Although many animal lovers choose to enter the veterinary field, this is not the only possible career path. You should also consider becoming a veterinary technician, which is to a vet what a nurse is to a doctor. To become a veterinary technician, you need a 2-year or 4-year degree, completed with an accredited program. Schooling can be expensive, however, so before you enroll, check out the financial options available to you.
Scholarships are one of the most popular funding options for students in any field, including those interested in a veterinary technician (or “vet tech”) career. Unlike loans, scholarships do not have to be repaid after you finish school, making them attractive money options. Scholarships are based on merit, whereas grants are based on financial need. That means anyone can apply for a scholarship – even if you are financially stable. Without scholarships, many students would have to pay for college out of pocket, as it can be hard to qualify for student loans or grants if you don’t have a strong financial need.
The “merit” requirements vary from scholarship to scholarship, but typically involve your grades in high school, SAT scores, or specific talents (sports skills, achievements in the arts, etc). Some scholarships are offered in competitions, where applicants all submit essays or other creative works and are judged against one another. Scholarships can also be based on, at least in part, your ethnicity, gender, family’s military history, or other characteristics.
How much money do you need for your vet tech education? Although most of your scholarships will go toward paying for tuition, they can also pay for other college expenses, such as room, board, fees, books, supplies, parking, and more. According to the United States Department of Education, average college costs were $16,245 per year in 2007 – 2008. The type of school you choose will affect the cost of your education greatly. Public schools are less expensive than private schools, and you’ll of course spend less money to attend a 2-year college than you will to attend a 4-year school. On average, 2-year annual costs were $7,654, as of the 2007-2008 school year, while 4-year schools cost an average of $19,362.
Most veterinary technician scholarships are available no matter what type of school you choose. Some programs require that your school be accredited, but if you want a career in vet tech, you’ll need to be sure of that anyway. You can find scholarships directly from the college you choose, or you can look to private organizations and foundations for scholarships directly related to your field.
The cost of your college education can be high, but once you are certified as a vet tech, you can find a job just about anywhere, even in today’s economy. From there, you can also gain experience and eventually become a vet and even run your own office or clinic. Scholarships can help you make all of these career goals become reality.