Almost $40,000—that is the amount of debt students can expect to rack up from postsecondary education loans, according to Yale University. The average student loan debt is $37,000 in the United States, and student loans are now the second-largest source of consumer debt in America, behind housing.
Even though student loans were created to increase social mobility, data from the American Student Assistance suggests they can do the opposite and impede a young graduate’s ability to achieve financial success. Buying a car, saving for retirement, getting a mortgage, even starting a family—these are things that get postponed while graduates repay their student loans.
A two-year program for veterinary technician training can cost up to $20,000, and a four-year bachelor’s program in veterinary technology can cost more than $60,000. While this may seem low compared to other fields, it includes a significant portion of a veterinary technician’s median salary.
The market for vet techs is growing much faster than the national average at 20 percent, indicative of a great employment outlook for students. These professionals are paid a median salary of $33,400 a year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Aspiring vet techs can look for resources to mitigate a portion of their student debt.
Scholarships are, most simply put, free money. Students pay them back figuratively, with their service to society—at no interest, and without obligation. While good scholarships can be hard to find and win, they do exist, specifically for motivated individuals who need them most.
In the vet tech world, scholarship requirements often include some combination of proof of enrollment at an accredited veterinary technology program, letters of reference, a copy of school transcripts, and, most critically, a personal essay or academic paper on a given topic. The awards can range between $500 and $1,500.
VetTechColleges.com has compiled a list of the top vet tech scholarships of 2020, organized into three categories: general, state-specific, and school-specific. Please note that while some of the deadlines may have passed, scholarships are typically available annually at around the same time.
General Vet Tech Scholarships
Walkin’ Pets Veterinarian and Rehab Vet Tech Scholarship
Founded in 2001 by a bereaved pet owner whose seizure-prone dog was euthanized too soon, Handicapped Pets was created to support caretakers of elderly, injured, and handicapped pets. Handicapped Pets is not only a provider of numerous assistive technology options, but also educates owners on advancements in medicine, technology, and care that can mean the difference between an animal’s happy life, and its premature death.
- Amount: Up to $1,500
- Deadline: Scholarship submissions will begin February 1, 2020; deadline not yet available
- Who Should Apply: Those with a strong, concise, and compassionate writing style are best suited for this scholarship program’s expansive essay prompt. The prompt covers the history of end-of-life issues for pets, the change in assistive technology for disabled pets, animal euthanasia ethics, and other topics.
Oxbow Animal Health Veterinary Technology Scholarship
Oxbow Animal Health is a family-owned and operated company committed to helping small animals lead longer and healthier lives. Established in 1980, the organization provides high-quality nutritional products for animals and supports rescue programs, scholarship opportunities, educational initiatives, and veterinary associations.
The organization offers several scholarships for aspiring professionals in all aspects of the field, those who aspire to pursue careers in the pet industry working with companion animals or exotic ones, as well as those interested in future careers in animal care as veterinary technicians or doctors. Scholarships are open to individuals at all levels, from high school to master’s programs.
- Amount: $500
- Deadline: March 2, 2020
- Who Should Apply: Those with a keen interest in a career in small and exotic animal medicine are the focus of this scholarship. Relevant volunteer participation, extracurricular activities, and work experience are a benefit. To qualify for this scholarship, applicants have to complete the online application, submit a resume, provide a letter of reference, proof of full time enrollment in an accredited veterinary technology program, a transcript copy, current GPA, and a 300-500 word essay explaining why they want to work in the exotic animal field.
AZVT Laurie Page-Peck Scholarship
Established in 1980, the Association of Zoo Veterinary Technicians (AZVT) provides a forum for vet techs employed in zoos to continue their education, share best practices, and engage in discussions about the field. The organization is devoted to all aspects of veterinary technical care in zoo medicine and publishes newsletters, sponsors conferences, and offers grant and scholarship programs.
The Laurie Page-Peck Scholarship was started in 1993 to honor the memory of Laurie Page-Peck. Page-Peck worked as a senior veterinary technician at the North Carolina Zoological Park. She had cancer and died at the young age of 37 in August of 1992. She worked for twelve years, dedicating herself to the care of exotic animals, and was a member of AZVT from 1986 through 1990.
- Amount: $1,500
- Deadline: March 6, 2020 (abstract due), April 10, 2020 (first draft due), and May 15, 2020 (final draft due)
- Who Should Apply: Applicants must write a scientific, medically oriented paper on the subject of zoo veterinary technology, not limited to husbandry. Those with a strong academic style, robust presentation skills, and an intense interest in the zoo vet tech subfield are encouraged to apply. Students who are currently enrolled in veterinary or medical tech programs are eligible to apply.
Oregon Farm Bureau Clackamas County Farm Bureau Scholarship
Established in 1932, the Oregon Farm Bureau is a nonprofit organization that boasts 7,000 farming and ranching members raising over 220 different types of crops and livestock. Its goal is to provide educational improvement, economic opportunity, and social advancement for the farming and ranching industry. The organization offers several scholarships focused on agriculture, farming and ranching.
- Amount: $500
- Deadline: March 27, 2020
- Who Should Apply: Those interested in applying their vet tech education to a career with livestock, farming, ranching, and animal husbandry are encouraged to apply. The scholarship is available to any Clackamas County High School graduate, current county resident or prior recipient. Grade point average of 2.8 is required.
Dr. Jack Walther Recent Graduate Boot Camp Scholarship
Since 1928, the Western Veterinary Conference (WVC) has provided continuing education to veterinary professionals. The conference is a global leader, bringing together the best authorities on one platform. Experts at the conference impart their knowledge of effective methodologies to improve the health of humans and animals all over the world.
- Amount: Free of cost. The course will be held over three days at the Oquendo Center and will include lodging, meals, and ground transport, during the Dr. Jack Walther Recent Graduate Boot Camp Inaugural Program. The Boot Camp will be held June 24-26, 2020 at Oquendo Center in Las Vegas, NV.
- Deadline: March 31, 2020
- Who Should Apply: Veterinarians who are 0-5 years out of practice, veterinarians who are interested in furthering their surgery, dentistry, and dermatology knowledge, and veterinarians who have no previous history of attending the Oquendo Center.
Charles Shelton Foundation Veterinary Scholarship Program
The Charles Shelton Foundation, a national non-profit organization has been providing scholarships to high school graduates and college students pursuing a higher education degree in veterinary medicine and technology for more than 5 years. Its main aim is to help African American students in Veterinary Medicine or Technology afford higher education. Two scholarships will be provided by the Charles Shelton Foundation to individuals demonstrating an interest and commitment to animal welfare.
- Amount: Two non-renewable $2,000 awards
- Deadline: April 15, 2020
- Who Should Apply: Applicants must have a minimum grade point average of 3.0, provide an official copy of their transcript, should be African-American graduating high school seniors, current college students or returning college students, must be a legal U.S. resident, complete the veterinary scholarship form, and provide two professional references.
IAOPC Doyle L. Shugart Scholarship Program
The International Association of Pet Cemeteries and Crematories (IAOPC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the standards, ethics, and professionalism of pet cemeteries and crematories. Established in 1971, this nonprofit organization is committed to safe, compassionate, and thorough pet aftercare through the education of industry professionals and pet parents.
Doyle L. Shugart, who was a former IAOPCC president and board director, understood why the innate bond between animals and humans is essential. After he died in 2012, the IAOPCC dedicated an annual vet tech scholarship program in honor of his tremendous educational contribution to the profession.
- Amount: $1,000
- Deadline: June 1, 2020
- Who Should Apply: Those with a strong belief in the value of dignified and compassionate aftercare, specifically when dealing with the loss of a pet. Eligible applicants include veterinary tech students in an accredited program or veterinary students in the second year or higher of their education.
SVME Alice Villalobos Student Essay Award
The Society for Veterinary Medical Ethics (SVME) seeks to promote discussion and education around issues of veterinary ethics. Founded in 1994, it publishes newsletters, hosts conventions, and provides continuing education for veterinary professionals.
Not limited to veterinarians, the SVME membership reaches into fields like biomedical research, medicine, law, and political science to encourage cross-disciplinary collaboration. The Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition has sponsored the following scholarship since 2006.
- Amount: $1,000 and an additional $1,000 for travel expenses to present the winning essay at the VMX Convention
- Deadline: Deadline for 2020 not yet available, but it was October 25 last year
- Who Should Apply: Those with a strong academic writing style and original ideas on the concept of ethics in the field are best suited to apply to this essay-only scholarship.
Pre-Veterinary and General Animal Husbandry Education Scholarship
For more than 25 years, Golden Meadows Kennel has been breeding, training, and caring for golden retrievers. The pre-veterinary scholarship is designed for those interested in general animal husbandry or veterinary careers. They can apply by writing about subjects such as canine genetic birth defects, canine breeding, or general canine health concerns.
- Amount: $1,000
- Deadline: Keep checking the website for 2020 applications
- Who Should Apply: Students attending accredited colleges may apply, regardless of their major or program.
State Vet Tech Scholarships
Maryland Graduate and Professional Scholarship Program
The purpose of the Graduate and Professional Scholarship Program is to provide financial assistance to full-time and part-time graduate or professional students in the fields of veterinary medicine, dentistry, medicine, law, pharmacy, nursing, and social work. It is awarded to individuals who have demonstrated financial need. The institutional financial aid office will identify students who are eligible for an award.
- Amount: $1,000 to $5,000
- Deadline: Varies
- Who Should Apply: To be eligible for the Graduate and Professional Scholarship Program an individual should be a Maryland resident, demonstrate financial need, be enrolled in a part-time or full-time degree program, and attend one of the following schools: The Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) Schools of Medicine, Dentistry, Law, Pharmacy, Social Work, University of Baltimore School of Law, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, or certain Maryland institutions that offer a master’s degree in nursing, social work, or a first professional degree in pharmacy.
Minnesota Association of Veterinary Technicians Scholarship
Founded in 1975, Minnesota Association of Veterinary Technicians (MAVT) is a volunteer-run organization that represents over 800 veterinarian technicians. The organization provides continuing education, educational resources, and holds an annual conference. Students that have completed at least half of their veterinary technology program requirements with a GPA of 3.5 or higher may apply for the MAVT scholarship.
- Amount: Five $1,000 scholarships
- Deadline: Varies
- Who Should Apply: Students in good standing at an Association of Veterinary Technicians-accredited college in Minnesota are eligible to apply for this award. Those with a record of community involvement may also apply for the Mollie Jean Mahowald Award, for an additional $1,000 in scholarship funding.
Alabama Veterinary Technician Association Scholarship
The Alabama Veterinary Technician Association (AVTA) represents and promotes the veterinary technology profession in Alabama. Together with an alliance of professional organizations, they provide direction and continuing education that ensures competent care and humane treatment of all animals. The following scholarship is awarded to two full-time veterinary technology distance education students.
- Amount: $500 will be awarded to 2 Veterinary Technology Distance Education students
- Deadline: October 2020
- Who Should Apply: Applicants must live and work in Alabama. They must be full-time students in a veterinary technology program, should have a minimum 3.0 GPA in high school or previous college courses, a 500-word essay, and two letters of recommendation.
Wisconsin Veterinary Technician Association Scholarship
Founded in 1989, the Wisconsin Veterinary Technician Association (WVTA) promotes the professionalism and ethical behavior of all veterinary technicians. The organization supports continuing education opportunities, encourage communication among vet techs, and represent vet techs in legislative matters. Winners receive a financial award as well as mentorship from a board member and free admission to WVTA continuing education events that year.
- Amount: $500
- Deadline: April 2020
- Who Should Apply: Those with participation and leadership in relevant extracurricular activities are the primary focus of this scholarship. Applicants must also be enrolled in an accredited vet tech program, and have completed at least one semester at either Madison Area Technical College or Globe University in Wisconsin.
The New Hampshire Veterinary Technician Association (NHVTA) promotes the professional and educational advancement of veterinary technicians, championing progressive and human medical care for all creatures. The organization certifies technicians within the state, holds conferences, provides continuing education, offers volunteer and internship opportunities, and lobbies for the interest of veterinary technicians in state and federal legislation. The NHVTA supports the veterinary technology profession and funds an annual scholarship for veterinary nursing and veterinary technology students.
- Amount: $1,000
- Deadline: Deadline for 2020 not available, but it was December 31 last year
- Who Should Apply: Applicants must be members of the NHVTA, and membership is free for students. Applicants must also be either permanent residents of New Hampshire or enrolled at an accredited vet tech program in New Hampshire.
School-Specific Vet Tech Scholarships
PVM Global Scholarship
The Purdue University PVM Global Scholarship program provides Purdue’s first and second-year veterinary technology students with the chance to broaden their education with international travel awards. Recipients will be chosen based on how international travel will advance the applicant’s educational, career, and cultural objectives. The Purdue veterinary medicine school offers several other scholarships, including the Purdue Moves Semester Study Abroad Scholarship, which is open to undergraduate veterinary technicians and has several deadlines throughout the year.
- Amount: $500 – $1,500
- Deadline: January 23, 2020
- Who Should Apply: Students are encouraged to enroll in the school’s international veterinary medicine course before applying. Eligible applicants include veterinary technology and doctor of veterinary medicine students.
Dr. Suanne Davis Roueche Vet Tech Scholarship
The veterinary technology program at Austin Community College (ACC) prepares students to become a licensed vet tech. The following scholarship was created for ACC students who need financial assistance for books, fees, and tuition. Previous winners may re-apply for each year they remain in the program.
- Amount: $1,000
- Deadline: Varies
- Who Should Apply: Applicants must be students at ACC, must have already completed the prerequisite coursework for the veterinary technology program, and must have maintained a minimum 2.5 GPA in all college work.
Kelly Stadler Animal Lovers Memorial Scholarship
Accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the associate’s degree in veterinary technology at St. Petersburg College may be completed entirely online. Students of the program may apply for the following scholarship by submitting a one-page essay describing why they are pursuing a degree in veterinary technology. Scholarships are awarded to two applicants.
- Amount: Two $750 scholarships
- Deadline: February 19, 2020
- Who Should Apply: Applicants will need to be accepted into a program at St. Petersburg College, and submit their application through the St. Petersburg College Foundation. This scholarship is available to AS and BAS students. Candidates must be in good academic standing, with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Financial need is taken into consideration.