Both the veterinary assistant online certificate and diploma programs provide similar training. The certificate can be earned in as little as six months. The self-paced program educates students on animal-related issues and how to provide administrative support to veterinarians.
Students learn how to recognize signs of disease or illness, assist veterinarians during examinations and surgical procedures differentiate between animal breeds and interact with clients. These online certificate and diploma programs also train students in the administrative duties of veterinary assistants such as accounts payable, fee collection and the basics of pet insurance. There are both fully online and hybrid programs available in this field.
Students in an online program typically take courses that build upon the viable skills used in the field including understanding veterinary medical terminology, safety measures and communication with the veterinary team. Diploma candidates enrolled in hybrid programs may be expected to complete an externship, in addition to coursework. Some of the courses may include:
- Medical Terminology
- Law and Ethics
- Breeds and Behavioral Traits
- Grooming Basics
- Collection and Billing
- Surgical Procedures
Students pursuing a veterinary assistant certificate or diploma online should demonstrate certain skills prior to graduation. In addition to communication skills, students should develop advanced skills in:
- Handling and restraint of animals
- Laboratory test procedures
- Understand proper cleaning methods for safety of animals and veterinary team
- Proper handling and labeling of animal specimens
- Proper administration procedures
Becoming a veterinary assistant is an ideal choice for individuals who have always wanted to work with animals. Graduates of a veterinary assistant online certificate or diploma program are prepared to contribute to the care of animals.
Once individuals master the skills needed to be successful at their job, they may consider pursuing an associate's or bachelor's degree to become a registered veterinary technician or a veterinarian. Other career options include supervisory or management at kennels, pet stores or veterinary hospitals.
According to Salary.com, in October 2016, the median annual salary for veterinary assistants was $29,003. Salary for veterinary assistants is dependent on the state and industry, such as animal hospitals or local government agencies.
Economic Outlook and Growth of the Industry
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the projected employment outlook for veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers from 2014-2024 is 9%, which is faster than average (www.bls.gov).
Animal lovers who want to become veterinary assistants can develop the scientific expertise and clinical skills they need to enter the field by earning an online certificate or diploma. This education can also provide a foundation for enrollment in degree programs that can lead to more responsibilities within a vet's office.