Veterinary Assistant
Veterinary Assistant

ABI 410  R

Veterinary Assisting Fundamentals

ABI 420  R

Veterinary Nursing Care & Clinical Procedures

ABI 430  R

Veterinary Surgical Assistance & Technical Procedures

R = required    E = elective

Veterinary Assistant

Specialized Certificate (9 credits)

The Veterinary Assistant training program will provide you with the knowledge and skills you need to be an effective part of the veterinary care team, providing effective assistance as you work alongside the staff. Our program covers office procedures, anatomy and physiology, nursing care, surgical prep, imaging, medications, and clinical procedures. You’ll learn how to manage clients and help maintain a clean, professional environment for your patients. Your education will teach you how to: 

  1. Work effectively with clients, interviewing, consulting, and explaining requirements. 
  2. Understand basic veterinary office procedures and the role of the veterinary assistant. 
  3. Describe basic animal anatomy and physiology, using proper veterinary medical terminology. 
  4. Use the proper procedures for oral administration of medications. 
  5. Provide nursing assistance to the veterinarian, including bandaging, wound care and fluid monitoring. 
  6. Sterilize surgical instruments and provide surgical assistance to the veterinarian. 
  7. Collect and prepare samples for lab processing. 
  8. Identify emergency medical conditions based on clinical signs and animal body language. 
  9. Prepare patients for radiology and ultrasound imaging following proper safety protocols. 
  10. Prepare examination rooms and assist the veterinarian with exam procedures, including proper animal restraint. 

The Veterinary Assistant certificate program requires the completion of three online courses (9 academic credits) and a 100-hour field requirement working as an employee, intern or volunteer at an approved institution of your choice. The required courses for this specialized certificate program are: 

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

Upon graduation, students may begin using the designation CVAP, Certified 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 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 $3,780 (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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