers three options for aspiring veterinarians, each of which takes two years to complete.
In addition to the standard animal health technology certificate, students can choose to study small animal veterinary technology or large animal veterinary technology.
No matter which option they choose, all NEICC programs share a common emphasis on hands-on experience, with every student getting at least 200 hours of experience working with animals.
These hours are supplemented by classroom learning, giving students the best of both worlds.
With this emphasis on practical experience, it's no surprise that NEICC has sent its students to some of the most prestigious veterinary schools in the country, including Iowa State University and the University of Minnesota.