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Top 9 Veterinary Schools in Arizona: 2023 Guide


Choosing to become a veterinarian or a veterinarian’s assistant is a rewarding career move that will have you actively working to help animals as part of your daily job. 

The Tucson, Arizona campus of the Pima Medical Institute. Photo: Lisa Harris / Flickr / CC BY NC ND 2.0

In addition, taking the course to become a vet, vet assistant, or technician will help the state address a veterinary shortage that currently impacts much of Arizona and the neighboring states. 

Essentially, with job security, salaries going up to $99,000+, and the option to truly help your community, studying to become a veterinarian is a great choice in Arizona. 

The table below shows a brief overview of the top veterinary schools in Arizona. In addition, we’ve covered the top veterinary assistant schools in the state as well:

Veterinary SchoolTypeLocationDuration
University of Arizona College of Veterinary MedicineVeterinary DoctorateOro Valley 3 years 
Midwestern University Veterinary DoctorateGlendale 4 years 
Pima Medical Institute Pre-vet, Veterinary Assistant, Veterinary TechnicianEast Valley, Phoenix, Tucson, Chula Vista, Online 9-24 months 
Carrington College Veterinary Assistant, Veterinary Technician Mesa, Phoenix, Tucson 9-24 months 
Paradise Valley Community College Pre-vet Phoenix, Scottsdale2-4 years 
Mesa Community College Veterinary Assistant, Veterinary Technician Mesa 9-24 months 
Penn Foster Veterinary Assistant, Veterinary Technician Online 9-12 months 
East Valley Institute of Technology (EVIT)Veterinary Assistant Mesa 2 years 
West-MECVeterinary Assistant, Veterinary Technician Phoenix 2 years 

Veterinary Doctorate Schools In Arizona

1. University of Arizona College of Veterinary Medicine 

The University of Arizona College of Veterinary Medicine is the nation’s 31st veterinary program offering  graduate and undergraduate veterinary programs.  

The 3-year graduate program requires a minimum of 90 credits to enroll and offers pre-clinical classes, training rotation between Arizona’s veterinary hospitals and zoos, and a period at the Reid Park Zoo in Tucson. However, the college is based in Oro Valley, not at the Tucson campus. 

A separate Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Science offers a 4-year undergraduate course. 

The College of Veterinary Medicine opened in August of 2020 with just 100 students and now takes on 100-150 new students per year. No doubt, this is the top veterinary school in Arizona.

Website: UACVM 

2. Midwestern University College of Veterinary Medicine 

The Midwestern University College of Veterinary Medicine was the first veterinary school in Arizona. Today, it’s one of two options to study for a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. 

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Midwestern University is located in Glendale, Arizona, typically taking on 100-120 students per year. Like UACVM, the Midwestern University program involves diverse rotation through clinical facilities on and off campus. 

The Midwestern University is a private college. Its College of Veterinary Medicine has a 93% acceptance rate and a 92% graduation rate. 

However, the college requires a minimum of 240 hours of veterinary-related experience plus three letters of recommendation to be considered for the program. 

Website: MUCVM 

Pre-Vet Schools In Arizona

3. Pima Medical Institute 

Pima Medical Institute offers a CVTEA-accredited Associate in applied sciences and a certificate as a veterinary technician or assistant. 

The Assistant program is shorter, with 9 months of expected study. With locations in Tucson, Phoenix, East Valley in Mesa, Chula Valley, and online learning, Pima offers a significant number of options to study nearer to home. 

The veterinarian technician program offers 78.5 credits and an externship. This means it’s not suitable as a pre-vet course for the Arizona State veterinary program

However, it does offer 1,775 hours over the course of 18 months and you can supplement with other science minors to make the prerequisite 90 course credits. 

Website: PMI 

4. Carrington College 

Carrington College offers an associate degree as a Veterinary Technician with a course length of 19-24 months. The program is available in Arizona as well as in every state Carrington operates in. 

That makes this program ideal for anyone who wants to move into the state and bring pre-vet education with them. However, the Carrington College program is only 9 months, meaning it is not enough to qualify as pre-vet for a Doctoral program. 

On the other hand, Carrington is fully accredited and will allow you to work as a veterinary assistant or technician anywhere in the Midwest. 

Website: Carrington College

5. Paradise Valley Community College 

Phoenix-based Paradise Valley Community College is one of the best veterinary schools in Arizona for pre-vet studies. 

If you’re not going directly to the Arizona University, Paradise Valley specifically designs its program around the attendance needs of AU, meaning you’ll have an easier time with admittance and meeting the requirements. 

In addition, Paradise Valley can help you to tailor a pre-vet program to specifically meet the needs of the veterinary school you want to apply for.

This means that when you take the pre-vet program at Paradise Valley, you specifically study to meet the course requirements and the 90 credit hours specified by the University of Arizona and the Midwestern College of Veterinary Medicine.  

Website: Paradise Valley Community College

6. Mesa Community College

Mesa Community College offers both a certificate and an Associate Degree option with possibilities to create a custom program around your pre-vet course needs. In addition, it’s one of the few programs with no real entrance requirements for the first year, although the second year is competitive. 

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It’s also one of several veterinary schools in Maricopa County, meaning you’ll have opportunities for externships and to meet students outside of your specific class. Mesa Community College also offers some externship opportunities with real-world experience in clinics and practices. 

Completing the full Associate in Applied Science in Veterinary Technology will earn you 82 to 89.5 credits, meeting most of the requirements for a University of Arizona Doctoral study. Thus, if you want to study pre-vet, rest assured this is one of the best veterinary schools in central Arizona.

Website: Mesa Community College 

7. Penn Foster College

Penn Foster is one of the few primarily online veterinarian assistant schools in Arizona. The program offers two courses, either a 12-month NAVTA-approved Veterinary Assistant program or a 9-month AVMA-CVTEA accredited veterinary technician program. 

However, the Penn Foster vet tech program is entirely designed around helping you to take and pass the VTNE exam. Therefore, it’s not a good pre-vet course if you’re intending to move your education into a doctoral study. 

On the other hand, if you would like to work as a vet tech, this course is fully self-paced and fully online – which can give you more freedom to take the course while meeting other responsibilities. 

Website: Penn Foster 

8. East Valley Institute of Technology 

The East Valley Institute of Technology (EVIT) offers a 30-credit hour veterinary assistant program to high school students who have met qualifications. 

This program is intended as a preparatory study to accelerate a Veterinarian Technician Associate’s program or course and includes transfer to the PMI Community College program for graduating students who would like to continue the education. 

This program includes a part-time focus on veterinary science with a hands-on approach, including practical and lab work. One of the best veterinary schools for high school students in Arizona.

Website: EVIC

9. West-MEC 

Similar to East Valley, West-MEC offers a 2-year veterinary technician or assistant program designed around high school students. 

However, this program is also open to adult learners. This program primarily centers around veterinary science including lab, operating machinery, and fieldwork, with preparation for the National Association of Veterinary Technicians Certification Exam and the OSHA 10 exam included in the program. 

In addition, this 2-year program is available in Phoenix, Surprise, and Buckeye. With a large number of hands-on activities included in the study, it is one of the best in-person only veterinary schools in Arizona

Website: West-MEC 

Accredited Veterinarian Colleges in Arizona

Currently, there are only 31 accredited veterinarian colleges in the United States and two official veterinary schools in Arizona. 

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One is public, the University of Arizona, which is only provisionally accredited at the moment. The next assessment will occur in 2023, when it is expected that the University of Arizona will become fully accredited. 

Midwestern University in Glendale, Arizona has been fully accredited since 2014. This is a private college while Arizona State is public. 

There are no other colleges in Arizona that allow you to study to become a veterinarian. Instead, you can do pre-vet and veterinary assistant or technician courses. 

Pre-Vet Schools in Arizona 

Pre-vet schools allow you to study for three to 24 months to achieve a certificate or an Associate degree. Some programs require on-campus presence while others offer online learning opportunities. After graduation, you’ll be able to get a job as a veterinary technician or as a veterinary assistant. 

Salaries for these positions vary depending on experience and location. You can expect salaries between $24,000 and $35,000 per year.

Currently, there are over 1,000 students in Arizona studying for pre-vet, veterinarian assistance, and veterinary technician programs. 

Most veterinary technician programs are preparatory, designed to help students take and pass the VTNE (Veterinary Technician National Exam), which will allow you to work as a vet tech anywhere in the country. Most are in-person only, but there are also a few programs you can take online.

Frequently Asked Questions 

If you still have questions about studying to become a veterinarian in Arizona, these answers may help. 

What is Pre-vet? 

Pre-vet studies include a range of primarily science courses designed to provide the necessary background information to a veterinary doctoral program. These courses normally include biology. However specific requirements vary per college. 

For example, Midwestern Vet school requirements include that you have a minimum science GPA of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale. In addition, you need a minimum of 64 semester hours of study to apply. 

What’s the difference between vet tech and vet assistant? 

Vet assistants are primarily clerical and will normally make appointments, greet people, and otherwise act as an assistant in the office. 

They may sometimes assist with holding, caring for, and helping with animal maintenance and cleaning. On the other hand, veterinarian technicians normally help to operate machinery, take x-rays, and work with safety precautions in addition to animal care and maintenance. 

How do you become a veterinarian in Arizona? 

If you want to become a veterinarian, you have to study at one of the two American Veterinary Medical Association accredited schools in the state. These are 3-4 year programs and while neither requires taking a pre-Bachelor, both highly prioritize students who have. 

On the other hand, if you want to become a veterinary technician, you can study for an associate’s degree and then pass the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). There are no prerequisites for working as a veterinarian’s assistant. 

How much money do vets make in Arizona? 

Vets make between $58,000 and $156,000 in the state of Arizona. That works out to a median salary of about $92,600-$99,800 per year. 

Next Steps 

Studying to be a veterinarian requires a lot of planning and preparation. However, if you’re in Arizona, there are only two veterinarians’ schools. Therefore, choosing one should be easy, based on whether you want a public or a private education. However, you will have to choose from multiple pre-vet offerings. In addition, if you want to study as a vet tech or a vet’s assistant, you’ll have more options.