1. How do I get a seat in the program?
  2. VETA and VETT – What is the difference?
  3. What is the difference between a veterinary assistant and veterinary technician?
  4. How do I become a credentialed veterinary technician? (RVT, CVT, LVT)
  5. What are the job prospects for veterinary assistants and technicians?
  6. Whom should I contact if I am interested in the program?
  7. How long does the program take?
  8. Is it possible to complete the program as a part-time student?
  9. How much does the program cost?
  10. Can I apply directly to the Veterinary Technology Program?
  11. Can I earn the Veterinary Assisting Certificate and an Associate’s in Art (AA) degree at the same time?
  12. Can I transfer classes taken at other institutions?
  13. Is financial aid available?
  14. How much do veterinary assistants and technicians make?
  15. Will this program prepare me for vet school?

How do I enroll in the program?

Each fall the Certificate of Achievement in Veterinary Assisting (VETA or first year) starts with a maximum of 48 students on-campus and 24 students in the hybrid option. Prior to starting the Associate in Science in Veterinary Technology (VETT) or second year) students must earn the vet assisting certificate. For application and admissions into the first year (VETA) students must:

  • Be 18 years or older by the first day of instruction
  • Attend an information session (Hybrid students watch a video)
  • Submit an application to Windward Community College and complete health clearance requirements through Admissions & Records office
  • Place into ENG 100 and MATH 101
  • Show proof of health insurance

For application and admission into second year (VETT), students must apply in the Spring semester of Vet Assisting. These applications are available from instructors, and complete instructions will be given.

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VETA and VETT – What’s the difference?

VETA (Veterinary Assisting): 
The first year of the program is the Certificate of Achievement in Veterinary Assisting (VETA), designed to provide students with the basic knowledge and skills required to perform effectively as a vet assistant in the veterinary field. Students must complete all VETA courses and go through a competitive application process to be accepted into the second year. The two-semester (three semesters in Hybrid) program includes coursework in the physical and life sciences, veterinary office procedures, laboratory techniques, mathematics, animal nutrition, as well as hands-on experience through a companion animal nursing course. 

VETT (Veterinary Technician): 
The second year Associate in Science degree in Veterinary Technology (VETT) prepares students for the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) to become a credentialed vet tech. This three-semester program includes Summer, Fall, and Spring semesters.

The VETT program combines classroom or online instruction with intensive hands-on laboratory and practical experience using live animals in a clinical setting. Students receive training in pharmacology, radiology, anesthesiology, surgical assisting, dentistry, and more. Students also complete a total of 240 hours of internship in an assigned veterinary facility. The VETT program is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Graduates of the program are eligible to take the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) through the American Association of Veterinary State Boards.

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What is the difference between a veterinary assistant and veterinary technician?

Per the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA): 

veterinary assistant works in the veterinary care setting but lacks an AVMA certification. These individuals may only have on-the-job training or attended a veterinary assisting program. The duties of a veterinary assistant may vary widely from practice to practice but include assisting the veterinarian with physical exams and performing routine laboratory tests.

veterinary technician is a graduate of an AVMA-accredited veterinary technology degree program. Veterinary technicians are trained to assist the veterinarian in various tasks including surgical procedures, anesthesiology, radiology (taking and developing x rays) surgical nursing, and dental prophylaxis. Most states require veterinary technicians to pass a credentialing exam in order to gain licensure or certification. In addition, some states require that certain tasks (e.g., administration of anesthesia) be performed only by credentialed technicians or veterinarians. 

For more information on veterinary technicians and assistants, please see the AVMA Veterinary Technicians Brochure (pdf).

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How do I become a credentialed veterinary technician? (RVT, CVT, LVT)

Each state has its own regulatory board, with a specific process to become credentialed as a veterinary technician. Please see the Association of Veterinary State Boards Directory to search for contact information for each state.

For the Hawai‘i requirements to become a Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT), see the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs site.

To outline the process in very basic steps:

  1. Graduate from an AVMA-accredited vet tech program, like this one
  2. Apply for, and pass, the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE)
  3. Follow the requirements of the state regulatory board where you plan to work

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What are the job prospects for veterinary assistants and veterinary technicians?

Veterinary technology is among the top five fastest-growing occupations nationwide, with employment in the field expected to grow 16% over the next ten years (Bureau of Labor Statistics). The nationwide shortage of skilled veterinary office personnel has been widely discussed in academic and trade journals and has received attention in the national media as one of its fastest-growing recession-proof jobs. Both the Veterinary Assisting and Veterinary Technology programs at Windward CC are designed to enable graduates to obtain a position as an animal care specialist in a veterinary facility or animal shelter, or other animal care provider.

News Watch Article: Opinion: A recession-proof industry you can count on: pet care.

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Who should I contact if I am interested in the program?

If you are interested in enrolling in the program, you should attend one of the monthly information sessions. This hour-long session will give you an overview of the program, curriculum, prerequisites, costs, and fees, etc. Attending the info session is mandatory to enter the program. Upon completion of the information session, you will be able to declare a major in Veterinary Assisting and register for program classes. For additional information and/or sign up for an info session, email vettech@hawaii.edu.

For the Hybrid program, email hybridvt@hawaii.edu

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How long does the program take?

The VETA certificate can be completed in two semesters as a full-time student (if starting in the fall semester). The actual time it takes to complete the certificate depends on semester entrance into the program completion of the required support courses. The VETT degree is three more semesters of coursework beginning in the summer semester.

Hybrid students can complete the VETA certificate in three semesters, including a summer. The actual time it takes to complete the certificate depends on semester entrance and completion of the required support courses. The VETT degree is five more semesters of coursework beginning in the fall semester.

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Is it possible to complete the program as a part-time student?

The VETA certificate can be completed while attending part-time. Some program courses are not offered every semester; it may take several semesters to complete the program on a part-time basis. Students enrolled in the VETT degree must be enrolled on a full-time basis.

The hybrid option is a part-time schedule and students are required to work a minimum of 20 hours per week under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian.

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How much does the program cost?

Tuition: $131 per credit (based on Fall 2020, resident tuition rates). The estimated cost of the veterinary studies programs for resident students:

  • Certificate of Achievement in Veterinary Assisting (31 credits): $4,061
  • Associate in Science in Veterinary Technology (42 credits): $5,502

Fees: 

  • $25 WCC student activity fee
  • VETA $100 each semester
  • VETT $300 each semester

Other:

  • Books $2,000 (estimate)
  • Uniforms $150–$200 (estimate)
  • VTNE credentialing exam $330
  • License in Hawai‘i (current RVT fees)

All fees listed above are estimated and may be subject to change by the University. Textbook costs vary depending on if they are new, used, or Open Educational Resources (OER). This program qualifies for Federal Financial Aid (FAFSA).

Financial Aid links:

For a list of current tuition and fees, please visit https://windward.hawaii.edu/tuition/

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Can I apply directly to the Veterinary Technology AS degree without first completing the Certificate of Achievement in Veterinary Assisting?

No. The Certificate of Achievement in Veterinary Assisting (VETA) and Associate in Science in Veterinary Technology (VETT) are stackable credentials. The VETA certificate comprises the first two semesters of the veterinary technology degree. Students enrolled in the VETA certificate can apply to the VETT degree during the Spring semester. Admission to the VETT degree is competitive. Acceptance is based on GPA, clinical aptitude, and other factors. Prospective students with credits to transfer should contact a counselor for a transcript evaluation.

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Can I earn the Veterinary Assisting Certificate and an Associate in Arts (AA) degree at the same time?

Yes. The majority of classes in the VETA certificate can also be applied towards the AA degree in liberal arts. Read more about the Associate in Arts degree.

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Can I transfer classes taken at other institutions?

Yes. Many of the general education classes (e.g., ENG 100, PSY 100, SP 151, HLTH 125, and Humanities elective) will transfer from UH campuses or other regionally accredited institutions. If you have credits from a non-UH campus, official transcripts must be sent directly to the Windward CC Admissions & Records office. The core classes (ANSC) were specifically designed for the Veterinary Assisting and Veterinary Technology programs, including MATH 101; these classes must be taken through Windward CC.

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Is financial aid available?

Yes. Students enrolled in both VETA and VETT courses can qualify for financial aid. Find out more about Financial_Aid at WCC.

There are multiple scholarships available for students in this program. It is easy to apply, and students who are not eligible for financial aid can still apply for scholarship funds. Learn more about these scholarships at https://uhsys.scholarships.ngwebsolutions.com. The Ho‘olei Scholarship for half tuition for one year is offered exclusively to Windward O‘ahu high school graduating seniors who are attending Windward CC in the fall semester of 2021.

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How much do veterinary assistants and technicians make?

Your hourly wage will depend on your training, level of experience and responsibilities within the clinic. Estimated average wages are as follows:

  • Vet Assistant Graduate: $11.00-$13.00
  • Vet Technician Graduate: $15 and higher

In general, veterinary technicians have the highest starting wage and greatest prospects for advancement within the practice. Many practices also select experienced technicians to serve as veterinary hospital managers. Their duties include hiring, training of new personnel, budgeting and inventory management. Practice managers can make $40,000-60,000 a year or more depending on experience and qualifications.

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Will this program prepare me for vet school?

Although the Certificate of Achievement in Veterinary Assisting and Associate in Science in Veterinary Technology are excellent preparation for working in the veterinary industry, they are not designed to prepare you for veterinary school. 

Students who wish to pursue a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) should contact the University of Hawaii Manoa Pre-Veterinary Medicine Program as well as prospective veterinary schools for individual admissions requirements. The University of Hawaii Manoa Pre-Veterinary Medicine Program includes information regarding preparation for veterinary school such as pre-veterinary advising, degree options, selecting coursework, how to apply for veterinary school admission, animal experience, financial considerations, tips for success, the pre-veterinary club, scholarships, resources and guides, and career opportunities as a veterinarian. In general, most veterinary schools require a 4-year B.S. or B.A. degree which should include specific prerequisite science and general education classes. UH Manoa and UH Hilo both offer pre-veterinary specializations as part of their B.S. programs. For more information, please visit these links.

Hawaii does not have a veterinary school, but fortunately Hawaii is a member of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education Professional Student Exchange Program (WICHE PSEP) which allows for a limited number of students to attend veterinary schools that are part of WICHE and pay in-state tuition. The veterinary schools that actively participate in the WICHE program are Washington State University, Oregon State University, and Colorado State University and Hawaii funds three students per year to attend these schools at in-state tuition rates. Students not selected by WICHE pay out-of-state tuition to these schools. Students that attend veterinary schools in non-WICHE states will pay out-of-state tuition. There are only 30 US veterinary schools and each has unique admission standards and requirements; therefore, students must consult information from each school they are planning to apply for admission. The American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) has on-line resources for all of the US accredited veterinary schools and provides information regarding the application process. The Pre-Veterinary Medicine Program at UH Manoa serves the entire UH System and encourages you to contact them for further information. Additionally, you can contact the UH Manoa Pre-Veterinary Medicine Program Advisor, Dr. Jenee Odani, at jsodani@hawaii.edu.

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