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 get a seat in the program?

Each fall, the program starts with maximum of 48 students in the on-campus, and 24 students in the hybrid Certificate of Achievement in Veterinary Assisting (VETA or first year) prior to starting the Associate in Science in Veterinary Technology (VETT or second year). For application and admissions into 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
  • Place into ENG 100 and MATH 101 – see ACCUPLACER EXAM.
  • 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: This program is designed to provide students with the basic knowledge and skills required to perform effectively as an assistant in a veterinary practice, animal shelter, or animal research facility. This is the first year of the Associate in Science in Veterinary Technology (VETT) program, and completion of the Certificate of Achievement in Veterinary Assisting (VETA) is required prior to continuing on to 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: This is the second step in the Associate in Science, seats are limited and it is a competitive process to get in. The VETT program combines classroom or online instruction with intensive hands-on laboratory and practical experience using live animals in a clinical setting. Students enrolled in the program will receive training in pharmacology, radiology, anesthesiology, surgical assisting, dentistry and more. Students will 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), and graduates of the program are eligible to sit for 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): 

The term veterinary assistant is applied to individuals who work in the veterinary clinic but lack an AVMA certification. These individuals may receive only on-the-job training or have attended a 1-2 semester 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 a 2-year AVMA accredited Veterinary Technology 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 their own regulatory board, with a specific process to become credentialed as a veterinary technician. Please see the Association of Veterinary State Boards Directory to find any state’s regulatory board site.

To see the requirements to become a Registered Veterinary Technician in Hawaii, 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 Vet Tech National Exam
  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 technicians?

Both the Veterinary Assisting and Veterinary Technology programs are designed to enable graduates to obtain a position as an animal care specialist in a veterinary facility or animal shelter. Veterinary technology is among the top five fastest-growing occupations nationwide, with employment in the field expected to grow 19% in the next seven years. 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. 

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

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

If you are interested in enrolling 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 and you cannot declare a vet assisting major without it.. Upon completion of the information session, you will be given a form allowing you to declare a major in Veterinary Assisting and register for program classes. For additional information on the program, you may email vettech@hawaii.edu or contact the Counseling and Advising Office for further information.

For the Hybrid program, please contact hybridvt@hawaii.edu

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How long does the program take?

On-campus students can expect to complete the Veterinary Assisting Program in two semesters. After completion of Vet Assisting, students continuing on to the Veterinary Technology Program will have three more semesters of coursework, including a summer semester. The actual time it takes you to complete the certificate will depend on class availability and the number of preparatory classes you are required to take.

Hybrid students can expect to complete the Veterinary Assisting Program in three semesters, including a summer. After completion of Vet Assisting, students moving on to the Veterinary Technology Program will have five more semesters of coursework, including a summer semester. The actual time it takes you to complete the certificate will depend on class availability and the number of preparatory classes you are required to take.

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

The Veterinary Assisting Program may be completed on a part-time basis, however, be aware that program courses are not offered all semesters. As a result, it may take several semesters to complete the program on a part-time basis. In contrast, students enrolled in the Veterinary Technology Program must be enrolled on a full-time basis.

Hybrid students are on a part-time course schedule, and 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): $4,016
  • Associates of Science in Veterinary Technology (42 credits): $5,502.

Semester Fees: 

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

Other:

Please see current tuition schedule online for subsequent years. All fees listed above are estimated and maybe subject to change by the University. Textbook costs may vary depending on if they are used or new. 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 Program without first completing the Certificate of Achievement in Veterinary Assisting?

No. The Certificate of Achievement in Veterinary Assisting (VETA) and Associates in Science in Veterinary Technology (VETT) are stackable credentials.  The Veterinary Assisting Program comprises the first two semesters of the Veterinary Technology degree. Students enrolled in the VETA program can apply to the VETT program during the Spring semester. Admission to the VETT is competitive. Acceptance is based on GPA, clinical aptitude, and other factors. Prospective students with credits to transfer from another veterinary technology program should contact a counselor for 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 certificate can also be applied towards the AA degree. 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, you should fill out the following form contact the Office of Academic Advising to see which ones will transfer. Most of the core classes (those with ANSC) were specifically designed for the Veterinary Assisting and Veterinary Technology Programs. This includes MATH 101. As such, these classes must be taken through WCC.

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Is financial aid available?

Yes. Students enrolled in the both the A.S. and certificate classes 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.

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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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