Veterinary Technology Frequently Asked Questions
- Why should I consider the Veterinary Technology program for my education? What sets this program apart from other programs?
People who consider this profession have a deep love and respect for animals and a desire to provide them and their owners with the best care possible. Veterinary Technology (VT) is a two year diploma program. It is the same program that in other provinces is called Animal Health Technology (AHT). The curriculum for the VT/AHT programs varies across provinces, but by the end of each program the graduate has covered the same materials and skills. As a VT student you will learn all aspects of medical and surgical nursing care; take samples, run laboratory tests; take radiographs; perform anesthetic and surgical prep, maintenance and recovery of patients; dispense medications according to doctor orders and perform sanitation and cleaning of all areas in the clinic - rooms, equipment, instruments and kennels.
The Saskatchewan Polytechnic VT program differs because students complete their last semester at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) located on the University of Saskatchewan Campus. Students are taught by many of the same professionals that teach the veterinary students. Your time there includes clinical rotations in large and small animal anesthesiology, intensive care, large animal medicine and field service, diagnostic imaging, and surgical nursing. In addition you will complete two separate five week practicums at private clinics or other facilities (away from the WCVM) in the middle of the fourth semester.
- Is this program accredited?
The VT Program is accredited by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA), the national accrediting body for Animal Health and Veterinary Technology diploma programs. Graduates write a national exam at the end of their second year and must pass it to become a Registered Veterinary Technologist (RVT) with the provincial association [Saskatchewan Association of Veterinary Technologists (SAVT)] to work in Saskatchewan. Once registered with the SAVT, your credentials are transferrable across all the provinces in Canada see www.savt.ca.
- Is Saskatchewan Polytechnic easier than university?
Many students find the workload more demanding at Saskatchewan Polytechnic. Remember: the skills needed to be employed in this field are delivered in only two years (73 academic weeks). The course schedule is set and runs much more like a job or high-school than like a schedule common to universities. Expect seven hours of instruction every weekday, 8 am to 4pm, with a lunch break. Expect related homework in the evenings and weekends in order to keep pace. Your instructors know who you are and you are expected to attend all lectures, laboratories and clinical assignments, including some Saturdays.
- What are the admission requirements?
Grade 12 with a minimum of 70% in each of the following subjects:
- Biology 30
- Chemistry 30
- 30 level Mathematics
- combined average of 70% is required in English Language Arts A30 and English - Language Arts B30
- there is an English Language Requirement;
- 60 hours documented veterinarian-supervised volunteer or work experience
- Mandatory orientation session
- Are there any additional requirements following acceptance into the program?
Students are required to have a clear pair of safety glasses for the science labs and two clean white lab coats that are knee length with long sleeves, a stethoscope, two pair of dark green or blue, long sleeved coveralls and rubber boots. In addition, the rabies prophylaxis immunization series is required before or upon entry into the program. It is strongly recommended that the usual vaccinations, such as tetanus are also up to date, Students will order name tags the first week of classes that must be worn to all labs and at all clinical sites.
- Where will the program be offered?
The first three semesters occur at Saskatchewan Polytechnic Saskatoon Campus,Idylwyld Dr. The fourth semester occurs at the Western college of Veterinary Medicine on the University of Saskatchewan Campus. In addition there are off campus labs or clinical rotations that students must either carpool to or take the bus. The fourth semester of training is at the U of S and the two 5 week external practicums may be located outside of Saskatoon, involving own transportation and living arrangements.
- How many seats will be available?
The annual intake is 24 students.
- Will you be considering out-of-province applicants to the program?
We consider all qualified applicants.
- Will you be considering international applicants to the program?
We consider all qualified applicants. A working knowledge of scientific and medical terms and proficiency in written and spoken English is required. Selected applicants must write the Accuplacer English and Math test.
- Will there be designated seats for Aboriginal students?
We have designated seats for Aboriginal students.
- If I have a disability, what type of support services will be available to me?
Applicants with a professionally diagnosed and documented disability need to meet with the equity counsellor prior to entry into the VT program where available accommodations will be discussed,( including a partial load, extension to your studies) and relayed to the program head.
In cases where a disability is suspected during the course of studies, the student will be referred to the equity counsellor for assessment and accommodation. These activities take an extended period of time to complete and will delay implementation of accommodations so applicants with a suspected, but as yet undiagnosed learning problem should make an appointment to see a counsellor to move the diagnosis and testing process along before registration.
- I’m missing a high school prerequisite. Is there an equivalent course that I can take?
If you are missing a high school prerequisite, there are a few options to complete the course requirement. You can either pursue studies through the high school system (www.saskschoolboards.ca) or you can complete the high school equivalent at Saskatchewan Polytechnic or the University of Regina or Saskatchewan. The following are guides to what the course equivalents would be:
High School pre-req. courses
U of S* equivalents
(check U of S website for updated course codes)
CHEMISTRY 30 CHEM 112.3 ENGLISH A & ENGLISH B 30 ENG 110.6 MATH LEVEL 30 MATH 100.6
High School pre-req. courses
U of R* equivalents
BIOLOGY 30 BIO 100 CHEMISTRY 30 Students can take CHEM 100 if they do not presently have CHEM 30 OR if the CHEM 30 grade is below 70% OR if CHEM 30 was taken more than five years ago. ENGLISH A30 & ENGLISH B 30 ENG 100 Any Level 30 Math is accepted. MATH LEVEL A30 AMTH 001 (non-credit) OR Math 101 (credit)
MATH LEVEL B30
AMTH 002 (non-credit) OR Math 101 (credit) MATH LEVEL C30 AMTH 003 (non-credit) OR Math 101 (credit)
* Courses from other Universities or Colleges will be evaluated individually for equivalency.
Students who are missing the Math or English prerequisite may write the Accuplacer test at Saskatchewan Polytechnic to achieve the necessary standing.
- What does FQFA (First Qualified/First Admitted) mean?
When we determine that you meet the program's admission requirements, you will be offered admission based on the date you fully qualify for the program. The earlier you provide the appropriate documents and information that qualify you for admission to the next intake, the earlier you might begin your studies. Your application, once qualified, is always considered for the next intake.
- Where do I apply?
Saskatchewan Polytechnic Saskatoon Campus, Idylwyld Dr.
Toll Free: 1–866–goSIAST (467–4278)
Online Admissions Login
- What is the application fee?
To receive the most current information regarding application fees, please follow the link saskpolytech.ca/admissions/tuition-and-fees/application-fees.aspx
- Can I apply if I am still in high school?
Current high-school students who are enrolled in the grade level that will qualify them for admission to the program of their choice may apply on or after September 1 each year (First Qualified/First Admitted programs).
High-school students or persons taking Basic Education upgrading should apply as soon as they are enrolled in the courses that qualify them for the program. Saskatchewan Polytechnic accepts interim statements of marks and confirmations of registration as conditional qualifications for programs.
- What is the application deadline?
Programs using the FQFA process receive applications year round and maintain an application pool for each academic year.
- When will I know if I am accepted into the program?
You will be notified by mail regarding the status of your application. The first round of acceptances are sent in early December, however, if there are still seats available in the program or if seats become available, you may be notified at any time prior to the start date of the program.
- I received my offer of admission. Now what do I do?
Congratulations! To hold your seat in the program, a deposit of $300 or a letter from your sponsoring agent is required within 30 days of the date on your acceptance letter. This fee can be paid in person at any of the four Saskatchewan Polytechnic campus Registration Service offices or by phone if paying with Visa or MasterCard.
- How long is the program?
It is a two year program that is 73 weeks. The first year is 36 weeks and the second year is 37 weeks long with a break in the middle of the 4th semester for two 5 week practicums with a one week semester break.
- I am transferring from another post-secondary institution. Will I be eligible for transfer credit?
Transfer credits are possible depending on the content of the courses being similar to the Saskatchewan Polytechnic courses and occurring within five years of entry to the Veterinary Technology Program. Transfer credit requests are processed during the first week of classes and must always be accompanied by an original transcript from the post-secondary institution.
- Can I work part-time while going to school?
Expect to be in classrooms and labs seven hours every weekday. Many courses also require additional two-three hours homework in the evenings and weekends.
It is strongly suggested that students have their finances in place before they start to avoid having to work while going to school.
- How much will the tuition cost?
For current tuition and fees for programs check the Veterinary Technology program page.
- Where can I buy my books and other materials?
Visit saskpolytech.ca/bookstore and select the Saskatoon Bookstore. From there you can buy textbooks or view booklists.
You can also order by phone from the bookstore call centre at 1-866-569-8398.
- Are scholarships and bursaries available?
Scholarships are provided to Saskatchewan Polytechnic students thanks to the support of many individuals: alumni, students, faculty, staff, businesses, organizations and foundations.
Visit saskpolytech.ca/scholarships for more information.
- What is the Veterinary Technology Program about?
This program will train you in the skills and knowledge needed to work in a veterinary clinic, animal production facility, research, education or sales. There are no animal holding facilities at Saskatoon campus so the program offers a wide variety of lectures, labs and experiences in the first three semesters before going to the WCVM in semester four. There will be tours to animal facilities, rotations in local veterinary practices, Saturday Vaccination clinics at the WCVM, seminars and guest speakers. In addition to learning from experienced veterinary technologists, interns, residents and specialists at the WCVM there are two required practicum experiences; one that will occur in a small animal practice and one in another type of facility that could include mixed or large animal practice, research or zoo.
- What can I expect to do in the career?
Expect to be devoted to your patients and clients and for ensuring the best medical and surgical care possible. Animal health is a service profession and a clinic’s success is based on satisfied clients, hygienic surroundings, personal responsibility and attention to detail. You will work as a team member with good organizational skills and a high level of professionalism. You are responsible for clinic hygiene and cleanliness; stocking exam rooms and the pharmacy; ensuring instruments are washed, packaged and sterilized before the next surgical procedure; producing accurate laboratory results and diagnostic quality radiographs; accurately following treatment protocols; maintaining records and patient recovery after a procedure. There is no task too large or small that should escape your attention. The veterinarian is relying on you to be self-directed, follow safety regulations and to always put the patient first. You must remain calm and composed in the face of an emergency, whether it is performing triage or giving comfort to a distraught owner. You are expected to be competent in many areas.
- Where am I likely to find employment?
Around 95% of new graduates take their first job in a private clinic. This gives valuable experience should you decide to work at a larger specialty practice or at a teaching hospital like the Western College of Veterinary Medicine. It is even possible (if you plan on finishing a degree) to teach at a College or Institute where there is an Animal Health or Veterinary Technology diploma program. There are also opportunities to specialize in a post-diploma discipline, like emergency medicine, anesthesiology or dentistry. A few students also decide to go back to University to be able to apply for entry to train as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.
Some graduates go into research in facilities like the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization where they could be working on finding vaccines for animal and human diseases. There is work in the pet pharmaceutical, pet product or pet food industry.
There is also work in many related fields for which you do not need a diploma but where a diploma gives you more credibility and knowledge; the local or provincial SPCA; pet stores, grooming or kennel and boarding facilities; dog training centers, livestock handling and production facilities.
- What is a realistic salary range to expect?
According to the 2010 Saskatchewan Association of Veterinary Technologists wage survey the most common starting wage for a graduate in Saskatchewan was between $13-14/hr; with the overall range for all technologists from $10.50 to 28/hr (please see www.savt.ca). Technologists, who work in practices in Regina or Saskatoon and for large private firms, generally earn more than their counterparts elsewhere in the province.
- What part of the province would I most likely be employed?
It may be difficult to find a job in Saskatoon upon graduation due to the presence of WCVM and Saskatchewan Polytechnic students in this city, but there are jobs available in many parts of Saskatchewan. Just like for human medicine it is difficult to recruit veterinary clinic staff to smaller centres.
- Can I work in other parts of Canada?
Our graduates are eligible for jobs in provinces across Canada and into some states in the USA (please see www.navta.net) for requirements for specific states.
- Does the Veterinary Technology Program accept out-of-country applicants?
The first priority is for Canadian citizens. The Veterinary Technology program has a high number of applicants versus seat availability, therefore it is highly unlikely that an out-of-country applicant would be approved.
- Can an applicant perform their 60 hours at a shelter?
The intent of the 60 hours is to understand the role of a veterinary technologist in a clinical setting. This is not possible unless the shelter has a full-time veterinarian employed on-site.
Last updated May 11, 2017