Online Veterinary Assistant Training Programs

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If you have a passion for working with animals and would love to spend your day taking care of them, then you may be a good fit for a veterinary assistant.

This is the kind of job that offers a high degree of job satisfaction with low levels of stress.

However, you may be wondering how or where you might find the time to pursue a career as a veterinary assistant.

The good news is that there are several accredited schools that offer accredited online courses to prospective students hoping to pursue a career in this field.

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What Courses Are in an Online Veterinary Assistant Program?

The course materials of each program will differ depending on the school, the duration of the course, and the type of certificate.

Ideally, the course should be accredited by The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).

In preparation for the national examination, courseware should ideally cover the following topics:

  • Radiology and ultrasound imaging
  • Laboratory procedures
  • Pharmacy and pharmacology
  • Surgical preparation and assisting
  • Small animal nursing
  • Exam room procedures
  • Communication and client relations
  • Office and hospital procedures

Can You Earn a Veterinary Assistant Certification Completely Online?

The Veterinary Assistant Certification may be completed entirely online.

However, students are reminded that this may not be the ideal course to pursue.

Students are also required to complete a certain number of internship/externship hours before they are considered to be certified and qualified to work in the field.

Furthermore, in order to prepare students for their role in veterinary practice, students must sit for the national exam.

This examination is not required for Veterinary Assistant students but it may help to secure a good-paying job.

Ideally, students should opt for a course that is a blend of online studies as well as in-person lectures.

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

There are three possible paths that you can take on your journey to becoming a certified veterinary assistant.

You could opt to complete high school, gain certification through an accredited program, or through an internship.

It’s important to understand that each one of these paths has its own predetermined amount of time in order to qualify.

Candidates may opt to follow only one path or pursue two at the same time.

For example, a student may opt to obtain their certificate while working full-time on an internship.

High school

Most veterinary facilities prefer that students have some form of education under their belt.

This includes the most basic type of education in terms of this industry, which is either a high school diploma or a GED.

There are two things that students should focus on when obtaining their qualifications, and that is getting good grades in English and science classes such as biology.


Students can study towards certification through an accredited school in order to become an Approved Veterinary Assistant (AVA).

Students are also able to obtain certification through The National Association of Veterinary Technicians (NAVTA) and their approved Veterinary Assistant program.

This certificate program may be completed in as little as six months or up to a year.

The associate degree may run for four semesters.

In order to qualify, students must pass the 100-question exam.

There is another option for prospective students hoping to work in laboratory settings, and that is to gain certification through the American Association for Laboratory Science (AALS).


Candidates may opt for an internship at a veterinary for six months to a year.

Upon completion, the student is eligible to sit for the national examination.

How Much Does an Online Veterinary Assistant Certification Cost?

This course is offered by vocational schools, community colleges, and traditional colleges.

The tuition, application fee, and other associated fees will depend on the school, the location, the duration, and the type of certificate.

Essentially, most online programs will range in fees between $600 and $1,600.

These fees may fluctuate with associate degree courses ranging between $1,200-$13,000 for in-state students and $7,000-$30,000 for out-of-state tuition and fees.

Furthermore, some schools may charge a flat rate instead of per credit hour.

Benefits of Online Veterinary Assistant Training Programs

There are quite a few benefits associated with studying this course online.

1. You don’t have to move thousands of miles away from family and friends

The biggest benefit, unlike with traditional schools, is that you are not required to move far away from friends and family to attend school.

You can attend your online lectures, where ever, and whenever it suits you.

2. Flexibility

As previously mentioned, your classes can easily be arranged around your own schedule.

While most online courses allow you to work at your own pace, they do include a suggested scheduling template that should be followed.

However, even within this suggested scheduling template, there is a lot of room for flexibility.

You can listen to audio and video files on your way to and from work, during your lunch break, or in the evenings, instead of wasting time watching television.

3. Lower fees

Online courses are charged at a fraction of the cost of courses offered face-to-face.

There are various reasons that these courses are less expensive, such as the fact that the school does not have the same overhead costs as courses offered in a physical classroom.

The tuition in online schools will vary from one school to the next, depending on the length of the course, the institution offering the course, and the type of certificate.

Drawbacks of Online Veterinary Assistant Training Programs

This is the type of course where the pros seem to outweigh the cons.

There are, however, a few negatives to obtaining this qualification online.

1. Lack of hands-on experience

The biggest drawback of an online program is that you will not get exposure to a physical setting where you will be able to put into practice what you have learned through theory.

A Veterinary Assistant must know how to prepare an examination room, perform basic animal handling and restraint, assist veterinary technicians and veterinarians, assist with radiology, and assist with ultrasound imaging, to mention a few things.

With online training, you will get exposure to the theory but not necessarily to hands-on experience.

Unless, of course, you arrange your own externship/internship.

There are, however, many online schools that do include an externship as part of the program.

Students are required to ensure that their chosen school does include this.

2. Not all online schools are accredited

The worst thing is spending all that money and time completing a course that is not even accredited.

It is like throwing money straight into the water.

The onus is on you, the student, to ensure that the course that you are attending is an accredited course that will enable you to sit for the national examination.

Ideally, you want to attend a course that will help you to demonstrate high-level competence in your chosen field.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Online Veterinary Assistant Training Programs – Summary Table

Benefits of Online Veterinary Assistant Training ProgramsDrawbacks of Online Veterinary Assistant Training Programs 
1. You don't have to move thousands of miles away from family and friends1. Lack of hands-on experience
2. Flexibility2. Not all online schools are accredited
3. Lower fees

Types of Veterinary Assistant Certifications

Currently, there is only one course that a prospective student can undertake in this field:

Certified Veterinary Assistant (CVA)

There are no specialized courses apart from the course stated above.

4 Self-Study Tips for Veterinary Assistant Online Students

In order to succeed in this online program, students must ensure that they are committed and working towards their goals.

Here are four self-study tips to help you make the most of your online Veterinary Assistant course.

1. Ask questions

This is a very challenging course with a lot of terminology and facts to remember.

If you are unclear about the meaning of certain terminology or facts, do not hesitate to reach out to the online educator or student support for assistance or clarification.

Keep in mind that the onus will be on you, the student, to regulate yourself, your time, and your level of understanding.

If anything is unclear to you, make a point of bringing your questions and/or concerns to the attention of the educator and stay on point until you fully comprehend the points you are uncertain about.

2. Technology is your friend

Some classes are self-paced, while others are live lectures.

If you are new to online studying, you should make a point of becoming familiar with the technology that you will be using during the course.

More specifically, the platform.

Some courses are offered on Zoom, some are offered over Skype, and others still have their own online platform.

Try to log into the system before the time and play around with the platform.

Check that your audio and video capabilities are working fine and that you have access to the internet.

In some cases, you may be required to have certain software to be able to participate in class activities such as Acrobat Reader or a webcam.

Ensure that all your hardware and software are in working order.

3. Actively participate

If your lectures are live, try to participate as much as possible.

Many people learn better by participating in activities.

The more involved you are during the lecture, the more information you will retain during the course, help you to understand the course material better, and allow you to better engage with fellow classmates.

Furthermore, if you feel that you are falling behind, make a point of bringing your professor’s attention to the fact so that you may get the assistance that you need.

4. Eliminate distractions

Learning from home versus learning at college presents a host of distractions and challenges that you may not otherwise face.

Try to identify and eliminate as many distractions as you can.

You are solely responsible for your success or failure.

This includes distractions such as Netflix, social media, disruptions during class time, and even dishes piling up.

Try to turn off your phone and put a “do not disturb” sign on your door when classes are underway.

In addition, website blockers are great at helping you to avoid doing unnecessary things like checking your mail or surfing the web while you should be studying.


There are a plethora of online schools that offer an accredited Veterinary Assistant training program.

Prospective students must focus on selecting a course that meets state requirements and allows students to sit for the national exam in order to obtain their qualifications.

In addition, the process of self-study requires extreme discipline, goal-setting, attention to detail, and most of all, drive, to pursue and successfully complete.

Students should prepare for their course by setting clear, attainable goals and carving out the time to sit and attend the online lectures.

In addition, students should familiarize themselves with the technology in order to master the course and qualify with a Veterinary Assistant certificate.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a Veterinary Assistant make?

The salary of a Veterinary Assistant will depend on several factors, such as the type of qualification the candidate has obtained, how many years of experience the candidate has, where the candidate is located, and what type of facility the candidate works in.

The average salary for those starting out with less than one year of experience is $14.38 per hour.

Candidates with three to five years of experience will earn $15.94 per hour.

And candidates with more than ten years of experience may look forward to an hourly wage of $17.84.

Is being a Veterinary Assistant a stressful job?

Yes, there is a fair amount of stress associated with this job.

The job is very fast-paced, has a challenging schedule, and may require candidates to work long and grueling hours.

Furthermore, you may be required to assist with operating on animals, which may prove to be extremely stressful for some candidates.

Do I need to attend school to become a Veterinary Assistant?


Some states may approve you to sit for the examination provided that you have worked a set number of hours in the industry prior to taking the exam.

Do I need a high school certificate or GED to attend the course?


In order to qualify as a Veterinary Assistant, you must first obtain a high school diploma or GED.

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