Vet Assistant Classes Provide a Strong Foundation
Vet assistant programs can prepare you for a veterinary assistant career only if your chosen school also offers real-life experience; just taking vet assistant classes is not enough. You might think that getting hands-on experience is impossible in an online course, but the Animal Behavior College (ABC) Veterinary Assistant Program gives you a thorough educational foundation and real world experience. You will graduate from the course well-prepared for a career working with animals in veterinary offices and other settings. In addition to getting in person experience with a professional mentor, ABC students also enjoy the convenience and affordability of an online program.
The first stages of the curriculum give you a strong understanding of veterinary medicine and the responsibilities you’ll have working in an animal health career as a veterinary assistant, such as preparing exam rooms, laboratory procedures, and animal restraint. Once your foundation has been established, you’ll be given the opportunity to work in an actual animal hospital setting. You’ll work closely with veterinary personnel to gain real-life experience as you move closer to launching your new animal career.
NAVTA-Approved Veterinary Assistant Program
Our vet assistant school follows the vet assistant requirements set forth and approved by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) in cooperation with AVTE (Association of Veterinary Technician Educators) & CVTEA (Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities).1
In 1972, the House of Delegates authorized a program of accreditation of training for animal technicians – the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA). Their objective is to recognize veterinary technician training programs that are fully capable of graduating acceptable assistants for veterinarians and to assist in the development of such programs, as well as to study all matters pertaining to activities of veterinary technicians, and to advise the Board of Directors concerning the implementation of AVMA policy concerning such matters.2
The AVTE was founded in 1973 to promote professional education to veterinary technology students in the United States and Canada. They advocate the cooperation among organizations, institutions and all of those interested in veterinary technology.
NAVTA was formed in 1981, allowing veterinary technicians to provide input on national issues involving the veterinary community.3
Veterinary Assistant Requirements By Stage
The curriculum for our Veterinary Assistant Program provides you the knowledge and skills to become a veterinary assistant. There are 11 stages that include an online vet assistant course, 47 educational videos and your externship.
Stage 1 – OFFICE ETIQUETTE AND HOSPITAL PROCEDURES – 21 Days
In this stage, you will learn how to work in a professional animal hospital environment. As a veterinary assistant, it will be your responsibility to assist the veterinarian and veterinary technician in completing important tasks within the animal hospital or clinic.
Becoming familiar with your responsibilities, as well as those of other members of the staff, will be invaluable to completing your tasks professionally and efficiently. Coexisting with and abiding by current hospital protocol, maintaining a professional appearance, and speaking and interacting with others politely, are all vital aspects of the veterinary assistant position that will gain you the respect of hospital staff, fellow animal caretakers and clients.
Stage 2 – ANIMAL BEHAVIOR AND HANDLING – 21 Days
Animal Behavior and Handling focuses on two vital areas of knowledge for the veterinary assistant: understanding animal behavior and body language, and proper handling and restraint procedures. Implementing these skill sets together in a veterinary setting is the foundation for ensuring safe staff and effective patient interactions.
This stage introduces the student to a range of feline and canine physical postures and vocalizations that communicate an animal’s emotional state at any given moment. Becoming familiar with the physical and vocal language of animals gives the veterinary assistant an important set of tools to keep themselves and the animals they assist safe.
This stage also guides the student through proper restraint techniques during various medical procedures and instructs students on lifting animals, placing them in recumbent positions, and placing them in or removing them from enclosures.
Stage 3 – EXAMINATION ROOM PROCEDURES – 14 Days
The veterinary assistant’s role during any type of veterinary examination is to make the jobs of the veterinarian and veterinary technician easier by cleaning and preparing the exam room and making sure it contains the necessary supplies; taking the patient’s history and vital signs; communicating with the pet owner; and completing any other tasks requested by the veterinarian or vet tech.
A knowledgeable veterinary assistant trained in handling emergencies can even participate in saving a patient’s life. This stage equips you with key information about the vital role you will play during examination room procedures.
Stage 4 – PHARMACY AND PHARMACOLOGY – 14 Days
There are myriad medications used in the veterinary environment to help sick and injured animals return to health or maintain their current state of health.
Pharmacy and Pharmacology educates you about different aspects of the veterinary assistant’s role in filling prescriptions, administering drugs, accurately dispensing medication and talking to pet owners to make sure they understand their pets’ prescription(s) and how to safely administer them at home. This stage has two veterinary assistant training videos to supplement the vet assistant course.
Stage 5 – SURGICAL PREPARATION AND ASSISTING – 35 Days
Most animals will likely undergo certain surgical procedures during their lifetime. Surgeries that are scheduled by choice and/or ahead of time (i.e., spaying/neutering) are elective surgeries. In the case of elective surgeries, the veterinary staff and pet owner have advance notice to get the patient, staff and operating room ready for the procedure. If there is a medical emergency that must be dealt with immediately through surgical procedure (i.e. fractured limbs), it is a non-elective surgery. Non-elective surgeries do not grant the convenience of forewarning and must be fit into the staff’s schedule at a moment’s notice.
No matter how skilled the surgeon at your veterinary hospital, competent preparation by veterinary staff is needed to ensure a successful procedure without complications. The surgical suite, instruments, and equipment must be set up for efficiency, disinfected, and confirmed to be in working order. Obtaining patient history and background ensures that they can physically handle the surgery, and be safely anesthetized.
In order to be able to adeptly assist the veterinarian and/or veterinary technician during this phase of an animal’s medical treatment, you must first learn how to assist in surgical preparations. This section will provide you with basic knowledge of preparing for surgery.
Stage 6 – SMALL ANIMAL NURSING – 35 Days
Veterinary practices typically focus on either large animals or small animals because these two branches of veterinary medicine vary enormously. Large animal veterinarians treat animals like horses, cows, sheep, goats, pigs, llamas and alpacas. They have specific training, alternate equipment and offer different services. Treating large animals also usually requires travel to the patient’s home as they are too large to conveniently transport. Otherwise, large animals are brought into a large animal hospital by trailer, where they are treated and released or hospitalized in stalls instead of cages.
Small animal medicine encompasses canines, felines, rodents or “pocket pets” (e.g., mice, rats, gerbils, ferrets and chinchillas), rabbits, birds and animals of similar size. Smaller pets can be taken to a veterinary clinic. Our curriculum focuses on small animals; and this stage teaches you about common procedures the veterinary assistant completes when nursing patients back to health. You will also learn about grooming tasks that every veterinary assistant should be able to complete with ease. An apt assistant is always learning and adding skills to their repertoire.
Stage 7 – LABORATORY PROCEDURES – 21 Days
In this stage, you will learn how to prepare samples for analysis, conduct simple laboratory tests, and record the results accordingly as requested by the veterinarian. These tests commonly follow the patient’s examination. Laboratory test results are interpreted by the veterinarian and help them to diagnose and create an effective treatment plan for the patient. Tests must be completed in a timely manner with great attention to accuracy.
The well-educated veterinary assistant will be able to efficiently and proficiently complete laboratory tests such as those to measure and monitor changes within the patient’s body, verify organ function, monitor drug levels, and track the presence of pathogens.
Stage 8 – RADIOLOGY ULTRASOUND IMAGING AND ENDOSCOPY – 21 Days
Radiology is the major diagnostic imaging technique available to the modern veterinarian. The veterinarian’s ability to accurately use the images, however, relies on the quality of the images themselves. Performing skillful diagnostic imaging is usually the responsibility of the veterinary technician, with active assistance from the veterinary assistant; thus, the knowledgeable veterinary assistant becomes familiar with all radiological procedures completed within the veterinary facility so they can proficiently assist in their completion. This stage will teach you the knowledge essential for assisting in veterinary diagnostic imaging.
Stage 9 – CAREER BUILDING – 14 Days
This stage provides you with guidance on choosing the right career and facility for you, searching for a job, creating an exceptional cover letter and résumé, excelling during any type of interview, setting yourself up to succeed on the job and maintaining your new career long term. Whether becoming a veterinary assistant is a career change or the start of your professional experience altogether, this guidance will assist you in cementing the foundation of your career in veterinary medicine.
Stage 10 – EXTERNSHIP – Up to 20 Weeks
Upon reaching Stage 10, you’ll have the opportunity to reinforce your studies by seeing what you have learned put to practice in an animal hospital setting.
The on-site training portion of our NAVTA-approved Vet Assistant Program is critical to helping you become a veterinary assistant. It also provides valuable feedback from the mentor facility on everything from your skill sets to attendance and professional demeanor.
Since ABC strives to provide the best educational experience possible for our students, we encourage feedback from the entire staff at the veterinary facility. The facility will provide input on the skills sets that will determine if a veterinary assistant career is the right choice for you. Although it’ll be up to the veterinary facility to determine the aptitude of each student and the tasks they feel the student is capable of performing, your actions and your willingness to learn can maximize your real-world experience.
Pet CPR and First Aid Certification
Being a professional in any animal care career is accompanied by the responsibility of being able to react calmly and safely in the event of an emergency. Animal Behavior College’s Pet First Aid and CPR Certification will give you the knowledge needed to respond safely and effectively to medical emergencies like choking, heat stroke, bleeding injuries, and poisonous bites from insects and snakes.
You’ll also learn how to artificially keep a pet’s heart and lungs working until you can seek veterinary help along with many other vital life-saving skills. By learning what can happen and how to respond appropriately, you may prevent many pet emergencies from ever happening and thereby help ensure the safety of not only your own pets, but also any pets in your care.
Stage 11 – GRADUATION – 16 Days
The Final Exam is given once your vet assistant course and externship have been successfully completed. You’ll review all of the material presented in the previous stages to prepare for the final. This review time is allotted for you to re-read and study the various concepts that have been taught. The Final Exam is designed to test your overall knowledge of skills required to become a veterinary assistant and will cover all areas of the curriculum.
Benefits of the ABC Veterinary Assistant Program
Study From the Privacy of Your Own Home
When you choose to enroll in ABC’s Veterinary Assistant Program of study, you can keep your present job while completing your veterinary assistant training. The online portion of our vet assistant course brings the classroom to your living room and neighborhood, saving you time and money from having to live near and commute to campus.
Learn on your own time at your own pace. Getting your education online gives you the freedom to study around your current work or school schedule. With this flexibility, the normal completion time is 52 weeks.
Personal Program Manager
During the program, you’ll have an ABC Program Manager who will guide you through the program, counsel you, answer your questions and grade your exams. Your personal Program Manager will contact you shortly after enrollment to get acquainted and welcome you into the program. At that time, you’ll be given the Program Manager’s contact information for future interactions and assistance as you journey through the program. Start studying to become a vet assistant today. Call 800-795-3294 to sign up for our vet assistant course.
Short Term Programs
ABC offers Short Term Programs to those individuals interested in continuing their education. Although you may sign up for any of the Short Term Programs upon enrollment, you’ll only be granted access once you have successfully completed stage 9. This is done to ensure you have the knowledge necessary to maximize your learning experience.
Pet Sitting and Dog Walking
This program provides detailed information on the proper care of and interaction with a variety of pets—dogs, cats, birds, small mammals, fish and reptiles. Subjects include understanding animal communication, such as body language and vocalization, basic nutrition and hygiene, and first aid and safety. You’ll also learn how to: build relationships with clients and their pets, ensure personal and homeowner safety, create and maintain schedules, build clientele, and much more—everything you need to know to start your own pet sitting and/or dog walking business. Upon completion of this course, you’ll have a new and highly sought after service to provide to existing and future clients and their pets. Pet Sitting and Dog Walking is approved by the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC), the International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP) and the National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors (NADOI) for CEU credits.
Pet Nutrition and Diet
The Pet Nutrition and Diet Short Term Program discusses basic pet nutrition, the regulations governing commercial pet foods, and the nutritional needs for both cats and dogs. In this course, you’ll learn how to read pet food labels, including the importance of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals and protective nutrients. You’ll also learn about the different types of diets (i.e. dry food, canned food, raw food, supplements, etc.) and how food can play a huge role in a pet’s behavior. After the completion of this program, you’ll have the knowledge to educate your clients on how to provide their animals with proper nutrition based on their pet’s individual age, weight and health condition.
Pet Nutrition and Diet is approved by the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC), the International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP) and the National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors (NADOI) for CEU credits.
The Pet Massage Short Term Program gives pet groomers, dog trainers, and veterinary staff the knowledge on how to calm each pet they interact with. The ability to soothe and calm dogs through touch improves the human-animal relationship and promotes trust and bonding. This comprehensive course includes step-by-step instructions that guide you through the details of the choreography of a massage for different sizes and types of pets. Topics include: general anatomy and physiology, principles and concepts for different types of massage, creating your workspace, preparing yourself, details for how to develop a pet massage business, and much more!*
Pet Massage is approved by the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC), the International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP) and the National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors (NADOI) for CEU credits.
*State and federal laws regarding the practice of Pet Massage vary widely and are subject to change. Since ABC has no jurisdiction regarding state and federal laws revolving around the practice of Pet Massage, ABC highly recommends that potential students educate themselves on the state and federal laws and regulations and how that may affect their practice of Pet Massage before purchasing the ABC Pet Massage Short Term Program. It’s the responsibility of potential students to determine what laws and regulations their state has adopted to govern the practice of Pet Massage. ABC doesn’t assume any responsibility for state or federal regulations that prohibit or limit the practice of pet massage by the student.
Dog daycare service is rapidly expanding; it has grown by more than 12 percentage points over the past 10 years and will continue to do so. Done correctly, doggie daycare service can be incredibly lucrative. Learn how to do it right and reap the benefits of this growing market by enrolling in ABC’s Doggie Daycare Short Term Program.
In this course you will find everything you need to know to start and run a successful doggie daycare. This program contains over 400 pages of detailed digital material, covering facility considerations, insurance, licensing and permit requirements, equipment needs, marketing and promotional advice, daily care and activities for dogs, and working with owners. Doggie Daycare is approved by the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC), the International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP) and the National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors (NADOI) for CEU credits.
The Pet Fostering Short Term Program instructs you on how to work with an animal shelter or rescue to set up a pet fostering program. You will learn how to select and retain volunteers as well as match foster animals with volunteers, along with other skills essential to maintaining a pet fostering program. Pet Fostering is approved by the International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP) for CEU credits.