Vet Schools In California – (A Quick Guide To All California Veterinary Schools)

There are only two colleges in California where you can earn a DVM degree, Davis and Western. Davis, alongside Cornell, ranks among the top veterinary schools in the country. As you probably already know: Cornell is one of the top vet schools in NY.

As for the rest of the schools on our list, they are all vet tech schools. Additionally if you want to become a vet tech, know that all the schools are relatively good, and it’s best to choose the least expensive one. However, remember to look up online reviews of each program; you may find more info here.

Why is California a Good Place to Attend Veterinary School?

Vet schools in california

California is a awesome place to attend veterinary school because you have one school (Davis) in Northern, CA not far from the Redwood National Forest and San Francisco. On the other hand, you have Western in the southern town of Pomona, which is not far from Long Beach and LA.

The Western vet school requirements are similar to any other vet school in the US. Western has whats called problem-based learning (PBL). They prefer to admit students who demonstrate that they will excel with this self-learning model.

With Davis taking the lead for the best vet school in the US multiple years in a row, it’s highly competitive. Learn more about the California Davis vet school requirements here.

How Many Years Is Vet School in California?

Vet schools in California are just as long as any other veterinary program in the US. Veterinary school in California is a four-year program for a DVM degree. However, if you are in a pre-vet undergrad program, it will also be four years, but you’ll graduate with a bachelor’s degree.

Then if you want to become a vet tech, that is usually a 2-year associate’s program. Learn the answer to “how long does it take to become a vet tech” here.

Are Vet School Requirements Different in California?

Are Vet School Requirements Different in California? The answer is no; the vet school requirements are not different for California.

Remember that vet school requirements are similar across all schools, although the prerequisites may differ. For example, Colorado State University and UF do not require the GRE. However, it would help if you still had the GRE for UC Davis, but on the other hand, Western no longer requires it.

So if you’re looking to attend one of the veterinary schools in California, the best thing to do is look into the specific requirements of the one you’re interested in.


Many schools no longer require the GRE. Here is a list of vet schools that don’t need the GRE. The list is constantly being updated since more and more schools no longer require the GRE. However, Davis still requires the GRE as of 2023.


Western clearly states on its webpage that all prerequisites must have a “C” or better. But it does not set a lower GPA limit. In contrast, UC Davis says all students who apply must have a minimum GPA of 2.5. Furthermore, we interviewed one Davis student who had to apply three times before beating the UC Davis vet school acceptance rate!

Although most students have a high GPA, both schools have a holistic approach to admissions.


Volunteering to help others is an invaluable experience that takes many forms. You may have the chance not only to work with animals but also with research and biomedical issues!


Many students work on research projects in their undergrad laboratory classes or as paid employees in a lab. Some of these projects will look great on an application!


Acing the interview significantly affects your acceptance into a vet program. Davis uses the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) technique; you can practice this before interviewing. 

The Western interview will be two 15-minute sessions where they will ask two behavioral-type questions; learn more about it here.

Veterinary Experience

Experience is an essential part of all vet school applications. Work on getting those veterinary experience hours early on, and you may get a letter of recommendation from the veterinarian you are working under.

Recommendation Letters

All vet school schools require letters of recommendation from a veterinarian and professors.

What Does Vet School Cost in California?

The average cost for one year at UC Davis as a California resident in 2023 is $64,000. On the other hand, for a non-resident, the tuition in 2023 is approximately $75,500.

For Western, the average tuition for one year in 2023 for California residents and non-residents is $85,000.

A List Of The Best Vet Schools In California

#1 UC DAVIS (Vet Schools in California)

UC Davis a vet school in CA

UC Davis has a teaching hospital that often takes on complex cases. Furthermore, Davis is the place for you if you want a challenge at a top-notch institution.

Tuition – $32,600/year for full-time education (not including room and board or books)

Degree – DVM


#2 Western University of Health Sciences (Vet Schools in California)

Western allows students to work on cases beginning in year one. You’ll be able to gain experience in a variety of services and specialties through their various clinical rotations.

Tuition – $58,000/year for full-time tuition (not including room and board or books)

Degree – DVM


List of California Schools That Offer a Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Technology

vet tech schools in California

#1 California State Polytechnic University-Pomona (Vet Schools in California)

With the shortage of veterinary services ever since the pandemic, there is a growing need for licensed vet techs. Cal Poly is the only school in California that offers a bachelor’s degree in veterinary technology. After the four-year program, you’ll be skilled at taking x-rays, assisting in surgeries, and so much more.

Tuition: In-state tuition is $10,195; Out-of-state tuition is $28,105 for full-time education.

Degree – Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Technology


California Schools Where You Can Get Certified As A Vet Tech By an Associate’s Degree

Questions to ask admissions before you choose a vet tech program:

  • How much hands-on experience do I get?
  • Are there labs where we get to work directly with animals?
  • Do the professors offer office hours for extra help?
  • Does the college help with job placement after graduation?

#1 Carrington’s Veterinary Technology program

There are multiple campuses all over California, so you can get your vet tech certificate or degree no matter where you live. However, many prior students say that the Sacramento campus is the best one. The program consists of classroom and clinical instructions, so you’ll leave ready for the real world.

#2 Central Coast College

At Central Coast College, students receive real-world, on-the-job experience through an externship. The externship can also help with future job prospects as it will introduce you to veterinarians in the community. Just be aware that many former students say the teachers are not that great. Make sure you check reviews before spending money here.

Degree – Associate’s Degree in Veterinary Technology


#3 Cosumnes River College

Since this college has held its accreditation since 1975 and they have a DVM running the vet tech program, it’s a great choice. The school is also affordable and offers financial aid, making it an excellent option for those with tight budgets.

Furthermore the one thing they have going for them more than some of the other associate degree programs is that the staff and professors all want to help you succeed.

Degree – Associate’s Degree in Veterinary Technology


#4 Foothill College

If you live in the greater San Francisco Bay Area, Foothill College will be your number one choice for a veterinary technician degree. Additionally the college will help you become a certified vet tech and gain employment in a veterinary office.

You’ll also learn how to run diagnostic tests, read lab results, and restrain animals. It’s one of the only options for vet schools in the California bay area, where you can get a start on your vet tech career.

Degree – Associate’s Degree in Veterinary Technology


#5 Los Angeles Pierce College

Pierce takes a lot of pride in its vet tech program. They even have a teaching lab with multiple species of animals. You’ll learn surgical assistance, anesthesia administration, animal restraint, and more in this top-notch program.

They even have a collection of veterinary books and magazines to help you succeed and gain more knowledge. You even have access to farms and livestock! If you are getting a vet tech degree with the ultimate goal of moving on to becoming a veterinarian, then Pierce is a great place to start! Look into all of the accredited vet schools in California, where you can get a jump start on your veterinary career.

Degree – Associate’s Degree in Veterinary Technology


#6 Mount San Antonio College

Although their tuition is lower than Carrington, the program has a lot of problems. Sometimes it will take more than two years to gain a vet tech degree because they don’t have the classes you need to complete. Keep this in mind when choosing a school to attend, and ask these questions to the admissions department before you sign up for their vet tech program.

Degree – Associate’s Degree in Veterinary Technology


#7 PIMA Medical Institute

There’s one in Chula Vista and one in San Marcos, so no matter where you live, you can find a place to take your vet tech courses. In this 18-month course, you’ll get real-world cases and plenty of hands-on time with animals.

Not only can you get a vet tech degree, they also have a veterinary assistant degree. Learn more about the differences between veterinary tech vs assistant here.

Degree – Associate’s Degree in Veterinary Technology


#8 Platt College

Platt colleges all over CA, including Alhambra, Anaheim, Ontario, and Riverside. Whichever Platt College you choose, make sure you check with former students. Ask them about the hands-on experience. It’s the hands-on experience that will help you succeed once you get a job as a vet tech.

Furthermore, it’s known that some Platt Colleges have more hands-on labs than others. Choose carefully.

Degree – Associate’s Degree in Veterinary Technology


#9 San Diego Mesa College

San Diego Mesa became accredited by the AVMA for its veterinary technology program in 2020, but don’t let the newly minted accreditation stop you from attending. They go above and beyond to ensure you have the knowledge and skills to perform clinical procedures upon graduation. It’s one of the great vet schools in California, where you can get a start on your vet tech career.

Degree – Associate’s Degree in Veterinary Technology


#10 San Joaquin Valley College

You can get your vet tech degree in 19 months. This central California associates program can help you get the hands-on experience you need to land an excellent job in a veterinary office. They will teach you how to interact with clients, take vital signs, administer medications, and much more.

Degree – Associate’s Degree in Veterinary Technology


#11 San Joaquin Valley College-Ontario (formerly Carrington College-Ontario)

This vet tech school underwent plenty of changes in the last few years, but it’s a great place to get a vet tech degree if you live in Central California. They have all the hands-on experience and exams you need, making it an excellent choice for those looking to become a vet tech. Since their Fresno campus has such great reviews, you can do the same at their Ontario campus.

Degree – Associate’s Degree in Veterinary Technology


#12 Stanbridge University

You’ll need to pass this exam to get your license and certification to become a vet tech. It’s been accredited by the AVMA since 2015 and is an excellent choice for those looking to become vet techs. For the past few years, Stanbridge vet tech students have had an 84% VTNE pass rate.

You’ll learn the skills for taking vital signs, restraining animals, and keeping track of client charts.

Degree – Associate’s Degree in Veterinary Technology


#13 Yuba College

Yuba goes all out by giving its students plenty of exposure to various animals. Recently they got to work with Alpacas, and then a few months before, they took their students to a zoo to learn about gaining a vet tech career at a zoo.

Yuba tries to go above and beyond to ensure their veterinary technician graduates are incredibly versatile in their skill sets. If your ultimate goal is learning how to become a zoo vet, this college will lead you on the journey.

Degree – Associate’s Degree in Veterinary Technology


A List Of California Colleges With Pre-Vet Programs

We will only list some California colleges with a pre-vet program because, in all reality, you can take pre-vet courses at any undergrad school. Of course, Davis and Western have dedicated pre-vet programs, but colleges have one.


While UCLA does not have a dedicated veterinary program, you can major in one of the sciences and use that towards a pre-vet degree.

Degree – Bachelor’s Degree in Science


California State University

You can take pre-vet courses at most CSU campuses, which will focus on the sciences and math. You’ll take classes in biology, chemistry, physics, and more.

Degree – Bachelor’s Degree in Science


Final Thoughts for Vet Schools in California

Choosing a vet school in California can be difficult, with many great options. We’ve provided you with a guide for the best vet schools in California and a quick guide to what each one offers. Whether you’re looking for a traditional four-year program or an associate’s degree in veterinary technology, we have something for you.

If you still need to decide, remember that the AVMA accredits all these schools. Furthermore, they will provide the skills and knowledge you need to gain employment in a veterinary setting.

Further Reading on Vet Tech Careers

How much do vet techs make in upstate New York? (plus, how much do they make in NYC?)

Gifts for vet techs: astonishing ideas for holidays and birthdays!