Veterinary Technology

Veterinary Technology Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Degree

About the bachelor’s degree in veterinary technology

Become a leader in the fast-growing field of animal care.

If animals are your passion, consider a career as a veterinary technologist – one of the fastest-growing occupations in Pennsylvania and across the United States.

The bachelor’s degree in veterinary technology at California University of Pennsylvania equips you with the knowledge, practical skills and confidence to enter the field as a “vet tech” with specialized training in fields such as small- or large-animal care, laboratory animal management, or shelter medicine.

You’ll gain hands-on experience caring for animals while this four-year, on-campus program prepares you for leadership in the workplace.

Graduates are ready for vet tech careers in settings that range from animal hospitals and humane societies to laboratories and research facilities. The B.S. in veterinary technology also qualifies you for jobs with veterinary practices and organizations, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, that require a bachelor’s degree.

Promote animals’ well-being as part of a veterinary medicine team.

The four-year veterinary technology bachelor’s degree builds on Cal U’s vet tech associate degree. In addition to the coursework, hands-on training and 240 hours of clinical experience required for entering the profession, bachelor’s degree students choose electives in the specialty they prefer and complete an advanced clinical experience.

You’ll study elements of veterinary science including animal anatomy, behavior and diseases, as well as practice management, recordkeeping and laws pertaining to animal care. Through laboratory and clinical experiences, you’ll learn best practices for animal handling, as well as veterinary surgery, dentistry, radiology, pharmaceuticals, and anesthesia and pain management.

Three required courses – Case Studies in Veterinary Medicine, Contemporary Issues in Veterinary Medicine and the Specialty Clinical Experience – help you determine an area of focus. Elective courses build specialized knowledge of topics such as:

  • Shelter medicine.
  • Animal reproduction.
  • Animal behavior.
  • Zoonotic diseases.

At Cal U, veterinary technology students work with dogs, cats, rats and rabbits that are housed in state-of-the-art facilities on campus. Additional learning occurs in animal exam areas, a clinical laboratory equipped with diagnostic and imaging equipment, and a surgical nursing suite.


High-tech labs:  Students in this 120-credit bachelor’s degree program put their learning into practice every day. Even first-year students have animal care rotations, and many courses incorporate a lab or a clinical component. Students complete 240 clinical hours, plus specialized coursework and an advanced clinical experience prior to graduation.

Flexible schedule: A rigorous associate degree programis embedded within the bachelor’s in veterinary technology. Flexible scheduling allows bachelor’s degree students to complete the Associate of Science requirements over two, three or four years. Students who earn the B.S. in Veterinary Technology also receive an A.S. degree.

On-campus classes: Veterinary technology students study with classmates who share their passion for animals and professors who are experts in their field. Program director Dr. Nancy Pugh holds a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, and faculty members – not graduate students or teaching assistants —teach every course. Small classes let you get to know your vet tech classmates and your professors.

High standards: Cal U’s veterinary technology program is actively seeking accreditation by the American Veterinary Medical Association Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities, and its initial application has been accepted. (Please note that an application for accreditation does not guarantee accreditation or grant any temporary accreditation status.) Students who successfully complete a program accredited by the AVMA-CVTEA are eligible to sit for the Veterinary Technician National Exam.

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Nationwide, the number of B.S. in Veterinary Technology programs recognized by the American Veterinary Medicine Association.
Projected growth in employment for veterinary technicians and technologists by 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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Degree Benefits

Students in Cal U’s veterinary technology program build a solid base of knowledge and learn animal care and management skills by working directly with small animals on campus. By selecting electives and additional clinical experience in an area of interest, students customize their education to focus on small- or large-animal care, laboratory animals or shelter medicine.

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Graduate Outcomes

The need for skilled veterinary technologists is expanding due to increases in pet ownership, a growing demand for service and working animals, and expansion of veterinary specialties. Program graduates may find employment in veterinary clinics and hospitals, large-animal practices, wildlife rehabilitation centers, boarding kennels, government and industry labs, humane societies and more. Graduates are qualified for jobs in organizations, such as the USDA, that require a four-year degree, and they are able to instruct in an educational setting.

Veterinary Technology (B.S.)
Vet student working with a puppy.


Last year 41 states, including Pennsylvania, reported a shortage of veterinary services. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 20% growth in employment opportunities nationwide for veterinary technicians and technologists. The median hourly wage in the field exceeds $16 per hour, the BLS reports, with opportunities for higher pay in laboratory and research settings.

Dog with a pink cast.


Although veterinary technologists often care for animals at private veterinary practices, many graduates with bachelor’s degrees work under the guidance of scientists, researchers or veterinarians in more advanced, research-related positions. In a laboratory setting, they may administer medications, prepare tissue samples, record data, and keep records of animals’ genealogy, weight, diet or behavior. Vet techs also may prepare animals and equipment for surgery, assist with diagnostic or medical procedures, take X-rays or ultrasound images, administer preventive dental care for animals, and provide instruction on animal care.

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Vet at a farm with a horse.


As veterinary specialties expand, the demand for skilled professionals is growing rapidly. In addition to clinical settings, veterinary technologists are employed in:

  • Animal control and humane society/shelter care.
  • Biomedical research and diagnostic laboratory support.
  • Food safety inspection.
  • Livestock health management.
  • Military service.
  • Sales and service for drug, feed and veterinary supply companies.
  • Zoo animal and wildlife care.
Cal U student with a dog on campus.


Future veterinary technology students must meet Cal U admissions standards. Candidates who have completed high school biology, chemistry and algebra courses with a grade of C- or higher are most likely to be successful. Once a student is accepted into the program, a tetanus immunization is required and immunization for rabies is highly recommended. Vet tech students are required to wear scrubs for laboratory work and animal care rotations. Students must meet all requirements for the A.S. in Veterinary Technology in order to earn the bachelor’s degree.

B.S. In Veterinary Technology Courses


Course Credits
Freshman Year  
First Semester 14
BIO 230  Anatomy and Physiology 4
ENG 101  English Composition I 3
MAT 181  College Algebra 3
VET 101  Introduction to Veterinary Technology 3
UNI 100  First-Year Seminar 1
Second Semester 15
BIO 226  Basic Microbiology 4
BIO 260  Anatomy and Physiology II 4
CHE 101  General Chemistry I 4
VET 160  Care and Management of Exotic and Laboratory Animals 3
Sophomore Year  
Third Semester 15
VET 202  Small Animal Management and Clinical Procedures 4
VET 210  Veterinary Clinical Technology and Laboratory Procedures 4
VET 220  Large Animal Management and Clinical Procedures 4
VET 240  Veterinary Pharmacy and Pharmacology 3
Fourth Semester 16
VET 230  Digital Diagnostic Imaging 3
VET 250  Surgical Nursing, Anesthesia and Pain Management 4
VET 292  Clinical Experience 3
General Education Courses 6
Junior Year  
Fifth Semester 15
BIO 120  General Zoology 4
ENG 102  English Composition II 3
VET 301  Contemporary Issues in Veterinary Medicine 2
Free Electives 3
General Education Course 3
Sixth Semester 15
BIO/ENV/VET Elective 3
MAT 215  Statistics 3
Free Electives 6
General Education Course 3
Senior Year  
Seventh Semester 15
BIO/ENV/VET Elective 3
VET 450  Case Studies in Veterinary Medicine  OR  VET 492  Specialty Clinical Experience 3
Free Electives 6
General Education Course 3
Eighth Semester 15
BIO/ENV/VET Electives 6
VET 450  Case Studies in Veterinary Medicine  OR  VET 492  Specialty Clinical Experience 3
Free Elective 3
General Education Course 3
Total 120 

Program Notes

BIO 450  Immunology (3 credits)  OR  BIO 460  Pathophysiology (3 credits) are recommended courses for fulfilling related electives.

Program Goals and Objectives

Program Goals

The program maintains the highest level of academic integrity and provides students with knowledge and skills in specialized disciplines within veterinary medicine. The program goals (PG) are specified to meet the needs of the program’s constituencies (Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, employers, advisory board, alumni, students and faculty).

  • PG1:To provide students with both the skills and theoretical knowledge to become successful veterinary technicians in a chosen discipline.
  • PG2:To further educate students on the attributes necessary to become an integral member of the veterinary healthcare team.
  • PG3:To enhance the analytical, critical thinking and decision-making skills of each individual student.
  • PG4:To provide a science-based, animal-focused curriculum that enhances the profession’s stewardship of animals.
Student Learning Outcomes

Students completing the B.S. in Veterinary Technology will have an ability to:

  • SO1:Be successful on the Veterinary Technician National Exam.
  • SO2:Perform diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.
  • SO3:Identify, utilize and maintain veterinary instruments and equipment found in a specialty practice.
  • SO4:Communicate effectively with other veterinary professionals and clientele.
  • SO5:Describe the laws, ethics and organizations of the veterinary profession.
  • SO6:Critically evaluate diagnostic findings and relate to animal health and wellness.
  • SO7:Recognize contemporary issues and analyze their role or position as a technician.
SO8: Work cooperatively to achieve optimum and compassionate patient care.