Advanced Veterinary Assistant
Advanced Veterinary Assistant

ABI 410  R

Veterinary Assisting Fundamentals

ABI 420  R

Veterinary Nursing Care & Clinical Procedures

ABI 430  R

Veterinary Surgical Assistance & Technical Procedures

ABI 214  E

Principles of Wildlife Rehabilitation

ABI 237  E

Equine Behavior

ABI 271  E

Canine Behavior & Enrichment

ABI 272  E

Feline Behavior & Enrichment

ABI 311  E

Animal Nutrition, Health & Disease

ABI 312  E

Canine Health & Nutrition

ABI 313  E

Feline Health & Nutrition

ABI 317  E

Equine Health & Nutrition

R = required    E = elective

Advanced Veterinary Assistant

Certificate Program (15 credits)

The Advanced Veterinary Assistant training program builds upon the skills developed in the Veterinary Assistant program, including office procedures, nursing, veterinary procedures, and surgical assistance. The advanced program requires two electives, in addition to the three required courses in the basic Veterinary Assistant program, for a total of five online courses (15 academic credits). We recommend choosing a nutrition elective, which will provide you with a detailed knowledge of animal nutrition, health, and emergency procedures, including pet CPR. For your second elective, we recommend choosing a behavior course, which will improve your understanding of natural and problematic behaviors, behavioral conditioning, behavioral enrichment, and body language. This training will allow you to be a more effective member of the veterinary care team and can be a valuable stepping stone to animal training, behavioral management, and consulting work.

In addition to the outcomes of the Veterinary Assistant Program, you will also learn how to:

  1. Perform CPR on domestic pets. 
  2. Formulate correct diets, including special requirements for animals that are juvenile, geriatric or ill.
  3. Describe the basic principles of pathology and the development of disease. 
  4. Recognize behavioral indicators of disease. 
  5. Distinguish normal vs. abnormal behaviors in common domestic species. Provide appropriate environmental enrichment to promote natural behavior. 

Students in either of the veterinary assistant programs must also complete a field requirement of 100 hours. Please note that students in the Advanced Veterinary Assistant program do not need to complete the field requirement more than once; the field hours used for the Veterinary Assistant program can also be used to satisfy the field requirement for the Advanced Veterinary Assistant certificate.

The required courses for this certificate are:

  1. ABI 410 Veterinary Assisting Fundamentals 
  2. ABI 420 Veterinary Nursing Care & Clinical Procedures 
  3. ABI 430 Veterinary Surgical Assistance & Technical Procedures 

Students may choose two of the following electives:

  1. ABI 214 Principles of Wildlife Rehabilitation 
  2. ABI 237 Equine Behavior 
  3. ABI 271 Canine Behavior & Enrichment 
  4. ABI 272 Feline Behavior & Enrichment 
  5. ABI 311 Animal Health & Nutrition 
  6. ABI 312 Canine Health & Nutrition 
  7. ABI 313 Feline Health & Nutrition
  8. ABI 317 Equine Health & Nutrition 

Upon graduation, students may begin using the designation CAVAP, Certified Advanced Veterinary Assistant Professional. Many graduates find employment in animal hospitals or veterinary clinics. Others find work in kennels, emergency clinics, lab animal facilities, educational institutions or related organizations. Job opportunities for veterinary assistants are expected to increase at a rate of 14% over the next decade.* Opportunities have never been greater!

Our Advanced Veterinary Assistant online program is unlike any other distance education program. Students at the Animal Behavior Institute participate in a highly interactive online classroom, engaging in regular dialog with their professors and student colleagues. Students receive feedback each week, working on collaborative projects. This allows them to achieve a deeper level of understanding than they would develop on their own. This collaboration, coupled with the mentoring each student receives from their instructors, ensures that they receive a very personal education.

Tuition is $1,260 per course; The cost of the certificate program is $6,300 (this does not include the cost of textbooks, purchased separately). Tuition assistance is available via interest-free financing. If you have questions on the program, or need help getting started, please contact us at (866) 755-0448 or via email at

Veterinary Assistants vs. Veterinary Technicians

Please note that veterinary assistants are not veterinary technicians. Veterinary technicians usually require two or more years of college, obtaining an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree. They must pass a certification exam and usually need to obtain ongoing continuing education credits to remain certified. They can perform more advanced techniques and typically have a higher pay scale. Our program will prepare you become a veterinary assistant, not a veterinary technician.

*U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook

Learn more about Careers as a Veterinary Assistant.

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