Veterinary technicians are, basically, registered nurses for animals. There are 172 veterinary technician programs in North America, four of which are in Massachusetts. The Holyoke Community College Veterinary Technology Program was created in 1974 and accredited by the AVMA in 1989.
Veterinary technicians, as defined by the American Veterinary Medical Association, are graduates of programs of veterinary technology. Like traditional nursing schools, programs of veterinary technology may include four or two years of undergraduate study, and may result in either a Bachelor of Science degree or an Associate of Science degree. Holyoke Community College offers a two-year program that results in an Associate of Applied Science degree. The Certified Veterinary Technician or Registered Veterinary Nurse is analogous to the Registered Nurse (RN) in the human nursing profession.
Veterinary medicine, like medicine for humans, has become radically more sophisticated in the past fifty years. There is an increased need for educated and skilled veterinary technicians to assist the practicing clinician, particularly in specialty and referral centers, and emergency and critical care facilities. Here veterinary technicians perform a wide range of nursing tasks from assisting in surgery to calculating preoperative anesthetic doses. In large specialty hospitals veterinary nurses (like human nurses) may become specialists in anesthesiology, transfusion medicine, special imaging, and so on. These veterinary nurse specialists teach veterinary medical students during their clinical rotations.
Those interested in applying to the program must attend an information session.