Frequently Asked Questions
Veterinary technicians are in demand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook, the veterinary technician occupation has a 20% “much faster than average” projected nationwide job growth for the 2016-2026 year period. Visit our Vet Tech Job Outlook page for more information.
Bel-Rea’s Job Placement Director posts jobs for students and graduates along with job placement statistics, offers career fairs, and works with internship students and graduates so that they can receive calls from interested employers. Resume, cover letter, and interviewing skills are offered through the Office Management course and the Optimal Resume website. Free job placement assistance is available to all students and graduates, but there is no guarantee of job placement. Salary and competition will vary by location, so we do recommend that graduates actively search a wide variety of locations before deciding where they want to live and work.
The different credentials/titles for veterinary technicians are based on the laws for where you will be working as a credentialed veterinary technician. Graduation from an AVMA-accredited program like Bel-Rea’s qualifies you to take the board exams in any state that credentials veterinary technicians in the U.S., along with Canada and the United Kingdom. The title will vary based on the legislation, but your degree and the subsequent exams will qualify you to work as a veterinary technician in any of these locations. CVT = Certified Vet Tech, RVT = Registered, LVT = Licensed, AHT = Animal Health Tech, AN = Animal Nurse. Currently only four U.S. states do not offering credentialing for veterinary technicians, but two of the four are expected to start doing so in 2019.
Bel-Rea is one of the oldest and largest veterinary technology schools in the U.S. Since we have been offering training for those who want to help animals medically for over 40 years, we are recognized across the country by the industry. Bel-Rea was founded in 1971, has been fully accredited by both the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) since 1975, and has graduated over 6000 veterinary technician students.
Bel-Rea has over 40 Faculty, Administrative Staff, and Paid Animal Care Staff Members, all of whom have one focus: our veterinary technician training program. Find out more by visiting our Faculty and Campus pages.
Bel-Rea students receive well-rounded academic and practical training from the faculty, which gives them a solid foundation of knowledge for their board exams and to continue to build upon in the field. At Bel-Rea Institute, we believe the best way to learn is by doing. Along with classroom lectures, students train in on-campus labs and dental/surgical rotations, and at off-site animal facilities. Whether it’s preparing a cat for surgery or restraining a horse during an examination, Bel-Rea’s academic and hands-on learning techniques lead to confidence and a wide range of technical skills when our graduates go to work.
Bel-Rea students spend the last quarter of the program interning at one of our 200+ approved veterinary hospitals and facilities where they receive full-time, hands-on experience in an approved facility that matches their main interest areas.
We do not offer online classes since the majority of our courses involve a hands-on component. Our program is academic and laboratory-oriented, so our students can learn about the material in the classroom and then utilize that knowledge in an application setting. We also believe that much of the learning that takes place in the classroom goes beyond the technical, and is hard to teach without direct and consistent interaction with the faculty.
To obtain your Associate of Applied Science Degree in Veterinary Technology from Bel-Rea, you need to complete 125 credit hours, which includes your internship quarter. Bel-Rea’s standard, full-time program is 24 months long, although you can complete it in less time if some of your prior college coursework/military coursework/AP Exams are accepted for transfer credits. We encourage students to complete the program in 24 months so that they can enter the job market quickly, but students are allowed additional time to complete the program if needed.
At Bel-Rea Institute, we are dedicated to making our veterinary technician program affordable to students who need help paying for college. In fact, around 80-85% of our students receive some type of financial aid each year.
Federal Financial Aid and Veteran’s Benefits are available to those who qualify. Prospective students can apply for the three in-house Bel-Rea scholarships and out-of-state students qualify for the same tuition rate as in-state students. Please visit our Gainful Employment page for information on our low Cohort Default Rate.
Prospective students should speak to an Admissions Advisor before starting the financial aid application process.
Bel-Rea offers a variety of support services to students with disabilities. Assistance is based on type of disability and specific needs related to that disability. Please visit our Disabilities page for more information on disability accommodations, service dogs, and essential functions for veterinary technicians. Please provide disability documentation as early in your application process as possible to Bel-Rea’s Student Affairs Director so that she can share what would be available for you. Please review the essential functions list with your health care/support professionals to help determine your needs.
Bel-Rea requires applicants to have a minimum of a high school diploma or high school equivalency diploma/certificate. Applicants with a high school equivalency diploma or less than a 2.4 high school cumulative GPA, or those who attended high school outside of the United States, will need to pass an entrance exam for admission. For more information, please visit our Admissions Requirements page.
Bel-Rea evaluates official college transcripts from a previously attended accredited college or university, official military transcripts for coursework completed during military service, and official AP Classes/Exam Scores to assess if an applicant can waive any general education courses at Bel-Rea.
Bel-Rea also evaluates previous veterinary technician coursework from other AVMA-accredited veterinary technology training programs to assess if appropriate additional credit may be granted towards the required Bel-Rea course work. Bel-Rea will consider granting up to 50% of the required program credits.
Although Bel-Rea is one of the largest veterinary technician schools in the U.S., we only focus on one thing – offering students the opportunity to achieve their dream of becoming a veterinary technician. Bel-Rea has over 6000 graduates, but our entire student body ranges from 250-400 students at any given time. This size enables us to keep our classes and labs small so our students receive the best training possible. The average lecture class size at Bel-Rea Institute is between 30 and 50 students and our typical lab class size is 12-20 students. Non-animal involved lab classes of more than 12 students will have an assistant instructor or student teaching assistant as well as the instructor. Animal involved lab classes of more than 8 students will have an assistant instructor or student teaching assistant as well as the instructor.
Bel-Rea is on the quarter system, with terms starting four times per year – typically in January, March, June, and September. Quarters run in 10-week segments, plus finals, with four breaks per year, one between each quarter. These breaks are typically around two weeks long, with a longer break during the holiday season. Students typically attend classes year round but it is possible to take a quarter off annually if needed. Every class is offered every quarter.
Yes! Bel-Rea is authorized under federal law to enroll non-immigrant alien students (i.e. International students traveling to the U.S. temporarily to attend school). International students will need a M-1 Visa to study at Bel-Rea and are required by the government to keep a full-time class schedule throughout their education. www.ice.gov/sevis
The Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) is an exam administered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) to evaluate entry-level veterinary technicians’ competency to practice and to be credentialed. You qualify to take this exam with a degree from an AVMA-accredited veterinary technician program. Bel-Rea is fully accredited by the AVMA for training veterinary technicians.
Bel-Rea students receive coaching on how to prepare for both the VTNE and the comprehensive exam they take in the quarter before internship including review sessions, practice questions, available online/app review materials, and information on how to gain credentialing in various states. Bel-Rea students consistently perform better than the national average on the VTNE. More information is available on our Gainful Employment page.
The vast majority of job options for veterinary technicians do not require an additional degree. Less than 2% of Bel-Rea graduates each year choose to immediately pursue another degree when they graduate. Please consider carefully if more schooling is essential for your specific career path before committing your time and resources.
However, if you choose to go on for more schooling, the amount of credit one college will accept from another program will vary from school to school – from transferring in all the credits to accepting none of the credits. It depends on the type of program you are entering, the type of accreditation the school has, and whether it is public or private. The amount accepted is up to the other school – not Bel-Rea. The amount of transferrable credit may even vary from department to department.
If you are interested in another school, you can check with their Admissions Department and the specific program you are wanting to attend to find out what credits they will accept.
Please note that a degree in veterinary technology is not a stepping stone to doctorate programs in veterinary medicine. Both are great options, but if you are interested in going to vet school, please visit with doctoral programs as well as vet tech programs before making a decision on which is right for you. However, please note that veterinarians typically attend 8-10 years of school (compared to a standard 2 year vet tech degree) and veterinary technicians can perform all but four of the duties veterinarians can. Veterinary Technicians also tend to spend more time with the animal patients and less time on completing paperwork.
Currently, 16 national-level veterinary technician specialties are available for credentialed veterinary technicians to pursue while working on the job: Anesthesia & Analgesia, Behavior, Clinical Pathology, Clinical Practice (with subspecialties in Canine/Feline, Feline, Exotic Companion Animal, and Production Medicine), Dentistry, Dermatology, Diagnostic Imaging, Emergency & Critical Care, Equine, Internal Medicine (with subspecialties in Cardiology, Large Animal Medicine, Neurology, Oncology, and Internal Medicine), Laboratory Animal, Nutrition, Ophthalmology, Physical Rehabilitation, Surgery, and Zoology. Additional specialty options are being structured.
No additional degree is required, but graduates will typically complete a certain number of related work hours, case studies, continuing education coursework, and a board exam to earn a specialty.
Yes! If it is not covered by your health insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, or VA benefits plan, there is a patient assistance program that many students qualify for that provides the rabies pre-exposure vaccine series at a low cost. You can apply for the program in your second year at Bel-Rea. Military Veterans with benefits typically receive the series for free.
The Veterinary Medicine Field is one that is regulated by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and state regulatory or credentialing agencies. If you have a conviction or pending charges, please read Bel-Rea’s Criminal History Information and then contact Bel-Rea’s Student Affairs Director to discuss if your specific background is a potential barrier to credentialing, employment, and internships before committing your time and resources to a veterinary technology program.
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