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Veterinarian Assistant Schools in the U.S.

When choosing a school and program for veterinarian assisting, students have many criteria to evaluate. Factors in selecting a veterinarian assistant school include the types of credentials offered, program length and tuition costs. Read on to learn more.

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Students who are interested in working as assistants in veterinary offices can complete certificate, associate's degree or bachelor's degree programs in veterinary assistance or veterinary technology. Programs can be found at two-year colleges and four-year universities.

10 Schools with Veterinarian Assistant Programs

These 10 schools offer academic programs that are relevant for aspiring veterinary assistants:

College/University Location Institution Type Programs Offered Tuition & Fees (2016-2017)*
Miami Dade College Miami, FL 4-year, Public Associate $2,834 in-state
$9,661 out-of-state
Skagit Valley College Mount Vernon, WA 4-year, Public Certificate $4,200 in-state
$4,700 out-of-state
Linn-Benton Community College Albany, OR 2-year, Public Certificate $5000 (for full program)**
Northern Virginia Community College Annandale, VA 2-year, Public Associate $5,313 in-state
$11,283 out-of-state
Purdue University-Main Campus West Lafayette, IN 4-year, Public Associate, Bachelor's $10,002 in-state
$28,804 out-of-state
Lone Star College System The Woodlands, TX 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate $1,552 in-district
$3,232 in-state
$3,592 out-of-state
Pima Community College Tucson, AZ 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate $2,046 in-state
$7,362 out-of-state
Mt San Antonio College Walnut, CA 2-year, Public Associate $1,348 in-state
$8,659 out-of-state
St Petersburg College Clearwater, FL 4-year, Public Associate, Bachelor's $3,385 in-state
$11,667 out-of-state
Portland Community College Portland, OR 2-year, Public Associate $3,802 in-state
$8,446 out-of-state

Sources: *National Center for Education Statistics, **School website

School Selection Criteria

Consider the following when looking for veterinarian assistant schools:

  • It is important to look for schools that have been accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).
  • Associate's and bachelor's degree programs typically prepare students for the state and national board examinations so that they can become licensed veterinary technicians, while certificate programs generally offer training for lower-level assistant positions or veterinary office work. Students should make sure that the program they choose fits their career goals.
  • For aspiring veterinary technicians, it can be helpful to find out what the pass rate is for graduates on the state and national board examinations.
  • When choosing between programs, prospective students may want to find out which animals they will have experience working with. For instance, some programs focus mostly on small domestic animals, while others offer training with livestock and/or exotic animals.

Certificate Programs

There are several different types of certificate programs available for aspiring veterinary assistants. Some schools offer certificate programs that prepare students for administrative work in the front office of veterinary offices, so they emphasize topics such as veterinary terminology and office management. Others offer more comprehensive training in animal care, preparing graduates to assist veterinarians and technicians in clinical settings. These programs typically take one year or less to complete.

Associate's Degree Programs

Associate's degree programs in veterinary technology prepare individuals to work as assistants to veterinarians. They include a combination of classroom coursework and hands-on training in clinical settings. Students may learn how to provide basic care for a wide range of species, including dogs, cats, mice, rabbits, birds, horses, cattle, sheep and exotic animals. In addition, they must fulfill general education requirements. When they finish, graduates are typically eligible to take the state and national board examinations to become licensed veterinary technicians.

Bachelor's Degree Programs

It is possible to find veterinary technology programs as four-year bachelor's degree programs and as two-year bachelor's degree completion programs for individuals who have already earned an associate's degree. In addition to the licensure preparation included in associate's degree programs, students in bachelor's degree programs may have the opportunity to complete more hours of clinical training and take advanced courses like microbiology for veterinary technicians or pharmacology for veterinary technicians. The general education requirements are also more extensive.

There are several assistant positions available in veterinary offices. Students can choose between programs at two-year and four-year schools based on their career aspirations.

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