10 Best Veterinary Schools in California in 2024

Discover the best veterinary schools in California in 2023. This comprehensive guide highlights the top institutions offering quality veterinary education. Explore the programs, facilities, and opportunities available at the best veterinary schools in California to kickstart your career in animal healthcare.

Several veterinary schools in California adequately prepare a novice veterinarian for this career. 

California is already known for world-class educational institutions.  It is also home to two of the best veterinary schools in the country.  We present a brief picture of these schools and a short guide on how to get in.

About Veterinary Schools in California

Veterinary Schools in California train veterinarians to perform all veterinary care work required in a clinical, laboratory, agricultural, and zoological setting. 

Accredited veterinary technical schools ensure that graduates complete their training to assist veterinarians in routine diagnostic, surgical, and dental procedures. 

California veterinary schools also train veterinarians to maintain clinical cleanliness, work with anesthesia, conduct inventory, provide basic practical care, skillfully manage diagnostic equipment, take and analyze laboratory samples, train pet owners, manage offices, and more.

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How Many Vet Schools in California?

Fortunately for novice veterinary technicians, California schools offer 26 veterinary technician programs.  23 of these programs are accredited by CVTEA. 

The following is a breakdown of CVTEA-accredited veterinary programs that prepare students for national and state exams. 

Some institutions offer programs on multiple campuses so that some programs will be grouped below.

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What are the Best Online Vet Schools in California?

Platt College – Fortunately for students from California and others who cannot attend campus regularly, Platt College offers a distance degree as a junior specialist in veterinary technology. 

Students can receive this degree in just 18 months.  Students should check with Platt College to ensure that the online program is also AVMA accredited, as this program is not listed as a distance program on the AVMA website.

Courses include an introduction to veterinary technology;  veterinary terminology;  clinical pathology;  parasitology;  veterinary economics;  anesthesia;  animal nutrition;  care for exotic animals;  and more. 

There are currently no VTNE rankings for the first time in the online program.

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How Long is Vet School in California?

Your veterinary career in California usually begins with a bachelor’s degree, after which you must attend an accredited veterinary school for four years. 

You must also pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam before you can call yourself a veterinarian. 

In addition, most states require veterinarians to pass a state exam in a state exam that covers state laws governing veterinary practice.

What Will I Learn at the Best Veterinary Schools in California?

Your first three years at veterinary school will consist of lessons, laboratory work and clinical practice.  You will learn about the anatomy, physiology, behavior and diseases of animals. 

In addition, you will gain knowledge about preventive care and methods of diagnosis and treatment of animals. 

During the fourth year, you will be in a veterinary or animal clinic, conducting clinical rotations, observing procedures and gaining practical experience, working under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian.

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What is the Veterinary Jobs in California?

Animal control worker

Animal control officers help to ensure the proper treatment of animals, investigate cases of abuse and find abandoned animals. 

Those who are among the highest earners can earn more than $ 53,000 a year.  Animal control workers in Nevada, California and Washington earn the most.

Veterinary assistant

Veterinary assistants work in animal clinics, research laboratories, animal shelters and zoos.  To work as a veterinary assistant, you must have a high school diploma. 

There are also online programs through which you can get a degree in veterinary care.

A veterinary technician or technologist

The veterinary technologist performs the same work as the veterinarian.  This is the same relationship as nurses have with doctors. 

The veterinary tech performs routine laboratory work and procedures such as taking and testing blood samples. 

The technologist assists the veterinarian in the diagnosis and treatment of animal diseases.  Other responsibilities may include vaccinating animals and euthanizing seriously ill or injured animals.

Animal Care and Service Worker

Animal care workers and maintenance staff are responsible for basic animal care, including training, bathing, feeding, cleaning and disinfecting cages, and training animals. 

Places where you can expect to find a job as an “animal care worker” include pet stores, veterinary hospitals or clinics, nurseries, stables, aquariums and zoos.

Animal trainer

Animal trainers work with animals such as dogs, horses and dolphins.  Professionals in this profession can conduct obedience training and teach animals how to perform during an exhibition. 

Animal trainers can also work with service animals, such as star dogs.

What are the Best Veterinary Schools in California?

Below are the best vet schools in California in 2023.

  • Pima Medical Institute
  • Platt College
  • Santa Rosa Junior College
  • Foothill College
  • University of California-Davis
  • Western University College of Veterinary Medicine
  • University of California-San Diego
  • San Joaquin Valley College-Visalia
  • Central Coast College
  • Mt San Antonio College

#1 Pima Medical Institute

Pima Medical Institute in Chula Vista and San Marcos offers a law degree (AAS).  The first set of courses is taught through a hybrid learning system that combines both online and coursework on campus. 

Courses include food and fiber; laboratory procedures for veterinary technicians; diagnostic imaging for veterinary technicians; care of small animals for veterinary technicians;  laboratory zoology;  and more.

The program consists of 78.5 credits and includes one externship.  The degree takes 18 months and includes 1775 hours. 

From 2016 to 2020, the success rate of VTNE for the Chula Vista campus was 67.7 percent.  Newly accredited, the VTNE level for the first time for the San Marco campus between 2019 and 2020 was 50 percent.


#2 Platt College

Platt College has four campuses that offer the degree of Junior Specialist in Veterinary Technology.  AVMA currently recognizes programs at Platt College campuses in Alhambra, Anaheim, Ontario, and Riverside. 

In addition, they offer an online program, which will be described below.

Courses include veterinary care procedures; parasitology; communication with clients and customer service; veterinary anatomy and physiology; anesthesia; surgical care; diagnostic imaging; and more. 

Students must also participate in a clinical externship. 


#3 Santa Rosa Junior College

SRJC courses have been specifically designed to meet state requirements for those wishing to become registered veterinary technicians in California. 

The RVT Track courses offered at Santa Rosa College Jr. are relevant and useful to anyone who works or is interested in working as a veterinary registrar or veterinary assistant, whether or not they plan to take the RVT exam in California.   

Veterinary technicians provide LIFE and constant assistance to several animals.  SRJC offers highly qualified education and professional experience that depends on the industry.


#4 Foothill College

The Veterinary Technology Program (VT) is one of seven related career programs in health care at Foothill College in the Department of Biological and Medical Sciences. 

The program is unique because it is one of seven such programs in California and the only one accredited by the A.V.M.A.  A program that serves the greater San Francisco Bay Area. 

The Foothill College Veterinary Technology Program is a two-year associate’s degree program fully accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Committee on Veterinary Education.

The program is an animal facility licensed by the Department of Agriculture and Animal and Plant Health Inspection.


#5 University of California-Davis

The school is a major source of health care for California’s diverse animal populations. 

The School of Veterinary Medicine serves the people of California by providing the highest quality educational, research, clinical, and government programs to improve animal health and care. 

The school is focused on students of the professional program “Doctor of Veterinary Medicine”, the program “Master of Preventive Veterinary Medicine”, clinical residency programs and academic masters and doctors of philosophy programs. 

The School of Veterinary Medicine provides educational, research, clinical, and government programs to improve animal health and care, environmental health, and public health.


#6 Western University College of Veterinary Medicine

The Western College of Veterinary Medicine, in particular, is abandoning the traditional lecture-based curriculum in favor of a problem-solving approach. 

This approach allows veterinary students to actively monitor their learning, working in small groups and identifying their strengths and weaknesses during the training program. 

Students are randomly divided into small groups during the first two years, and the faculty facilitator presents a clinical case each week.

Students learn to apply basic medical and general sciences knowledge through laboratory work and seminars to identify and solve problems in these weekly vignettes. 

For the past two years, students have been confronted with clinical work and patient care in selected clinical locations under the guidance of faculty.


#7 University of California-San Diego

The San Diego Veterinary Research Program, led by Dr. Peter Ernst, offers in-depth research training for DVM / VMD graduates who study full-time in formal degree programs (Ph.D.) and postdoctoral training. 

Appropriate candidates will be veterinary medicine graduates who will study according to the didactic program developed by 4-7 years of study, which they have already completed. 

Its mission is to train veterinarians in biomedical research, in laboratory animal medicine residencies, and mentoring veterinary medicine students.


#8 San Joaquin Valley College-Visalia

SJVC strives for the personal and professional success of our students and alumni.  Its curriculum is designed to provide you with the most important skills to today’s employers. 

The college offers certificates, associate degrees and opportunities for further education in health, business and technology. 

Ask one of more than 60,000 graduates about their SJVC experience, and they will probably describe it as life-changing.  SJVC also offers training courses in business, medical and technical subjects.


#9 Central Coast College

Central Coast College’s veterinary assistant program gives you hands-on experience working with animals to prepare you for the job you’ve always wanted. 

Its 38-week curriculum will give you the full skills and knowledge you need to work successfully with veterinarians and veterinary technicians in various animal care settings. 

The Veterinary Assistant program offers a curriculum for the first year of study for certified specialists in applied sciences in the field of veterinary technology. Upon satisfactory completion, qualifies students for the second year of the veterinary technology program.


#10 Mt San Antonio College

The mission of the Registered San Antonio College College of Veterinary Technology program is to welcome all students and support them in achieving their personal, educational, and career goals in an environment of academic success. 

A veterinary technician is an important part of a medical or biomedical team. All veterinary technicians work under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian.

Veterinary technicians must be trained in the care and handling of all animal species, the basic principles of normal and abnormal life processes, and laboratory and clinical procedures. 


What are the Cheapest Vet Schools for International Students in California?

California State Polytechnic University-Pomona –  the California State Polytechnic University of Pomona is a public student at AASCU.  It was founded in 1938.  It has 1,330 teachers who teach 24,314 students.  In 2016, the CPP won the William F. McCulloch Award for Outstanding Achievement in Human-Animal Interaction Teaching.  Cal Poly received the OLC Digital Learning Innovation Award in 2017. 


These schools offer different veterinary science programs at different levels with several concentrations from which students can choose.  The University of California at Davis offers a variety of veterinary qualification programs, which include a professional veterinarian (DVM), a master’s degree in preventive veterinary medicine, a residency program, and more. 

The school is involved in several research and clinical programs, including clinical services, diagnostic testing services, community outreach, and more.  Western University of Health Services is a small private school offering four years of veterinary medicine (DVM). 

The college has a rigorous curriculum that prepares students to be fully qualified to treat a variety of animals and address various health issues.

Veterinary Schools in California FAQs

What Jobs Can Graduates Of Vet Schools Apply For?

Completing an accredited university in veterinary research programs will lead to various jobs that serve fuzzy and scaly animals.  For example, veterinary technologists assist scientists in empirical research that studies animal traits and behavior. 

What Do Vet Technicians Do?

Vet technicians help licensed veterinarians provide effective clinical care in private practices.  Animal trainers teach different breeds to obey their owners and follow the command.  Zookeepers monitor the nutritional and hygiene needs of exotic animals in wildlife parks.

What Do Livestock Managers Do?

Livestock managers keep a healthy herd of farm animals such as cows and pigs.  Aquaculture farmers feed and grow marine or freshwater fish in controlled units.  Animal conservationists are protecting habitats to prevent extinction. 

Are Veterinarians In Demand?

Demand in the pet care market is growing rapidly.  MSN has identified Oregon, Colorado, California, Washington, and Maine as pet-friendly.  The US Department of Labor estimates that the number of veterinary technologists and technicians jobs will increase by 20 percent by 2026.  The number of veterinary assistants will increase by 19 percent for 16,300 new vacancies.


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