veterinarian assistant, yes. A veterinarian assistant doesn't require any degree. My sister is a veterinarian assistant and doesn't have a degree.
A veterinarian technician, no.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredits veterinary technician programs throughout the U.S. that are conducted in laboratory or clinical settings involving the humane use of live animals. Most AVMA-accredited programs lead to an associate' degree after two years but some lead to a four-year baccalaureate degree. Students earning a baccalaureate degree usually receive higher salaries and greater level of job responsibilities.
A period of clinical experience in a veterinary practice is required for all students in an AVMA-accredited veterinary technology program. This period of hands-on training is called a preceptorship, practicum, or externship, and is a critical component of the veterinary technician program.
As far as respected, I guess that depends on who you ask. You must really love animals if you want to be successful as a Vet because you will have to have about 8 years or so of college for your medical degree. You must have very high scores on the VCAT, GRE and MCAT . A lot of colleges place heavy consideration on a candidate’s veterinary and animal experience, so you should be working in the field before you apply. Formal experience, such as work with veterinarians or scientists in clinics, agribusiness, research, or some area of health science, is particularly advantageous
When you graduate and get your state license, you must go through an internship where your pay will be low, in the $30,000's until you get your practice established.
Veterinarians must obtain a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree and a State license. There is keen competition for admission to veterinary school.
Education and training.
Prospective veterinarians must graduate with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M. or V.M.D.) degree from a 4-year program at an accredited college of veterinary medicine. There are 28 colleges in 26 States that meet accreditation standards set by the Council on Education of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).
The prerequisites for admission to veterinary programs vary. Many programs do not require a bachelor’s degree for entrance, but all require a significant number of credit hours—ranging from 45 to 90 semester hours—at the undergraduate level. However, most of the students admitted have completed an undergraduate program and earned a bachelor’s degree. Applicants without a degree face a difficult task gaining admittance.
Preveterinary courses should emphasize the sciences. Veterinary medical colleges typically require applicants to have taken classes in organic and inorganic chemistry, physics, biochemistry, general biology, animal biology, animal nutrition, genetics, vertebrate embryology, cellular biology, microbiology, zoology, and systemic physiology. Some programs require calculus; some require only statistics, college algebra and trigonometry, or pre-calculus. Most veterinary medical colleges also require some courses in English or literature, other humanities, and the social sciences. Increasingly, courses in general business management and career development have become a standard part of the curriculum to teach new graduates how to effectively run a practice.
In addition to satisfying preveterinary course requirements, applicants must submit test scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), the Veterinary College Admission Test (VCAT), or the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), depending on the preference of the college to which they are applying. Currently, 22 schools require the GRE, 4 require the VCAT, and 2 accept the MCAT.
There is keen competition for admission to veterinary school. The number of accredited veterinary colleges has remained largely the same since 1983, but the number of applicants has risen significantly. Only about 1 in 3 applicants was accepted in 2005.
The average annual salary for veterinarians in the Federal Government was $84,335 in 2007.
According to a survey by the American Veterinary Medical Association, average starting salaries of veterinary medical college graduates in 2006 varied by type of practice as follows:
Large animals, exclusively $61,029
Small animals, predominantly 57,117
Small animals, exclusively 56,241
Private clinical practice 55,031
Large animals, predominantly 53,397
Mixed animals 52,254
Equine (horses) 40,130