The veterinary technician career path is a popular and high profile option that has shown extremely rapid growth in recent years. There are many different specialties that a vet tech can pursue after completing their basic education, but achieving that vet tech degree can be a costly endeavor—whether the student chooses to attend traditional courses or to use distance learning programs. There are several available scholarship options that can help defray the cost of attendance.
American Kennel Club Scholarship Program
The American Kennel Club (AKC) Veterinary Technician Scholarship Program offers more than two dozen scholarships each year to full-time vet tech students. The program has had several high-profile co-sponsors in past years including Hartz and Bayer. Applicants must be enrolled in an AVMA accredited vet tech program and hold a student membership in the NAVTA organization. Awards range from $1,000 to $2,500.
Cengage Learning offers an award that is more of a contest than a true scholarship. Instructors of veterinary technician students are encouraged to submit an online nomination to recognize their more outstanding students. Students are then entered in a drawing (held three times yearly) that awards the winner up to $300 to cover the costs of taking the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). The winning names are drawn one month prior to the application deadline for each testing window.
International Association of Pet Cemeteries and Crematories
The International Association of Pet Cemeteries and Crematories (IAPCC) offers the annual Doyle L. Shugart Scholarship Program for veterinary technician students. The program is open to all vet techs enrolled in an AVMA accredited program (and it is also open to second-year or higher veterinary students). Applicants must submit an essay of 250 to 500 words that emphasizes the importance of respectful aftercare and helping clients deal with the loss of a pet. The winning student receives a $1,000 scholarship and publication of their essay in the IAPCC’s quarterly magazine.
Oxbow Animal Health’s Veterinary Technology
Oxbow Animal Health’s Veterinary Technology Scholarship is offered to vet tech students seeking a career in the field of exotic animal medicine. The application process requires a resume, transcript, reference letter, and a 300 to 500-word essay detailing why the applicant wants to work in the exotic animal field. The 2015 application deadline is March 1 with recipients announced on May 1. Two awards are available each year in the amount of $500.
Sue Busch Memorial Award
The Pet Care Trust offers the Sue Busch Memorial Award for veterinary technician students. The award is a $500 scholarship that is given to ten students each year. Applicants must be in their final year of study and be nominated by their school for the award. Selection criteria include academic achievement, interaction with animals, volunteering in the community to promote animal welfare, and participation in college clubs.
Veterinary Technician Student Award
The Society for Veterinary Medical Ethics (SVME), in partnership with Mars Petcare, offers a student essay contest each year as well as an additional Veterinary Technician Student (VTS) award. The essay contest award consists of a $1,000 prize plus an additional $1,000 to allow the student to attend the AVMA Annual Convention and present their essay. Entrants who are also enrolled in an AVMA accredited veterinary technician degree program are eligible for an additional VTS award of $250 and publication of their essay on the SVME website. It is possible that one essay could win both awards.
Other Scholarship Sources
Many vet tech schools also grant scholarships exclusively to students enrolled in their own programs, so it is always a good idea to check with your college advisor as to the availability of such awards. Other sources of veterinary technician scholarships may include state associations and specialty-specific organizations.