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Veterinary Technology

FAQ

FAQ

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WHICH PROGRAM, THE A.S. DEGREE OR CERTIFICATE SHOULD THE STUDENT ENROLL IN?

There are two programs, one an A.S. degree and the other a certificate program. The certificate is only appropriate for those with extensive (3 years) qualifying previous experience in the field. For most, the A.S. will be needed in order to sit for the registration exam. Students completing the certificate program may not be eligible to sit for licensing exams outside of California without additional classes.

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HOW LONG WILL THE PROGRAM TAKE TO COMPLETE?

The actual Veterinary Technology Program is a 2 year program. However, considering the length of time that it could take a student to complete the necessary prerequisite classes, it could take up to three years to complete their entire education. Some students have elected to go to school part time, therefore taking considerably longer.

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ARE THERE ANY LIMITATIONS (day, evening, part-time) AS TO HOW OR WHEN STUDENTS CAN COMPLETE THIS PROGRAM?

Yes. This program is day time only and on a strict schedule in terms of course offerings. VT courses are offered only once per year during the Spring or Fall semester. Beginning students who enter the program do so only once per year in the fall.

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WHAT OPPORTUNITIES ARE THERE FOR OBTAINING CREDIT FOR OTHER TRAINING (military, private vocational schools, apprenticeship, etc.) OR SUBSTITUTING WORK EXPERIENCE FOR MAJOR REQUIREMENTS?

Program Director, Dr. Impinna said that it is “possible”. In order to consider any substitutions, the student should contact the liaison counselor or the Counseling Department to discuss the Substitution/Waiver process.

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WHAT ARE THE APPROXIMATE COSTS OF OBTAINING AN AS DEGREE IN VETERINARY TECHNOLOGY?
Approximate costs
Total Units Unit Costs Est Book Costs Misc Costs Total AS Degree Costs
81 $3,726 $3,125 $500 $7,351

 

ARE THERE ANY COSTS BEYOND ENROLLMENT FEES AND TEXT BOOKS FOR THINGS SUCH AS UNIFORMS, MATERIAL AND LAB FEES, INSURANCE, TOOLS, ETC.?

Yes. The student would need to purchase a set of “scrubs”. A wristwatch with a second hand and a stethoscope are required. Students will also need to purchase personal protective equipment such as goggles, and disposable  latex or nitrile gloves, microscope slides and cover slips for use during labs.

Approximate costs for above items beyond enrollment fees
Scrubs $20.00-$30.00
Lab supplies and protective equipment $30.00-$50.00
Stethoscope (depending on quality desired) $20.00-$110.00
Watch $10.00+

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WHAT TEACHING FORMATS SUCH AS ONLINE, TELEVISED, LECTURE AND LABORATORY ARE USED TO DELIVER INSTRUCTION?

All classes are now web-enhanced and use the D2L system. None are televised and, of course, there is a lot of laboratory.

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WHAT ARE THE INSTRUCTIONAL FACILITIES (classrooms, labs, etc?) LIKE?

The classrooms are multimedia capable and the clinical facilities offer cadavers for anatomical dissection, skeletons, and models. We have the ability to do lab screenings, surgeries and radiology. We maintain a colony of dogs and cats which are vaccinated and neutered in our labs. (Surgery is done only by the Veterinarian!) At the end of the year the dogs and cats are adopted out to new homes. Having the animals here provides ample opportunity for students to learn the required healthcare procedures. Our students also get experience with dental care, radiology, clinical pathology, exotic and lab animal nursing, and large animal nursing.

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WHAT GENERAL SKILL LEVELS (English, math and computer) ARE RECOMMENDED FOR ENTRY-LEVEL COURSEWORK AND TO PROGRESS SATISFACTORILY?

These students must be good science students to make it through the prerequisites and the program itself. Basic web skills will be useful also. Students should also be at an intermediate algebra level because of the pharmacology calculations they must do on a daily basis. the Prerequisites for entry to the Veterinary Technician Program are Biology 400, Biology 440, and Chemistry 305. Students from outside the Los Rios Community College system should check with their counselors to ensure their courses fulfill these requirements.

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WHAT ARE COMMON ADVISING ISSUES IN THIS PROGRAM THAT COUNSELORS SHOULD KNOW ABOUT?

Monica Cranston, the Vet Tech counselor currently, suggests that we advise interested students to obtain “hands-on” experience before they enter the program. This will give them a much better understanding of what lies ahead for them. Given the amount of preparation needed to be eligible to enter the program, this is really a three year program. If students are completing the AS program and are missing anything, even 1 unit of PE towards the degree, they will not be eligible to sit for the exam until the degree is completed.

Many of our Vet Technology students come from out of the area to attend and many are parents, so warn them of the strenuous nature of this program. The workload is equivalent to that of a nursing curriculum. In addition to the prerequisite coursework, it's suggested that they get their GE done before beginning the major so that they can concentrate on it. The Vet Tech course-work is so intense that the student will find it difficult to work more than 15 to 20 hours per week.

Remember that this is not “pre-vet” education so clarify this point to the student when you question them regarding their long-term career plans. Should they decide to go this route, it will take them an extra 2 to three years at least to get their BS degree, because the VT courses are not transferable.

Be aware that the certificate is only for those with three years of verifiable experience. Most students will pursue the degree to access registration in California.

Currency of the Biology knowledge can be an issue as those with weak Biology knowledge will likely struggle to pass the advanced classes such as VT 122, Animal Disease and Pathology.

Students should not be sent to the instructor for permission to enter the program. They apply for admission and the Vet Tech counselor helps to screen them. Students who have been screened into the program will be given permission numbers which allow them to register.

The Work Experience units required for the major will also fulfill part of the Living Skills requirement.

***ALERT*** Prospective students should check with their counselors/advisors regarding prerequisites.  For entry to the fall class of 2018, the prerequisites for the Veterinary Technology Program are the following courses: Biology 400, Biology 440, and Chemistry 305.

After admission, the student must get a “C” in each course to progress. Since the courses are on a strict annual rotation, failure to earn a “C” will put them out of sequence for an entire year. Back to top

 

WHAT IS THE NATURE OF ANY REQUIRED PRACTICUM OR FIELD EXPERIENCE IN THIS PROGRAM?

How many hours and during what part of the day is this?
They earn up to 4 units for the internship and it is a minimum of 300 hours of work experience (most get considerably more hours).

Does the college or program find the site for the student?
The students normally develop their own placements and these are primarily at private vet hospitals. Some have done theirs at UCD. Almost any site is suitable provided that there is a licensed veterinarian on staff.

Is there a cost associated with the field experience?
Only if the student does not have a uniform. They must pay the Work Experience tuition costs and attend the WE class.

Mandatory “kennel” time
Each student must put in  approximately four days per month caring for the animals in the kennels. Students rotate responsibility for caring for the colony animals which include, rabbits, guinea pigs, reptiles, birds, and rodents in addition to the dogs and cats. They may be scheduled as often as twice weekly to three times a month depending on the class size. Each shift is about 2 hours long and can be as early as 6-8 am or 3-6 pm. The animals must be fed twice daily 7 days/week and must be cared for during the semester break. All continuing students are scheduled to work caring for the animals over break. In addition, some of our animals are "foster cared" for by students over the summer break, returning to us in the fall.

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WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE TO BE A STUDENT IN THIS PROGRAM?

What is the classroom culture like and the interactions between students?
Since the Vet Tech students move through as a cohort, they develop strong camaraderie. They work in groups all the time and learn to get along as a team and multi-task. The clinical classes are very practical and hands-on. Our students get a great deal of practice doing important procedures such as the lab that I witnessed where they were learning to count white blood cells. The comments that rolled around the room went like this:

Student: “Am I doing something wrong?” (heard several times)
Dr. Impinna or Cheryl Buch: “Make a hole in the top of the reservoir…there, turn the tube (full of blood) on its’ side…now, wiggle the pipette and it will stop by itself.”
Student: “Hah, I got it!”
Dr. Impinna: “In a ten minute time, you should be doing a cbc.”

The Veterinary Technician needs to be able to do many types of clinical pathology tests for their Veterinarian or to verify or check outside lab results. It will be done while trying to balance all of the other things that the Tech does in a day so they need to be skilled at it. Veterinarians are surprised to learn the extent of the clinical experience that our students are getting.

Who are our Vet Tech students?
Roughly 50% already have their B.A. or B.S. degrees! Many of them travel from out of the Sacramento area to attend the program. It is a heavily female student body and many are married and balancing work and family responsibilities with the program.

What is the nature of the relationships between between the students and professors?
Dr. Impinna says that the learning experience at CRC is considerably more "hands-on" than at many other schools, due to our emphasis on laboratory learning and the presence of our animal colony. Many of our instructors have an extensive veterinary practice background, so they can bring a strong practicality to the labs. Instructors use a lot of demonstrations and provides practical tips. Cheryl Buch, the teaching assistant, and an RVT, has worked in a wide variety of areas in the veterinary community including shelter medicine, research, avian and exotic medicine as well as traditional dog and cat medicine. She has also worked in the ICU at the UC Davis Vet Med Teaching Hospital, so brings a lot of experience to share with the students.

Our highly skilled adjunct faculty come to us with a variety of interests and specialties such as infectious diseases, pathology, large animal medicine, and laboratory animal and caged birds medicine. The program also works with the UCD Veterinary program to provide experience with large animals.

What do students have to say about this program?
Students are amazed at the amount of knowledge they acquire in the program. They are frequently able to compare their training to that of other technicians trained in other programs or to assistants who were trained on the job. The level of knowledge they have far exceeds that of other assistants. Other programs do not offer the degree of hands-on learning that is offered here so our students are better prepared to begin work in the “real world”.

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ARE THERE ANY SPECIAL CERTIFICATION EXAMS THAT GRADUATES MUST OR CAN TAKE?

Veterinary Assistants do not need to be registered but only registered technicians can do the full array of procedures so registration is highly desirable. Only graduates with an A.S. degree (or qualified certificate holders) in Veterinary Technology can sit for the registration exam. Our students are well schooled to pass the exam offered by the state board(see exam pass rate statistic at the end of these FAQ's), or visit: http://www.vmb.ca.gov/applicants/schedule.shtml.

Are there costs associated with these?
The cost is $300.00 for the California State Veterinary Technician exam, and candidates must be fingerprinted so must pay those costs as well. Fingerprinting costs vary between counties. Applicants must also take the National Veterinary Technician Exam (VTNE). The cost is $310.00 for the exam.

Are there any physical or legal limitations (immigration status, felony or misdemeanor convictions, etc.) to licensing?
Felony convictions require a review. Prospective students should check with the California State Veterinary Medical board should there be any question as to eligibility prior to taking Veterinary Technician courses.

How well do CRC graduates do on these exams?
CRC graduates average from 75% to100% pass rate from year to year. Since 2013, the data from testing administrators indicate a passing percentage above 90% for  both the national examination and California State Technician exams.

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ARE THERE ANY SPECIAL SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE TO STUDENTS IN THIS PROGRAM?

Yes. There are about six to eight per year. Available scholarships can be researched using the CRC website.

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WHAT IS THE THREE YEAR PASS RATE FOR THE VETERINARY TECHNICIAN NATIONAL EXAMINATION (VTNE) FOR COSUMNES RIVER COLLEGE GRADUATES?
The following data includes administration dates from 3 calendar years.

 

 

Total July 1, 2013 – June 30, 2016

Number of first-time candidates that have taken the VTNE

41

Number of eligible first-time candidates*

56

Three-year pass rate on the VTNE

92.4%

*Not all eligible candidates may have taken the VTNE because the test was not a California requirement prior to 2014.

 

WHAT IS THE TWO YEAR PASS RATE FOR THE STATE VETERINARY TECHNICIAN EXAM?

Pass rate of first-time candidates between January 1, 2015 to Dec 31, 2016 that have taken the State RVT exam

Cosumnes River college                                      90.5%

 

 
All California candidates                                     82.5%  
   

 

WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR REGISTRATION AS A REGISTERED VETERINARY TECHNICIAN?

     The requirements for becoming a veterinary technician in the State of California are established by the State of California and regulated by the California Veterinary Medical Board. The following link is to the actual application for the Veterinary Technician examination and explains the required documentation for both the approved school pathway and the alternate route pathway to being able to take the state examination and thus obtain registration.   

http://www.vmb.ca.gov/forms_pubs/rvt_initial_exam_approved.pdf

 

 

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