Welcome to Vet Tech Institute Pittsburgh
We are happy you found us. Here's a quick snapshot of who we are:
Where: Downtown Pittsburgh, PA
What: Associate of Specialized Technology Degree in Veterinary Technology
How Long: 18 months start to finish
Accreditation: American Veterinary Medical Association CVTEA
Facilities Include: Kennels, surgical suite and prep area, clinical labs, radiography room, and more!
Nearby: Student housing, public transportation, parking, and recreation
When: Starting 3 times per year
Who: Faculty, staff, and (maybe) you!
We'd love to show you what we have to offer. Schedule your visit to see things first hand!
All of our students and faculty share a passion for animals. It’s that unique blend of shared passion and shared goals that creates a family like atmosphere and creates the strong bonds of friendship.
Vet Tech Institute faculty members include:
Dr. Allison Kiser recently joined Vet Tech Institute as the Program/Medical Director. Her educational background includes a B.S. in Pre-Veterinary Medicine & Biology from the University of Findlay in 2006 and then a D.V.M. degree from Iowa State in 2010. Dr. Kiser went on to complete both a comparative theriogenology internship at Iowa State University in 2011 and a residency in equine theriogenology at Texas A&M University in 2013. After practicing as an equine/mixed animal veterinarian in Ohio, South Carolina, and Wisconsin, she became the program director at another AVMA-accredited school in 2018. A native of Western Pennsylvania, she has brought back with her two horses, her greyhound, and her cat. She is also an avid fan of the Pittsburgh Penguins!
Dr. Sara Hurst earned both a B.S. in Animal Science and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Texas A&M University, before going on active duty as a Captain with the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps. Stationed at West Point, NY, she was the official veterinarian for the U.S. Army Mascot Mules. Dr. Hurst then worked in private practice for 4 years in Texas before moving to the Pittsburgh area and joining the Vet Tech Institute faculty. Dr. Hurst and her husband own many pets, including 2 French Bulldogs, a cat, 3 horses, a cockatoo, an African grey parrot, a cockatiel, a panther chameleon, and a bearded dragon.
Lisa M. Szafranski, CVT, Program Coordinator, SCNAVTA Advisor, is a graduate of the Median School of Allied Health careers and has been working in the veterinary field for over 30 years--still working part-time at VCA Duncan Manor Animal Hospital. She is certified in Canine Obedience from the National Canine College in Columbus, has taught obedience classes, and has competed in agility and obedience trials with her dogs. “Mrs. S” brings her enthusiasm and love of the field of veterinary medicine into the classroom, and her “Mrs. S-isms” are a helpful way to retain the important terminology words. Mrs. S shares her home with her beagle, Ike (whom she adopted from the school); a Parson Russell terrier, Lily (who is a certified therapy dog that goes on pre-school visits and has been in two of our commercials); a rescue Rottweiler, "Bean"; and two amazing cats, Dottie and Obi (also adopted from the school).
Nicole DiMichele, CVT,has taught at Vet Tech Institute for 13 years, and was at one time the school’s on-site kennel manager. Nicole earlier worked as a certified veterinary technician at both a busy veterinary emergency hospital and a non-emergency/routine veterinary clinic. Nicole received her B.A. in Psychology from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and her A.S.T (in veterinary technology) from Median School of Allied Health Careers; she also is a current and active member of the NAVTA, PVMA, and CVTEA organizations. Nicole is the proud owner of two dogs (an Akita and a Pit-Bull mix) and most consider her to be an avid enthusiast of the Akita Breed.
Amy Geramita, RVT, Kennel Manager,has a passion for large animal medicine, and still helps her father on their family farm, raising beef cattle, swine, and poultry. Graduating from Vet Tech Institute in 2011, her externships were at Cleveland Equine Hospital in Ravenna, Ohio and Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky. Amy then was the head veterinary technician during 3 years at a small animal and equine practice in Landrum, South Carolina. Moving to Pennsylvania to be closer to family, she spent a year as an ICU veterinary technician at Animal Emergency Clinic (now MedVet – Mahoning Valley) before joining the faculty at Vet Tech Institute. Amy and her husband have 5 animals in their home: Rowdy, a rat terrier; Belle and Brie, chihuahuas (both adopted from VTI); and 2 cats, Missy (adopted from VTI when Amy was a student) and Gus.
Nikki Girimonti, LVT, joined the faculty at Vet Tech Institute in 2007. She started by working at the local equine facility as a trainer and riding instructor while she was still in college, graduating from Duquesne University with a major in biochemistry. She began her career working overnight shifts and monitoring anesthesia in an emergency practice, eventually finding her passion in anesthesia and exotic animal medicine. She then became technical supervisor at a large referral practice where she spent countless hours in surgery. Mrs. Girimonti feels so fortunate to be able to share her variety of experiences with VTI students. She currently lives west of Pittsburgh with her husband, two children, and numerous pets.
Carolyn Klar, CVT, has been a licensed veterinary technician for 34 years, with experience in all aspects of veterinary technology as well as hospital management. After graduating from Median School in 1986, she started out in mixed animal practice where she was senior technician and surgical nurse for 8 years. Wanting to broaden her experience, she joined a large emergency hospital in Pittsburgh. She then transferred to VCA Met Vet, where she spent nearly 20 years in critical care and staff management. Carolyn also managed a small animal clinic for several years. She has 2 children: a daughter who is a graduate of WLSU's Creative Art Therapy program and a son who graduated from VTI in February 2019. She also shares her home with two dogs, Josie and Scorpio, and a kitty cat, Monster.
Rachel Russell, MA Ed, CVT, has taught at Vet Tech Institute for 12 years. She earned her BS in Veterinary Medical Technology from Wilson College and her master's (M.A. Ed.) in Teaching & Learning from Argosy University. At Argosy, she studied curricular design, English as a Second Language support, and accomodation design for learning-disabled and advanced students. While in the field, Rachel worked at a busy "24/7-365" emergency hospital and later as a head surgical anesthetist/technologist at a general practice clinic. Rachel shares her home with Loki, her orange tabby, and enjoys reading, gardening, and spending quality time with her family.
Brianne Schultz, CVT,who recently joined the VTI faculty, has four years of experience administering chemotherapy to patients and working one-on-one with clients in the Medical Oncology Department at Pittsburgh Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center. A 2014 Vet Tech Institute graduate, she also has participated in a study abroad program through the South African University.
Melissa Sowa, CVT,gathered a variety of experience after graduated from Vet Tech Institute in 2009. For four years, she was part of a 24/7- 365 practice that handled both emergencies and routine care. She then joined a fast-paced clinic that performed 30-to-40 surgeries per day; during her four years there, she completed her apprentice with AWDA and became a certifier and evaluator for SAR teams. Along the way, she has earned a B.S. from the University of Pittsburgh and a master’s degree in Industrial Organizational Psychology from Argosy University. She and her husband, Piet, live with their two German shepherds, Vader and Neo, and their cat, Isis. Melissa still finds time to teach dog classes, compete in dog sports, lead a unit on a search and rescue team, be a handler for K9 Vader and K9 Neo, and operate as a certifier for search-and-rescue k9 teams.
Russell Grego recently joined the faculty at VTI where he is an alum. His experience includes emergency medicine at VCA Met Vet West and a general practice at Canon Hill Vet Clinic, a small animal and equine practice in Canonsburg. Prior to attending VTI, Russell served as an active duty member of the U.S. Army in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. His four dogs (three Siberian huskies and a pug) are Eddard, Koda, Moose, and Otis; his two domestic short-haired cats are Toothless and Cersei; his horse is Tymmer. When the seven of them allow him some spare time, he enjoys playing hockey.
Kylie Pringle, CVT, has a passion for animals and farming that started at a very young age. She grew up on her family farm where she still helps with the three horses (two of which are retired racehorses), donkey, and 60 head of beef cattle. She started volunteering at a mixed animal veterinary hospital while in high school and then graduated from Vet Tech Institute in 2014. An externship at Performance Equine, based out of the Meadows Racetrack, boosted her love for harness racing and performance racehorse medicine. Working next at a mixed animal practice, she honed her skills in the small animal emergency department, ICU, and equine department. Recently, after another fun stint working at Performance Equine, she joined the staff at VTI. Kylie, her husband, and her son share their home with two dogs and three cats.
We encourage students to live together at Penn Commons, which is a 5 minute walk away and is located in downtown Pittsburgh's historic cultural district. We have arranged for our students to receive preferred pricing at a discount to Penn Common's already affordable rates. Living with other Vet Tech Institute students at Penn Commons is a great way to have a stronger sense of community, shorten your commute, make close friends, and experience living on your own.
Students choosing to live at Penn Commons reside in fully furnished suites. To learn more about rooms, resident amenities, and on-site security, request more information, ask your VTI representative to arrange a tour of Penn Commons, or visit the site at www.penncommons.com.
Check out the convenient student housing options at the Penn Commons website!
July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2021
Number of First-Time Test Takers
3 Year Average VTNE Pass Rate for First-Time Test Takers
Animal Care Duty
Vet Tech Institute maintains an on-site kennel housing dogs, cats, and rodents. An important part of the education provided by the Veterinary Technology program is learning hands-on the duties and responsibilities of animal care and sanitation. Therefore, all veterinary technology students are assigned to participate in kennel duty shifts before and after classes and on weekends. The number of assigned weeks depends on the number of students.
The school catalog contains specific information about school policies. You can find information on admissions policies and practices, contact information for accrediting and state licensing agencies, information on tuition and fees, refund policies and other consumer information.
The Vet Tech Institute Veterinary Technology program is currently accredited by the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA) of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). The address and telephone number of the American Veterinary Medical Association are 1931 N. Meacham Road, Schaumburg, IL 60173, (847) 925-8070.
Vet Tech Institute is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. The address, telephone number, and website of the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges are 2101 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 302, Arlington, VA 22201, (703) 247-4212, www.accsc.org.