Apr 24, 2018  
2012 - 2013 College Catalog 
2012 - 2013 College Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Veterinary Technician (A.A.)

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The Associate in Arts program in Veterinary Technology allows students to obtain a science degree that is supported by professional courses in veterinary medicine. Veterinary Technicians are entrusted with diverse medical responsibilities that include animal nursing in a wide variety of species, laboratory techniques, anesthesiology and surgical assisting, radiographic imaging and client education. Mount Ida College’s Veterinary Technology Program is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities.

Career and Graduate Study Options

Graduates of the Veterinary Technology Program can work as veterinary technicians in companion animal hospitals, farm and equine animal practices, biotechnology companies, diagnostic laboratories, zoos, aquaria, exotics and specialty practices.

Learning Objectives

Students who successfully complete this Program will:

  • Demonstrate specific basic veterinary skills and knowledge defined by the A.V.M.A.’s Essential Skills List;
  • Effectively participate as a member of a veterinary team, utilizing communication, writing, and decision making skills;
  • Function as a liaison between the animal health community and the public;
  • Integrate knowledge learned to become a credentialed veterinary technician.

Conditions, Policies, Fees and Provisions

The American Veterinary Medical Association accredits the Veterinary Technology Program. This Program does not fulfill requirements for the degree of Doctor of Veterinary Medicine nor can it be considered a substitute for pre-veterinary training. Students who desire a pre-veterinary program should consult with the Director of the School of Animal Science.

Progression in Program

All course prerequisites must be met. Enrollment in externships is subject to the approval of the Program Director only after all coursework has been successfully completed. Students are required to follow policies outlined in the Veterinary Technology Internship Manual. All externship-eligible students must attend an orientation session before beginning their Junior Externship.

Students must apply for two internship/externship assignments. As all internship/externship sites are commercial or non-profit businesses involved in care and use of animals, on-site supervisors are responsible for assignment of students to specific tasks, depending on the needs of the facility and the capabilities of the student.

The Program Director reserves the right to exclude or dismiss any student from any internship/externship for violation of Program regulations, policies defined in the Internship Manual, academic deficiencies or breaches of conduct.

A student who does not exhibit the knowledge, behavior, attitude, ethics or skills deemed necessary for the health, safety and welfare of patients will be dismissed from the Program. Any academic dishonesty will cause the student to be subject to automatic dismissal.

The Program Director and the School Director, in consultation with the Office for Academic Affairs, will review the standing of any student whose record and/or performance may indicate termination from the Program. Review will take place at the end of every semester. A student may be dropped from the Program whenever his/her academic performance warrants such action. A grade of C- or higher is required in all VT, SC, and BI courses for continuation and graduation from the Veterinary Technician Program.

For all clinical courses, successful completion of the laboratory portion of the course, defined as a grade of B- or better, is required to pass the course. 

Additional Costs

  • Transportation fees to and from externship sites
  • Professional school uniform, including green scrubs, white shoes, Mount Ida College lab jacket, and coveralls
  • Stethoscope and bandage scissors
  • A wristwatch with a second hand 
  • Some externship sites may require protective shoes.
  • Laboratory course fees and materials fees (see specific course descriptions in this catalog)
  • Meals and parking at off-campus facilities
  • Any liability insurance required at externship sites
  • Health/Accident insurance is required for all students in this program.

Health Provisions

Records and results must be on file in the College Health Center prior to participation in laboratory experiences.


  • Tuberculosis test results within 6 months of the first day of classes, then annually
  • Tetanus toxoid booster within five years preceding admission to program
  • Measles vaccination
  • Human diploid cell rabies vaccine and serum fill sample plus an antibody titer test every two years after the vaccination.

Note: Some externship sites have individual health provision requirements.

Because the Veterinary Technician Program is physically strenuous and requires some heavy lifting (ca. 50 lbs.), students should be in good physical condition. Students unable to lift and physically exert themselves may be unable to satisfy program requirements.

Since students in animal science programs are exposed to the possibility of infection or injury and must handle x-ray equipment and anesthetics, they should alert the Program Director and Health Services about pregnancy, any condition that renders them immunosuppressed, allergies, and any other pertinent physical or medical condition. For disclosure of such information, a physician’s letter outlining detailed accommodations is required.

Precautionary Note: Due to the inherently unpredictable behavior of animals, there is an element of assumed risk in all animal studies.


Essential Functions for Veterinary Technology

The field of veterinary technology is both intellectually and physically challenging. The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 ensure that qualified applicants have the ability to pursue program admission. However, all students must meet the essential skills and technical standards to perform functions required of the Veterinary Technician program and profession. Every student will be held to the same standards with or without reasonable accommodations. The Association of Veterinary Technician Educators Task Force on Students with Disabilities recommends the following technical standards:

General Physical Requirements

Students must possess the physical ability to:

  • Tolerate walking and standing for at least ten minutes at a time, multiple times per hour.
  • Lift and/or carry up to 50 pounds from floor to waist level or higher at least several times per day
  • Lift objects weighing up to 50 pounds to a height of one meter or higher and carry the object or animal for a distance of two meters without assistance.
  • Use hands and arms to handle, install, position and move materials, equipment, and supplies without assistance.
  • Handle, position, and restrain live animals of small and large animal species.
  • Be able to have sustained contact with multiple species of animals and be amenable to learning the safe handling, restraining, and working with these animals. An individual should not be allergic to any species of animals to the extent that would prohibit working in a facility that has them.

Cognitive Ability

Students must:

  • Be able to function in a structured environment within significant time constraints and capable of making rapid decisions in urgent situations and meeting deadlines.
  • Possess a willingness to assist with and perform a wide variety of routine medical, surgical, and diagnostic procedures common to the veterinary setting; including humane euthanasia and handling of sick, injured, fractious, or aggressive animals without fear.
  • Be able to complete required tasks/functions under stressful and/or unpredictable conditions, including emergency situations.
  • Be able to access information from books, reference manuals, computers, and paper and electronic medical documents to perform duties and safely use equipment without assistance.
  • Be able to prioritize, organize, and utilize time-management skills to perform tasks.
  • Evaluate, synthesize and communicate diagnostic information to the attending veterinarian and/or staff.
  • Be able to progress toward minimal supervision as they advance through the program.

Communication Skills

Students must:

  • Read, write, speak and report accurately and effectively in English.
  • Comprehend and carry out complex written and oral instructions given in English.
  • Be able, when communicating with other individuals by speech, either in person or by telephone, to make legible and coherent written notes in English within the margins and space provided on the appropriate forms.

Professionalism and Interpersonal Skills

Students must:

  • Demonstrate professional and socially appropriate behavior; maintain cleanliness and personal grooming consistent with close human and animal contact.
  • Be able to interact appropriately with clients and all members of the veterinary healthcare team.
  • Have the ability to exercise good judgment and make appropriate professional and procedural judgment decisions under stressful and/or emergency conditions (i.e. unstable patient condition), emergent demands (i.e. stat test orders), and a distracting environment (i.e., high noise levels, complex visual stimuli, aggressive animals).

Manual Dexterity and Mobility

Students must:

  • Be able to move his/her entire body a distance of no less than three meters within two seconds of a signal to do so, to move rapidly from danger while handling animals in confined spaces.
  • Possess fine motor movements in order to perform the essential functions of the profession. This includes the dexterity to manipulate small equipment, adjust resistance on equipment, hold hooves while cleaning and evaluating, manage syringes, catheters, and common surgical instruments.
  • Possess tactile ability necessary for physical assessment and to perform nursing duties in a timely manner. This includes performing palpation during physical exams, administering oral, intramuscular, subcutaneous, and intravenous medication, insert and remove tubes, collect organic samples from live animals and perform wound care.
  • Possess the ability to palpate and interpret findings, i.e. palpation of pulses, lymph nodes or trachea to determine proper endotracheal tube size.
  • Be able to hold surgical instruments in one hand and perform fine movements with such instruments. This includes ability to assist in holding of hemostats or other instruments while assisting in surgery; induce and monitor general anesthesia in an animal patient; place intravenous and urinary catheters without assistance.
  • Be able to hold, manipulate, or tie materials ranging from a cloth patch to a very fine string. This includes the ability to hold and manipulate a surgical sponge; tie a 00 silk suture; endotracheal intubation; intravenous injection; catheterize animals to obtain sample of urine and/or other body fluids; apply bandages without assistance.

Auditory, Olfactory, and Visual Skills

Veterinary technicians must have functional use of senses to safely and correctly assess patients and interpret and record data.

Students must:

  • Possess adequate visual ability, with or without correction, that allows the determination of minute areas of detail, very small variations in color and adequate depth perception (size, shape and texture), including differentiation of details as viewed through a microscope. This includes ability to characterize and interpret the color, odor, clarity, and viscosity of body structures and fluids, observe variations in skin and mucus membrane color, integrity, pulsations, tissue swelling, etc
  • Possess visual ability to allow for observation and assessment as necessary in nursing care both from a distance and close by in order to recognize physical status and non-verbal responses including behaviors.
  • Possess auditory ability necessary to monitor and assess health status, including auscultation of heart and lungs, and hear equipment alarms and warning sounds from animals, humans, and/or equipment of impending danger or injury.
  • Recognize and respond appropriately to distress sounds from animal and alarms/warning signals on animal-monitoring equipment directly and through intercommunication systems to ensure patient safety.
  • Detect and respond appropriately to odors in order to maintain environmental safety and patient needs.
  • Be able to use a compound microscope to identify cells and organisms and be able to differentiate colors of stained objects.
  • Be able to observe movement at a distance ranging from 30-45 centimeters to 15-20 meters at a discrimination level that permits detection of subtle differences in movement of the limbs in animals. This includes ability to detect and describe a change in color of hair coat caused by licking or trauma; detect abnormal head posture in a parakeet; monitoring respiratory rate during anesthesia; ability to read anesthesia monitoring equipment.
  • Be able to discriminate shades of black and white patterns in which the band is not more than 0.5 mm in width. This includes ability to characterize bacterial hemolysis on a blood agar plate; density patterns on a radiograph; and ability to see ECG tracing.
  • Possess adequate depth perception to allow detection of a 0.5 cm elevation which is no more than 1cm in diameter on a slightly curved surface having a slightly irregular surface. This includes detection of tissue swelling on the hip on a smooth-haired dog; determining presence of reaction to skin testing for allergies.
  • Be able to perceive the natural or amplified human voice without lip reading to permit oral communication in a surgery room with all occupants wearing surgical masks.
  • Be able to perceive the origin of sound as needed to detect movement of large animals in a pen or corral; monitoring multiple patients in an ICU.



Total Credits: (94-98)

Suggested Course Sequence:

(Prerequisites of program-specific courses are listed in parentheses; prerequisites of all courses can be found in the Course Descriptions section of the Catalog.)

First Year: (29 credits)

Second Year: (35 credits)

Third Year: (30-34 credits)

  • Two (2) Open Electives 2-6 credits 

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