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Online Veterinary Assistant Degrees

Aspiring veterinary assistants can choose to enroll in an online program in veterinary assisting. Explore your options for coursework and get information on online programs, employment opportunities and salaries.

What Online Veterinary Assistant Programs are Available?

Veterinary assistant training is available online in the form of either a certificate or diploma program. These online programs are typically completed in less than a year and work to prepare you for entry-level positions at veterinary clinics and other animal-care facilities. Veterinary assistant associate degree programs may be available on-campus but are not currently available online.

Online AvailabilityCertificate and diploma programs in veterinary assisting are available online
Online Program FormatCoursework is delivered and submitted online; students must have access to a computer, e-mail and the Internet in order to participate in an online program
Common CoursesPharmacology, veterinary office procedures and administrative tasks, safety, laboratory procedures, animal nutrition
Career OptionsVeterinary assistant at an animal hospital, shelter, zoo or kennel
Job Outlook (2016-2026)19% growth (for veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers)*
Median Salary (2018)$27,540 (for veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

How Do Online Programs Work?

Online veterinary assistant programs consist of similar classes to those in on-campus programs and result in the same diploma or certificate. Coursework and tests are delivered and submitted through the Internet, and communication with instructors and classmates usually takes place via discussion boards, live chat rooms or e-mail. You will need to have access to a computer, the Internet and e-mail in order to enroll in an online program. Many online programs also provide access to an online library or online tutoring.

What Courses Will I Take?

Coursework in online veterinary assistant certificate and diploma programs generally covers similar topics. You'll learn a variety of administrative tasks, such as appointment scheduling, filing and billing. You'll also learn to record health histories, conduct laboratory tests, administer medications and assist with treatment under the supervision of a veterinarian. Courses generally cover the following topics:

  • Safety measures
  • Veterinary office procedures
  • Veterinary medical terminology
  • Laboratory procedures
  • Pharmacology
  • Surgical assistance
  • Animal nutrition and dentistry

Some programs may require you to complete a clinical preceptorship that allows you to gain on-the-job experience in a veterinary office; however, you may be required to already have part- or full-time employment at a veterinary facility in order to complete this requirement.

What is the Employment Outlook for Veterinary Assistants?

As a veterinary assistant, you can choose to work at animal hospitals, animal shelters, zoos, kennels or pet pharmaceutical companies. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), career opportunities for veterinary assistants are expected to increase at a faster-than-average rate of 19% from 2016-2026. In May 2018, the BLS reported a median annual salary of $27,540 for veterinary assistants.