Veterinary Assistant Courses and Colleges

Becoming a veterinary assistant gives you the opportunity to treat and care for large and small animals. Earning your certificate qualifies you to obtain voluntary certification as a veterinary assistant. See common course topics and employment prospects for this field. Schools offering Veterinary Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Many colleges and universities offer specialized education in veterinary assisting, and most programs result in a certificate. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, most schools require that you complete on-campus attendance and lab work.

Schools Programs are common at 2-year community colleges and technical/vocational colleges; some 4-year colleges and universities also offer veterinary assisting programs.
Certificates Certificate in Veterinary Assistant, Certificate of Achievement in Veterinary Assisting
Courses Animal pharmacology, nutrition, dentistry, disease diagnosis and control, companion animal breeds, veterinary clinical pathology

Where Can I Find Veterinary Assistant Programs?

Veterinary assisting certificate programs are found at many community colleges and technical colleges throughout the U.S. They are less common at 4-year universities, but some schools do offer them. Certificate programs typically last around nine months, which is about two semesters. Though not very common, you might find some programs offered online, though these programs may not prepare you for certification. Some schools that offer veterinary assisting studies include the following:

  • Rend Lake College
  • Loyola Marymount University
  • Tidewater Community College
  • Mercer County Community College
  • Yuba College
  • Windward Community College
  • Linn-Benton Community College
  • Manchester Community College
  • Howard Community College

How Can I Become a Veterinary Assistant?

To become a veterinary assistant, you may complete a college-level program in veterinary assisting. On-the-job training is another route into this career field; however, if you want to earn voluntary certification to demonstrate your professional skills, you'll need to complete an approved program. Those interested in certification may pursue the Approved Veterinary Assistant (AVA) credential from the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA). In addition to graduating from a program approved by NAVTA, AVA candidates need to pass an exam.

What Courses Are Available in a Veterinary Assistant Program?

Many fundamental courses taught in a veterinarian program are also included in a veterinary assistant program. However, the courses focus more on preparing you for assisting roles rather than primary care duties. You'll learn animal anatomy and how to perform medical procedures, including surgical assisting in a veterinary setting. Examples of courses you could take in a veterinary assistant program include the following:

  • Veterinary anatomy and physiology
  • Nutrition for large and small animals
  • Large and small animal diseases
  • Animal nursing techniques
  • Veterinary lab techniques

How Do I Choose the Right College?

Nearly all colleges that offer a veterinary assistant program include practical experience in a veterinary office. You might consider researching passing rates for a school's alumni as well as employment figures for the college's graduates. To ensure you'll receive the right training, check the curricula of a school's program offerings before enrolling and ensure that it holds NAVTA approval.

What Are the Job Prospects for Veterinary Assistants?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) anticipated up to a 19% increase in veterinary assistant jobs between 2016 and 2026. As of 2017, the median income for veterinary assistants was $26,140 per year ( As an educated and licensed veterinary assistant, you can turn your love for animals into a rewarding career at a kennel or shelter, private clinic, zoo or animal research facility.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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