Vet Tech Institute offers an 18-month program for students seeking the core skills to prepare for entry into the veterinary care field. Our curriculum, facilities, cohort instruction, and experienced faculty each play an important role in the success of our students.
The curriculum is designed to build the knowledge and skills required to start a career as a veterinary technician. Course content covers a broad range of topics and complies with the AVMA's Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA) standards.
Working hands-on with the animals in our on-site kennels throughout the program is an essential and exciting part of the curriculum here at Vet Tech Institute. In addition to the kennels, our learning facilities include well-equipped laboratories, animal-friendly classrooms, surgical and radiography suites.
Our faculty share a passion for helping animals and teaching students, and they bring their industry experience into the classroom to provide a passionate and professional education. Program-specific faculty and motivated peers make for a great learning environment.
Training veterinary technicians is all we do. Therefore, we dedicate complete focus to helping you graduate with an AST degree in 18 months and, more importantly, preparing you to enter the workforce. The best way to learn about our program is to visit us and see for yourself. We invite you to request more information today or schedule a visit!
What Does A Vet Tech Do?
Veterinary technicians, or vet techs, play a pivotal role on the animal health care team. They can support a veterinarian the same way the medical team supports a doctor.
As a vet tech, some of the things you are trained to do are:
- Give vaccines and injections
- Assess sick patients
- Run laboratory tests
- Apply bandages and splints
- Assist in surgery
- Administer anesthesia
- Take x-rays and ultrasounds
- Clean teeth
- Dispense prescriptions
- Chart medical information
- Educate families
Thus, at different times, a vet tech acts like a nurse, laboratory technician, surgical assistant, radiology technician, dental hygienist, pharmacy technician, patient educator, and even a nutritionist!
Programs accredited by the AVMA's Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA) are required to instruct and evaluate each student's knowledge or skill in a comprehensive range of areas. Proficiency in these skills helps to prepare you for your role on the animal health care team. The programs at all Vet Tech Institute locations are currently accredited by the CVTEA.
Check out the list of skills by clicking here!
To see the essential functions you will need to perform in the program, please see the Essential Functions In The AVTE Disabilities Task Force Report.
The curriculum's primary focus is on the veterinary care of cats and dogs, but will also cover exotics, lab animals, and farm animals. Our classes provide plenty of hands-on instruction and, as part, our students are required to participate in kennel duty on a regular basis. Students will also spend 8 weeks on an externship to practice what they have learned and make industry contacts!
Most courses in the 18-month program directly prepare you with the tools for a successful veterinary technician career.
As a student you'll concentrate on the following areas:
- Veterinary Nursing
- Surgical Nursing
- Veterinary Clinical Pathology
- Animal Behavior
- Animal Husbandry
- Veterinary Medical Terminology
- Veterinary Anatomy and Physiology
- Laboratory Procedures
- Veterinary Nutrition
- Preparation for the VTNE National Certification Exam
You can read the course descriptions in our school catalog.
The success and wellbeing of our students is our first priority, and we offer a variety of student services that can help you on the path to graduation. From financial aid, academic advising and housing assistance, our staff is here to lend a hand. You can expect individualized assistance starting with admissions and continuing all the way through until career placement.
Although the school cannot guarantee employment in the field, Vet Tech Institute is committed to helping all of our graduates find jobs by providing valuable contacts and guidance.
Our schools offer students the opportunity to belong to a student organization focused on both recreation opportunities and activities related to the animal care field. The specific activities are decided upon and planned by student leadership under the guidance of an instructor who oversees the group. Joining is a great way for you to meet new friends and begin networking in preparation for your future career!
Everyone at the Vet Tech Institute shares a loves for animals. It's that unique blend of passion and goals shared between staff and students that creates a family-like atmosphere with strong bonds of friendship.
Vet Tech Institute faculty members include:
Dr. Rebekah Clermont, Medical Director,graduated with a B.S. in Animal Science and a minor in genetics from North Carolina State University and then earned her veterinary medical degree from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. As a DVM student, Dr. Clermont was a co-author of a study about Cushing’s disease in horses. After graduation, she worked for four years as a general veterinary practitioner in Virginia Beach, VA, where she gained substantial experience with medical and surgical procedures. In 2014, she and her husband moved to Pittsburgh and Dr. Clermont joined Vet Tech Institute. Dr. Clermont currently has a Pitt Bull Terrier that she adopted from a shelter in Tennessee in 2007, but she previously has had other dogs, several cats, several rabbits, fish, hamsters, and a green iguana.
Dr. Sara Hurst earned both a B.S. in Animal Science and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Texas A&M University before going on active duty as a Captain with the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps. Stationed at West Point, NY, she was the official veterinarian for the U.S. Army Mascot Mules. Dr. Hurst then worked in private practice for 4 years in Texas before moving to the Pittsburgh area and joining the Vet Tech Institute faculty. Dr. Hurst and her husband own many pets, including 2 French Bulldogs, a cat, 3 horses, a cockatoo, an African grey parrot, a cockatiel, a panther chameleon, and a bearded dragon.
Lisa M. Szafranski, CVT, Program Coordinator, SCNAVTA Advisor, has been working in the veterinary field for over 30 years, and still works part-time at VCA Duncan Manor Animal Hospital. She is certified in Canine Obedience from the National Canine College in Columbus, has taught obedience classes, and has competed in agility and obedience trials with her dogs. “Mrs. S” brings her enthusiasm and love of the field of veterinary medicine into the classroom, and her “Mrs. S-isms” are a helpful way to retain the important terminology words. Mrs. S shares her home with two Beagles, Tripp and Ike (whom she adopted from the school), a Parson Russell terrier, Lily (who is a certified therapy dog that goes on pre-school visits and has been in two of our commercials), and two amazing cats, Dottie and Obi.
Nicole DiMichele, CVT, has taught at Vet Tech Institute for 13 years and was, at one time, the school’s on-site kennel manager. Nicole, earlier, worked as a certified veterinary technician at both a busy veterinary emergency hospital and a non-emergency/routine veterinary clinic. Nicole received her B.A. in Psychology from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and her A.S.T (in veterinary technology) from Median School of Allied Health Careers; she also is a current and active member of the NAVTA, PVMA, and CVTEA organizations. Nicole is the proud owner of two dogs (an Akita and a Pit-Bull mix) and most consider her to be an avid enthusiast of the Akita Breed.
Amy Geramita, RVT, Kennel Manager, has a passion for large animal medicine and still helps her father on their family farm- raising beef cattle, swine, and poultry. Graduating from Vet Tech Institute in 2011, her externships were at Cleveland Equine Hospital in Ravenna, Ohio and Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky. Amy was then the head veterinary technician during 3 years at a small animal and equine practice in Landrum, South Carolina. Moving to Pennsylvania to be closer to family, she spent a year as an ICU veterinary technician at Animal Emergency Clinic (now MedVet – Mahoning Valley) before joining the faculty at Vet Tech Institute. Amy and her husband have 5 animals in their home: Rowdy, a rat terrier; Belle and Brie, chihuahuas (both adopted from VTI); and 2 cats, Missy (adopted from VTI when Amy was a student) and Gus.
Carolyn Klar, CVT, has been a licensed veterinary technician for 33 years, with experience in all aspects of veterinary technology as well as hospital management. She started out in mixed animal practice where she was senior technician and surgical tech for 8 years. Wanting to broaden her experience, she joined a large emergency hospital in Pittsburgh. She then transferred to VCA Met Vet, where she still works as an on-call Veterinary Technician. Carolyn has 2 children, a daughter who is a junior at WLSU studying art therapy and a son who graduated from VTI in February 2019. She also shares her home with two dogs, Josie and Scorpio, and three cats: Julie, Mary and Monster.
Brianne Schultz, CVT, who recently joined the VTI faculty, has four years of experience administering chemotherapy to patients and working one-on-one with clients in the Medical Oncology Department at Pittsburgh Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center. A 2014 Vet Tech Institute graduate, she also has participated in a study abroad program through the South African University.
Melissa Sowa, CVT, gathered a variety of experience after graduating from Vet Tech Institute in 2009. For four years, she was part of a 24/7- 365 practice that handled both emergencies and routine care. She then joined a fast-paced clinic that performed 30-40 surgeries per day. During her four years there, she completed her apprentice with AWDA and became a certifier and evaluator for SAR teams. Along the way, she has earned a B.S. from the University of Pittsburgh and a master’s degree in Industrial Organizational Psychology from Argosy University. She and her husband, Piet, live with their two German shepherds, Vader and Neo, and their cat, Isis. Melissa still finds time to teach dog classes, compete in dog sports, lead a unit on a search and rescue team, be a handler for K9 Vader and K9 Neo, and operate as a certifier for search-and-rescue K9 teams.
July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2019
Number of First-Time Test Takers
3 Year Average VTNE Pass Rate for First-Time Test Takers
Animal Care Duty
Vet Tech Institute maintains an on-site kennel which houses dogs, cats, and rodents. As part of the unique hands-on learning that our program provides, all students are assigned kennel duty shifts before and after classes as well as on weekends. Not only does this add to the overall experience, but it also helps to teach our students the duties and responsibilities of animal care and sanitation.