Additional Contact Information

If you have questions, please contact our program coordinator:
Veterinary Assisting Certificate Program Home

Summer Session Registration Starts May 31

Regular Summer 12-Week Session: July 3-Sept. 23, 2017

Courses Offered:

  • VT 52A Veterinary Assisting I
  • VT 88A Clinical Preceptorship I
  • VT 52B Veterinary Assisting II


See summer registration dates and deadlines.

View Summer Schedule of Classes for complete course offerings.

Need help applying for admission or registering for classes?
Phone us at: (650) 949-7325
Contact us: A&R Help Form
Click here for more information.

Our Veterinary Assistant Certificate Program offers different levels of training, depending on your goals and experience.

Getting Started
Entry-level education and training for those interested in starting a career in animal care and veterinary assisting, volunteers, new un-registered staff.

In service continuing education and training for non-certificated veterinary assistants currently working in a veterinary facility.

Stepping-stone into the AVMA accredited Veterinary Technology Program for those interested in becoming a Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT).

Inexpensive, convenient, online, high quality orientation, in-service education, and training for entry-level staff.

Veterinary assistants and receptionists - Upgrade your knowledge and skills if you are currently working in a veterinary practice.

What You Will Learn!
Partner with us! Learn as you work. We provide the structure, accountability, and deliver the educational content and enhance your practical on the job training. Taking a course online provides maximum flexibility for you - login and learn when it is convenient for you!

The Online Veterinary Assisting Program is based on the essential knowledge and skills developed by the Association of Veterinary Technician Educators (AVTE) and approved by the North American Veterinary Technician Association (NAVTA). The two authors and instructors of the program have over 25 years of experience teaching veterinary technicians and combined have extensive practical clinical experience both as a veterinarian and a registered veterinary technician.

The content of the program spans the essential knowledge and skills from the "front" of the veterinary clinic to all areas "in the back!" Receptionist skills and a wide range of basic clinical knowledge and skills are covered in a systematic and thorough way. You will prepare for an exciting new career as a veterinary assistant by learning the essential knowledge and hands-on skills of the Veterinary Assistant. In VA52A the emphasis is on the practical aspects of front office management, working as part of the veterinary health care team, basic animal care, medical terminology, and basic aspects of patient management under direct supervision; including infection control, nutrition and behavior. VT52B focuses on basic clinical skills and common procedures. Assisting with routine exam room, treatment room; clinical laboratory and radiologic procedures; administration of medication, animal grooming, instrument cleaning and care; surgical preparation and operating room assisting; patient record keeping and client communication.

Program Outline


  1. Veterinary medicine and the veterinary health care team
  2. Careers in veterinary medicine
  3. Types of veterinary practices
  4. Professionalism and the veterinary workplace
  5. The Human-Animal Bond.
  6. Office Practices
  7. Workplace Safety
  8. Universal Precautions
  9. Aseptic Technique
  10. Basic Medical Terminology
  11. Basic Clinical Skills
  12. Basic Nutrition
  13. Basic Behavior


  1. Animal Restraint
  2. Restraint Devices
  3. Transporting Patients
  4. Placing and removing animals from enclosures
  5. Common Exam and Treatment Room Techniques
  6. Animal Grooming
  7. Administration of Medication
  8. Surgical Assisting
  9. Medical Assisting
  10. Basic Clinical Laboratory Skills
  11. Assisting in Radiology.
Click here if you have not read the Program Curriculum Requirement Sheet!
man at desk Director's Desk: Additional Program Information.

Required Courses

This online certificate program prepares for employment or upgrades knowledge and skills as a Veterinary Assistant or Receptionist in only 12 Weeks! Receive a Career Certificate in Veterinary Assisting.

1st Six-week Session: VT52A-01W-Veterinary Assisting I

2nd Six-week Session: VT52B-Veterinary Assisting II

Regular 12-week Session: VT88A -Clinical Preceptorship I

*Students must already have a full or part time job in a veterinary clinic to enroll in VT88A or VT88BB
To earn the Certificate, you must take all four courses. You may take VT52A and VT52B first without taking VT88A or B. You may complete VT88A & B later. You may not take VT88A & B unless you have already completed or are concurrently enrolled in VT52A & B.

top of page

Computer and Internet Requirements

  • This course can be taken from either a Macintosh or a PC. A basic understanding of how to use the operating system is essential (Saving and opening files, creating folders, connecting to the Internet, naming and renaming files and folders, etc.)
  • An active account with an Internet service provider, reliable Internet connection, and an email account are required. Basic knowledge of the process of uploading and downloading files, and sending files as attachments are important.
  • Knowledge of how to use a web browser (Internet Explorer or Firefox recommended.)
  • Students must be proficient in computer keyboarding, possess basic computer operation skills, have a basic understanding of a computer word-processing program (Microsoft Word recommended.) !

top of page

Required Course Materials

All VA Certificate Courses require that the student purchase the following textbooks with accompanying CD-ROM:

  1. Tasks for the Veterinary Assistant, 3rd edition by Paula Pattengale and Teresa Sonsthagen Published by Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN# 978-1-118-44078-0
  2. Learning Veterinary Medical Terminology by Douglas Mc Bride. ISBN# 0-323-01329-5

The Foothill Bookstore has these texts available; they ship anywhere in the United States.

top of page

Veterinary Technicians, Veterinary Assistants, and the Veterinary Health Care Team

Like all health professions, veterinary care is highly regulated, and most kinds of treatment or testing can only be performed by licensed veterinarians or veterinary technicians. While veterinary assistants assist with a number of medical procedures, they do not perform any of them completely on their own.

Registered Veterinary Technicians (RVT) are registered RVT programs are AVMA-approved and are highly intensive college-level programs taught by veterinary educators. Students attend classes for two years before graduating with an Associate of Science degree. If you were to draw a comparison with human medicine, you might compare them to Registered Nurses (RN). They must meet rigorous examination requirements in each course they take. In addition, they are required to take college-level courses in other subjects, such as English, biology, psychology, history, and government. Once graduated they must pass National and State exams to complete their licensing requirements.

Certified Veterinary Assistants (CVA) The Veterinary Assistant Certificate Program on the other hand, is online and learn-on-the-job vocational training experience that covers the fundamentals of veterinary assisting. Veterinary assistants are an important part of the veterinary health care team. Working with veterinarians and veterinarian technicians, they help provide medical care to sick and injured animals.

If you were to draw a comparison with human medicine, you might compare them to licensed vocational nurses. A typical day in the life of a veterinary assistant includes giving medications, feeding and bathing animals, cleaning up after them, and assisting the veterinarian and veterinary technician with examinations and tests.

Vet assistants play a very hands-on role. They take a pet's pulse, temperature and monitor respiration. Some even assist with surgery. Aside from these roles, many also do office work, and act as receptionists that assist the veterinary technicians and doctors, the exam room, treatment or surgical area , or kennel area when needed.

Duties also include animal restraint, patient monitoring, walking dogs, basic care of pets in our care, preparation and clean up of surgery, medical records, client education, cleaning and maintenance of equipment and areas, lab work, inventory, general cleaning, and miscellaneous duties. While many veterinary assistants work with veterinarians in private practice, many others work in animal shelters, animal control facilities, pet stores, kennels, and veterinary drug companies.

top of page