The MSU College of Veterinary Medicine’s Veterinary Technology Program has come a long way in 50 years, and earned MSU a third-place ranking for undergraduate veterinary programs across the United States. In the past 3 years, the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) passing rate has been 98 percent. Graduates of the program are employed in private veterinary hospitals, shelter medicine facilities, bio-medical research laboratories, and industry and government positions, as well as practice management roles and veterinary education appointments.
MSU’s Program offers two veterinary technology degree options: a Certificate of Completion in Veterinary Technology and a Bachelor of Science degree in Veterinary Technology. Key components of courses focus on anatomy, physiology, nutrition, animal diseases, veterinary nursing, and laboratory procedures. Students enhance the knowledge they gain from their courses through clinical application of nursing and technical skills at the MSU Veterinary Medical Center during the final phases of the Program.
More details about the Program can be found online. Another great way to learn more about the Program is from current students.
What are students saying?
Meet second-year students Caroline Ko and Caitlin DeGross; and third-year clinical students Morgan Darter, Nikita Smith, and Ali Smith, all pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Technology at MSU.
Why a vet tech?
I’ve always wanted to help animals and I decided to be a vet tech because they do everything. From customer service and husbandry to anesthetizing, taking radiographs, and everything in between—it is the coolest job ever. Plus, you get to hold puppies and kittens.
Why MSU? The Family Atmosphere
Caroline: The class is pretty small, usually fewer than 30 students, which makes it a friendlier and more family-like environment. Every student is willing to help one another and encourage each other along the way. Being surrounded by people who have the same ambition and passion as I do gives me motivation and encouragement to do better academically.
Morgan: It isn’t often that you get to have all your classes with the same group of people. It creates a tight-knit group, people who are there to study with, spend time with, and there just to provide mutual support as we all go through similar things.
Caitlin: Being a student in the tech program is like going to school with your family. We are constantly joking around and laughing. I love coming to class because I love all my classmates and my teachers. We all want each other to succeed, so we are constantly helping each other. I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to spend all my time with.
Why a vet tech?
I chose to pursue veterinary technology because after shadowing veterinarians and vet techs at a clinic for one of my senior classes in high school, I realized how much vet techs do for the veterinary medical team and the amount of contact they have with animals. I just loved that aspect of the field and I wanted to make that into my career.
Why MSU? The Teachers
Morgan: We are so lucky to have such a great group of supportive teachers who are so dedicated to cultivating the next generation of techs.
Caroline: The professors are by your side every step of the way. They provide great support and want you to succeed in every aspect of your life. The professors are always trying to make the program better for the students and are there to help you if anything goes haywire. When you are struggling through classes, it really is great to have a support system.
Ali: The teachers really are what make the program so amazing. We spend three years, day in and day out, with these wonderful teachers who share their passion for veterinary medicine with us by teaching us what they know and encouraging us to push ourselves further than we thought we could ever go.
Caitlin: They make learning effortless and fun. They have the best personalities and the best methods of teaching. All the techniques we learn in class, we are immediately applying in the lab. At times, doing new skills can be scary, but the teachers are so good at being calm and explaining things clearly. This semester we started working with the dairy cows; I have never been around a cow, so I was terrified to work with them. My teachers Jolynne Judge and Kristi Sneed were always helping me, going through the procedures with me before I performed them and correcting me if I made a mistake. Being in this program has taught me to face my fears and do things that make me uncomfortable. I’ve learned so much about myself and what I’m capable of. I’ll always be grateful for the confidence I gained from this program.
Why a vet tech?
For the longest time, I thought becoming a veterinarian was the only way for me to help animals. After facing obstacles that made me lose my confidence in getting accepted to veterinary medical school, I decided to start working at an animal hospital. Shortly after I started working, I saw what veterinary technicians’ jobs entailed; that’s when I fell in love with the profession. I just knew it was the path for me to do what I have always wanted.
Why MSU? The Hands-On Experience
Caitlin: Learning about all the rotational options available to me in the MSU Veterinary Medical Center, a teaching hospital, and the unique curriculum with hands-on experience with live animals really sold me on applying to MSU.
Caroline: This program provides you with a lot of hands-on experience, which also is a plus when it comes to this profession. As a student, it’s pretty rewarding to be able to gain all this knowledge and then be able to use it in my everyday life.
Ali: My favorite part of the past two-and-a-half years of my life would have to be finally hitting the clinic floor in my third year. I never thought I’d be drawing blood from the tails of cows or taking endoscopy-guided biopsies of a GI tract. I have been exposed to so much in a very short span of time, and every day I go in excited to see what the day will bring.
Morgan: MSU’s program is unique in that it is one of only a few schools with a four-year vet tech program and a vet school. I knew I wanted a four-year degree, and I knew having a hospital and vet school on campus would allow for more valuable hands-on experience and training.
Nikita: The live animal labs and going to the farms were the highlights of the program for me. I’m very much a hands-on learner, so getting up close and personal with the animals, doing a physical exam, or practicing how to draw blood from the jugular vein were very beneficial. I feel I gained a lot of the skills I use today from the labs and getting to practice.
Why a vet tech?
The more I am immersed in veterinary nursing, the more I love it. To be able to take on so many roles, such as anesthetist, phlebotomist, dental hygienist, lab technician, surgical assistant, client educator, grief counselor, behaviorist—there is no job like it. I am looking forward to going to work every day and being able to provide exceptional care to clients and patients. No day will ever be exactly the same, but I know every day, I will be making lives better for people and animals and doing what I love
The Most Important Lesson I Learned at MSU
Caroline: Knowledge is power. With the knowledge I have gained from this program, I will be able to save and help the animals that cross my path.
Ali: Have patience. I learned to be patient with myself when I was learning a new idea or practicing a new skill. Patience with those around me, whether it be a client, another student, or one of the clinicians—we all have the same goal. And patience with our patients. The vet is a scary place, and if we just slow down our day-to-day, we can make sure these animals have good experiences with us.
Nikita: The patient is always the number one priority. As a vet tech, you need to assess the whole patient and not just the chief complaint because you could miss something very important that could lead to a quicker diagnosis. We as caretakers and patient advocates need to pay attention to the animals, as they cannot tell us they are in pain or don’t feel good, so we must know how to keep that patient comfortable.
Morgan: As vet techs, we are the patient’s advocate. Techs are there to make sure everything being done is in the best interest of the pet. Techs are the ones who notice the little things, whether they seem important or not. It could include all sorts of things: client education, double confirming dosages, checking to make sure wraps aren’t too tight, getting extra blankets for warmth, and padding for arthritic patients—little things that can make a huge difference in a patient’s experience.
Caitlin: What we vet techs do isn’t about us. Everything we do is for the animals and for the owners who love them. Sometimes I go home, and I really do not want to study or do homework, but I remember that learning as much as I can might save a little, fluffy, white dog’s life one day. I want to be the best tech I can be, so I continue to remind myself that all this work is for the pets. We work our butts off for them. We can never forget that.
Why a vet tech?
When I started college, I planned on attending MSU for a degree in zoology, but after working at the Capital Area Humane Society for four years, I fell in love with veterinary medicine and decided I wanted to be like the technicians at the shelter.