7 Best Online Veterinary Assistant Programs (Complete Guide)

If you’re an animal lover and have ever pictured yourself as an integral part of a veterinarian’s team providing care and comfort to our beloved animal companions, veterinary assisting may be just the career for you.

America’s BLS reports that the career outlook for certified veterinary assistants looks bright!

There is expected to be an increase in veterinary assistant jobs between now and 2032 as more pet parents are welcoming their furry friends into their homes.

Today’s pet owners are more conscientious than ever, as our pets are now considered as family members.

Increased animal welfare concerns and a deeper understanding of animal health needs mean pet owners are more likely to seek preventative and emergency veterinary care.

This guide to online veterinary assistant programs provides an overview of entry-level programs that prepare prospective veterinary assistants to earn national certification from agencies — the National Association of Veterinary Technicians (NAVTA) and the American Association of Veterinary Technicians.

Let’s start with exploring the role of a veterinary assistant and learn about what they do!

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Veterinary Assistant Job Description

The primary role of Veterinary assistants is to work with Veterinarians and Veterinary Technicians to support the operations of animal hospitals, clinics, and kennels.

While the typical job duties of veterinary assistants will vary by employer, the following are examples of everyday duties normally carried out by vet assistants.

Most students complete their veterinary assistant training as part of the necessary curriculum to become certified vet techs.

Today’s Veterinary techs have 2-4 years of post-high school education and an Associate or Bachelor’s Degree in Vet Tech.

Veterinary Assistant Job Duties

Today’s veterinary assistants complete a variety of tasks in the front and back offices of veterinary clinics, hospitals, and laboratories in support of vets and technicians.

While some of their job duties require direct animal contact, many of their tasks are administrative.

  • Assist Veterinarians and Vet Techs with Examination and Surgical Procedures
  • Prepare and Sanitize Surgical Equipment and Tools
  • Administer Medications, Vaccinations, and Treatments
  • Perform Basic Laboratory Tests for Blood and Urinary Analysis
  • Clean and Sterilize Animal Cages
  • Feed, Exercise, and Provide Care for Animals
  • Complete Administrative Tasks, including Appointment Scheduling and Billing
  • Handle and Restrain Animals Safely and Compassionately

*Veterinary Assistants work under the supervision of licensed and certified veterinarians and veterinary technicians.

Best Online Veterinary Assistant Programs

Are you ready to learn more about what it takes to become a certified veterinary assistant?

Welcome to our guide, where we provide an overview of the best online veterinary assistant programs online!

This comprehensive guide focuses primarily on programs approved by the NAVTA.

Our guide is designed to help prospective veterinary assistants make a more informed decision about their online education and learn more about how they can earn the coveted AVA certification through a combination of theory and hands-on practice.

How Can I Become a Veterinary Assistant Online?

  1. Complete a High School Diploma or Equivalent
  2. Enroll in a NAVTA-approved Online Veterinary Assistant Program
  3. Complete an Externship to Earn Clinical Experience
  4. Complete the AVA Certification Exam Offered by the NAVTA

The following programs are NAVTA-approved to offer online veterinary training with offline clinical components and externship placement, except for the University of North Dakota.

#1. University of North Dakota – Where Compassion Meets Education

About the Program

The Office of Extended Learning at the University of North Dakota delivers its Veterinary Assistant Program entirely online.

Their online animal health program teaches prospective veterinarians how to support practicing vets and veterinary technicians with front and back-office support.

This program teaches pre-vet students the basics of animal anatomy and physiology, veterinary medical records handling, animal restraint, how to complete an animal examination, and client communication.

Taking this online veterinary assistant program is the first step for pre-vet students who want to continue their education to become veterinary technicians or veterinarians.

Courses Offered

  • Welcome to the Veterinary Hospital
  • Physiology and Anatomy
  • Canine Restraint
  • Feline and Exotic Restraint
  • Front Office Tips, Records, Confidentiality, and Client Relations
  • Externship

Contact Information

Address: 221 Centennial Drive, Grand Forks, North Dakota – 58202

Website: Link

Phone: 701-777-0488

#2. Penn Foster – Shaping Future Veterinary Heroes

About the Program

Penn Foster, one of America’s leading online education providers, allows veterinary assistant students to complete the NAVTA-approved Veterinary Assistant Program online.

Their online course provides students with 24-hour access to courses they can access from a computer, tablet, or mobile device to earn a Veterinary Assistant Career Diploma.

Penn Foster’s online vet training teaches students the fundamentals of animal behavior, animal handling, and examination procedures.

The program features an 8-week externship to help students demonstrate their newly acquired skills.

Courses Offered

  • Behavior, Handling, and Restraint
  • Body Systems and Terminology I and II
  • Small and Large Animal Nursing
  • Veterinary Practice Administration and Procedures
  • Externship

Contact Information

Address: 925 Oak Street, Scranton, Pennsylvania -18515

Website: Link

Phone: 800-301-6613

Program Cost: $799.00

*This program has payment plans available.

#3. Ross College – Hands-On ExcellenceRoss College - Hands-On Excellence

About the Program

Ross College offers prospective vet techs the ability to combine their online veterinary education with hands-on instruction at their Alabama, Kentucky, Ohio, and Michigan campuses.

Their 36-week Veterinary Assistant program teaches students essential topics on animal anatomy and physiology, animal care activities, and veterinary ethics and law.

Students who enroll with Ross College will have access to and receive training on the latest vet technology and equipment used in veterinary clinics and hospitals in the US.

Courses Offered

  • Veterinary Medical Terminology
  • Veterinary Office Procedures
  • Animal Restraint and Handling
  • Veterinary Pharmacy and Pharmacology
  • Veterinary Anatomy and Physiology
  • Domestic Animal Care
  • Surgical Preparation and Assisting
  • Veterinary Office Administration
  • Externship

Contact Information

Address: Multiple Locations Across the US

Website: Link

Phone: 866-815-5578

#4. VetMedTeam – Nurturing Future Veterinary StarsVetMedTeam - Nurturing Future Veterinary Stars

About the Program

The VetMedTeam has a Veterinary Assistant Program that prepares its students for NAVTA certification upon completion.

Students who take veterinary training with VetMedTeam learn the principles required to assist veterinarians and vet techs in front office administration procedures, examination room procedures, animal handling procedures, and laboratory procedures for small and large animals.

Their program is taught by board-certified veterinary instructors who prepare their students for successfully completing the Approved Veterinary Assistant exam, which can help them get entry-level jobs as veterinary assistants and prepare them to continue their education as veterinary technicians and eventually licensed veterinarians.

Courses Offered

  • Overview of the Veterinary Profession
  • Medical Terminology
  • Laboratory Procedures
  • Avian and Exotics
  • Anesthesia and Surgical Assisting
  • Animal Behavior and Restraint
  • Pharmacology
  • Animal Care and Nursing
  • Externship

Contact Information

Address: PO Box 4833, Jackson, Wyoming – 83001

Website: Link

Phone: 307-732-0028

Program Cost: $875.00 – $994.00

*This program has payment plans available.

#5. VetBloom – For Aspiring Veterinary ProfessionalsVetBloom - For Aspiring Veterinary Professionals

About the Program

This 26-week online Veterinary Assistant training program leads veterinary assistant students to use approved NAVTA training standards to guide students toward becoming AVA certified.

VetBloom’s program teaches students the basics of animal handling, laboratory procedures, electronic records handling, and how to assist veterinarians and technicians with exam and surgical procedures.

Students who get their veterinary training from the VetBlooms online program must complete 120 hours of hands-on experience and AVA exam prep.

*This program is not available for students in Georgia, Louisiana, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, and North Dakota

Courses Offered

  • Medical Terminology
  • Medical Records
  • Electronic Medical Records
  • Veterinary Pharmacology
  • Nutrition
  • Medication Administration
  • Laboratory and Record-Keeping
  • Exam and Surgical Preparation
  • Radiation Safety and Radiology Basics
  • Externship

Contact Information

Address: 13955 Farmington Road, Livonia, Michigan – 48154

Website: Link

Phone: 800-734-1175

Program Cost: $4,000.00

*This program has payment plans available.

#6. Career Step Online – Your Flexible Learning PartnerCareer Step Online - Your Flexible Learning Partner

About the Program

Career Step gives prospective Veterinary Assistants an online pathway to certification.

They provide access to an NAVTA-approved training program designed to teach students the fundamentals of veterinary assisting and to provide job-readiness skills to help them succeed in this rewarding career.

Their program is self-paced and combines video lessons, learning games, and practical exercises to test their knowledge.

Students who take Veterinary Assisting with Career Step have eight months of unlimited access to their coursework, available online twenty-four hours a day.

Courses Offered

  • Veterinary Office Procedures and Medical Record-Keeping
  • Digital Technology
  • Animal Behavior and Restraint
  • Animal Anatomy and Disease
  • Introduction to Veterinary Pharmacology
  • Introduction to Animal Nursing
  • Externship

Contact Information

Address: 2901 Ashton Boulevard, Suite 101, Lehi, Utah – 84043

Website: Link

Phone: 800-411-7073

Program Cost: $3,799.00

*This program offers payment plans and MyCAA funds for military spouses.

#7. Animal Behavior College – NAVTA-Approved ExcellenceAnimal Behavior College - NAVTA-Approved Excellence

About the Program

The NAVTA approves the Animal Behavior College Online Veterinary Assistant Program.

This online program prepares its students for fulfilling careers working as veterinary assistants.

Students in the program learn the fundamentals of animal care, including exam room preparation and surgical procedures.

They also learn about small animal health care services and are given the opportunity to complete an on-the-job training externship as an added component of this online program.

Courses Offered

  • Pet CPR and First Aid
  • Office Etiquette and Hospital Procedures
  • Animal Restraint
  • Pharmacy and Pharmacology
  • Surgical Preparation and Assisting
  • Small Animal Nursing
  • Radiology and Ultrasound Imaging
  • Externship

Contact Information

Address: 27509 Avenue Hopkins, Valencia, California – 91355

Website: Link

Phone: 800-795-3294

Program Cost: $2,795.00 – $5,630

*This program offers a payment plan and a military discount.

What Courses Are in an Online Veterinary Assistant Program?

  1. Animal Restraint
  2. Animal CPR and First Aid
  3. Examination Room Procedures
  4. Introduction to Veterinary Pharmacology
  5. Small Animal Care
  6. Laboratory Procedures
  7. Surgical Preparation and Assisting
  8. Radiology and Ultrasound Imaging
  9. Veterinary Office Procedures and Medical Record-Keeping
  10. Veterinary Externship

Can You Earn Veterinary Assistant Certification Completely Online?

No. Students who complete online veterinary assistant training must also complete a hands-on externship to satisfy certification requirements.

Program providers who offer online veterinary education and training will work with students to help them find placement in local VCA-approved facilities to complete the hands-on component of their training.

There are two primary certifying authorities for veterinary assistants and veterinary technicians in the US. The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America offers certification exams that earn students the Approved Veterinary Assistant Certification most industry employers accept.

Students can take the AVA exam upon successful completion of an AVA-approved training program like those listed above.

Each student must pay the $100.00 fee to complete the Veterinary Assistant Examination proctored by VetMedTeam.

It is important for prospective students to note that certified AVA assistants must complete ten hours of continuing education to renew their credentials every two years.

The American Veterinary Medical Association also issues veterinary assistant certifications.

It offers students the option to become Certified Veterinary Assistants – CVA.

How Long Does it Take to Earn Veterinary Assistant Certification Online?

Earning veterinary certification online takes approximately two years.

Veterinary Assistant students will complete their online coursework and AVA exam prep followed by a hands-on component, which is required to sit for certification.

Most online programs allow students to complete their program within specified time frames at their own pace.

The time it takes each student to complete their online coursework will vary between students.

How Much Does an Online Veterinary Assistant Certification Cost?

According to research and information provided by the NAVTA, online veterinary certification programs can cost anywhere from around $800.00 to a few thousand dollars to complete.

Most AVA certification programs offer payment plans, financial aid, tuition waivers, or scholarships to help students offset the costs of getting their veterinary assistant certification online.

Talk to your program director or financial aid department to learn about what financial aid programs or scholarships you may qualify for.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know what a crucial role today’s Veterinary Assistants play in animal health care, are you ready to take the next steps and learn more about an online program?

If so, contact one of the NAVTA-approved program providers above to learn more about online veterinary assistant program requirements, start dates, and enrollment procedures.

If you plan on furthering your education beyond earning your AVA, check with your state or local licensing board to learn about region-specific licensing and certification requirements for your area before committing to an online program.

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