61 Sever Street
Worcester, MA 01609
Thank you for your interest in the School of Animal Studies at Becker College. You may find answers to some of your questions here, or at www.becker.edu.
While our students know they want to work directly with animals, many are uncertain about their career choice. The program is designed to provide students with exposure to different areas to help them make a decision that is right for them.
The animal care program focuses more on the care and husbandry of animals rather than on their medical and clinical needs. Both degrees allow students to work with live animals during their academic career, but because the veterinary technology program is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association, there are more restrictions and structure.
Absolutely! The two-year degree can progress into a four-year degree. Some degree paths taken at Becker by graduates from the animal care program are: B.S., laboratory animal management; B.S., psychology, and B.S, criminal justice.
After graduation, if you are employed in biomedical research and/or the lab animal care profession and achieve six months of full-time employment, you may be eligible to sit for the first of the three levels of AALAS certification. Click here to learn more about the AALAS technician certification program.
Our animal care program takes a “liberal arts” approach to expose students to different areas in the field. Some examples of fields in which our students have found employment are:
Depending on the direction you’d like your career to take, graduates of an AVMA-accredited veterinary technology program are eligible to apply for certification in clinical practice and/or research. Clinical practice certification in Massachusetts for veterinary technicians is voluntary. If you wish to become certified, you will need to achieve a qualifying score on the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE). Similarly, the Certification and Registry Board (CRB) of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) certifies technicians working in the biomedical research sector. After graduation from a veterinary technology program and 6 months of full-time employment in a research setting, you may be eligible to sit for the first of the three levels of AALAS certification. Information about the AALAS technician certification program is available at the AALAS website.
The ability to gain experience at a veterinary clinic located right on campus and the opportunity for mentorship by the school’s seven full-time veterinarians is special part of Becker’s pre-veterinary program. Additionally, a dedicated team of advisors meet with veterinary science students on a regular basis to help guide them through their curriculum schedule and career exploration, including the veterinary school application process.
Our goal is for all Becker College students to develop the Agile Mindset, which will help set them apart from other graduates. Empathy, divergent thinking, and social and emotional intelligence are essential characteristics of future veterinarians, and are skills valued by graduate admissions and future employers alike.
To apply to veterinary school, prerequisite coursework is required, but not any specific major. For example, a student could be an English major, and as long as they took all the required coursework in addition to their major requirements, he/she would be eligible to apply. Becker’s pre-veterinary program offers students a major that delivers a strong scientific foundation and prepares them for both entering the workforce and/or pursuing graduate studies in the health science field, including veterinary school. Becker’s pre-veterinary curriculum includes all of the prerequisite courses required by most veterinary schools plus 400 hours of externship experience in the veterinary field built into the curriculum.
Our programs provide exposure to dogs, cats, laboratory animals, horses, and ruminants. Since many of our majors include a veterinary technology degree that has specifications regarding animal exposure, we do not allow students to specialize in one species. We do have opportunities for students with large animal interests in our farm animal practice course, which is a requirement for the Veterinary Science and Veterinary Technology programs. Students work with livestock at the International Heifer Project as well as horses, swine, and poultry at other farm sites. However, most hands-on work at the College is with cats and dogs. Some externships and preceptorships are species-specific; in addition, there are opportunities to work at zoos, aquariums, and wildlife parks, and to travel to foreign countries such as Africa. Externship and preceptorship opportunities in the Laboratory Animal Management program provide the opportunity to work in lab animal and research facilities where many different species are used as animal models for basic and applied research programs.
Our Veterinary Technician students begin hands on laboratories and courses in their first semester. While Pre-Veterinary students do not have any classes or labs at the clinic, they are encouraged to begin seeking out opportunities to gain animal and veterinary experience as soon as possible, including work study or volunteer positions at the Becker Veterinary Clinic. All veterinary science majors require externships in the veterinary field, some of which may be completed on campus.
Initially, most of our graduates work in settings involving small animal medicine, shelter medicine, large animal medicine, research, and exotic/wildlife medicine. Some become certified in a specialty of veterinary medicine such as internal medicine, emergency medicine/critical care, anesthesia, and dentistry. A significant percentage of graduates gain employment from externship/preceptorship rotations, which occur the summer before the sophomore year of the associate degree program or the senior year for the bachelor degree program. Externship and preceptorship programs are quite detailed in their requirements, and we have an extensive network of practices that seek out our students.
Laboratory Animal Management students also benefit from the internship and preceptorship experiences, which can offer future employment possibilities or serve as sources of references for high-performing students. Examples of recent research and laboratory animal medicine employers of our graduates include: Harvard University, Boston University, Brown University, Massachusetts General Hospital, MIT, and Pfizer. Graduates are also are employed in sales of medical devices, and have gone on to teach.
Those who have earned an A.S. in Veterinary Technology meet the requirements to become certified, registered, or licensed as a veterinary technician, depending upon the state where they reside. The degree also offers the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree in veterinary science or another academic program. The B.S. in Veterinary Science (pre-veterinary medicine, Veterinary Technology, or Laboratory Animal Medicine) concentrations provides students with additional options and flexibility. For example, a bachelor’s degree is required for graduate study, and many supervisory positions require a bachelor degree.
Our B.S. graduates have applied for post-graduate work in animal science, biological sciences, criminal justice, physician’s assistants, and veterinary medicine. In clinical medicine practice, it is more likely that salaries will be higher for students with a bachelor’s degree than with an associate’s degree. In addition, employers look more favorably upon a student with a bachelor’s degree due to the additional general knowledge, exposure to more in-depth courses, lab and clinical experience, and maturity associated with a four-year degree. Students obtaining either the A.S. in Veterinary Technology or B.S. in Veterinary Science have the option of sitting for a national exam to become certified, registered, or licensed in veterinary technology or laboratory animal science.
There are currently 30 AVMA accredited veterinary schools in the country and several more worldwide. Our graduates have been accepted to over 20 of these schools, including Tufts and UPenn. Students do not always go directly into veterinary school following graduation so we are not able to track all student acceptances and matriculation into veterinary schools. We rely on students to provide us with this information as it is not publicly available.
A student can minor in any of the designated minor degrees listed in the Becker catalog, but should work with their advisor to ensure the minor degree requirements will fit into their regular curriculum.
Students are encouraged to switch to a different major if they wish to. Depending on the timing of the switch, some classes already completed in one program may not count towards completion of the other degree program, which may extend their time to graduation. Our advising team can help you with the details of each option. Switching into the AVMA accredited programs in veterinary technology is allowed but on a space available basis.
After graduation, if you are employed in biomedical research and/or the lab animal care profession and achieve six months of full-time employment, you may be eligible to sit for the first of the three levels of AALAS certification.
Occupations that rely on employees having knowledge of horses are barn manager, industry worker (pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, tack shops, feed companies), researcher, and educator.
The B.S. in Veterinary Science, Equine Studies concentration is broad enough to give students a general working knowledge of all aspects of equine work while offering elective courses where a student can investigate an area of special interest.