About Degree Requirements

While we find the context and the content offensive, we appreciate the opportunity to defend our amazing community of licensed veterinary technicians and clear up any misconceptions about the profession.

The correction on Jan. 18, 2017, indicating veterinary technologists require a bachelor’s degree doesn’t seem to address the bulk of the issues created by your article to begin with.

We understand that the definition of “college degree” seems to change depending on the context, but the individuals who have attained an associate degree are college graduates. What is gained in readership by undermining the efforts of millions of people? The title of the slide show could have just as easily been “25 Best Jobs That Don’t Require an Advanced Degree” or “25 Best Jobs That Don’t Require a Bachelor’s Degree.”

In New York state and 12 other states, veterinary technicians are professionally licensed by their state licensing body. This represents more than 25 percent of states; that’s not insignificant. In New York, these professionals require a degree, passage of a national board exam (VTNE) and approval for licensure by the NYS Department of Education. These are the exact same requirements for nurses, but I noticed they were not included in your slide show.

There is no indication in your slide or the overview that this is a licensed profession in many states and a credentialed profession in others. It’s also worth noting the information you have received regarding the profession was provided by an organization that has created quite a bit of controversy as of late.

While it would be impossible to detail all the essential functions of the licensed veterinary technician, we can assure you that the description provided does the profession no justice. We don’t just handle lab work and assist with surgeries. To help illustrate, we’ve included a chart that outlines some of the many contributions of veterinary technicians.


We also invite you to speak to one of our amazing licensed veterinary technicians if you’re interested in knowing more about the profession. Your article was correct in some points, this is a growing field and a profession that every technician should be proud of. Our contributions are not insignificant nor are our achievements.

On behalf of the 4,819 licensed veterinary technicians in New York state, thank you for taking the time to understand that what you summarized as a job is our passion, our livelihood and a significant contribution to the welfare of all animals.


Alexandra Poole
Executive Director, New York State Association of Veterinary Technicians (NYSAVT)

Dear Ms. Poole,

Thank you for your letter regarding “25 Best Jobs That Don’t Require a College Degree,” which highlights U.S. News’ Best Jobs of 2017 that don’t require a bachelor’s degree.

We understand that veterinary technicians work hard to gain entrance into their field, clearing educational hurdles and assessments. This list is not meant as an insult to veterinary technicians or to downplay their professionalism. Instead, it aims to show job-seekers that a great job doesn’t require a traditional four-year college degree. Like all the jobs included on this list, veterinary technicians rank high when it comes to median salary, employment rate, work-life balance, projected job growth and the other metrics we consider in these rankings.

For the purposes of this piece, we narrowed our field to jobs that don’t require a bachelor’s degree as the typical level for entry to the field. In the introductory slide, we state: “While some of these jobs require some formal post-secondary training, such as an associate degree or professional certification, none require a college degree.” According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the federal resource from which we cull our data, veterinary technicians need a two-year associate degree, credentialing exam and other certification, depending on the state in which they work. This falls squarely within our definition of not needing a college degree.

Registered nurses were not included on our list because the typical entry-level education is a bachelor’s degree. While it’s possible to get an entry level RN position with an associates or certificate, the BSN degree is becoming the new standard of entry for nursing. We aim to guide our readers to be able to successfully enter the field and want to give the right advice to do so.

We are limited in how many words we can include on each slide of this slideshow. The slide on veterinary technicians, however, does include multiple links to our veterinary technician summary page, which includes an interview with a veterinary technician, for readers who want to learn more about the details of the job.

Thank you for your letter.

Susannah Snider
Personal Finance Editor