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Veterinary Technology

Earn a Veterinary Assisting Career Certificate

About the Program

Receive a Career Certificate in Veterinary Assisting

Our 3-course, fully-online Veterinary Assistant Certificate Program offers a  “front to back” approach to working as a veterinary assistant with veterinarians and veterinary nurses.

  • Learn professionalism in the veterinary medical setting, which can be applied to any medical or professional workplace.
  • The program is especially useful for veterinary assistants and receptionists currently working in a veterinary practice who want to upgrade knowledge and skills.

To complete the certificate, you must be working in a veterinary clinic or hospital setting for at least 7.5 hours a week while enrolled in VTA 88A (preceptorship).

Getting Started

Next Certificate Sequence Begins Fall 2022

For application and registration dates, see academic calendar

You must have a high school diploma or a valid GED certificate and be able to read and write proficiently in English and perform mathematical computations at the high school graduate level.

  1. Apply for admission to Foothill College
  2. Register for VT 52A Veterinary Assisting 1.

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 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.

Required Courses

This online certificate program prepares you for employment or upgrades  your knowledge and skills as a Veterinary Assistant or Receptionist in two to three quarters.

VT52A-01W-Veterinary Assisting I (Online only)

In VT52A 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-Veterinary Assisting II (Online only)

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.

VT88A -Clinical Preceptorship I

(Required 7.5 hours per  week for one quarter in a paid or volunteer position in Veterinary medical setting. You are responsible for finding your own job. Listings are available on the Handshake app in MyPortal)

*Students must already have a full or part time job in a veterinary clinic to enroll in VT88A.

To earn the certificate, you must take all three courses. You may take VT52A and VT52B first without taking VT88A. You may complete VT88A later. You may not take VT88A unless you have already completed or are concurrently enrolled in VT52A & B.

Program Outline

VT52A (offered in Fall)

  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

VT52B (offered in Winter)

  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

VT88A (offered in Spring)

  1. Formal, structured off-campus clinical experience in licensed veterinary facilities, which serve as a means of instructing the student in practical, hands-on, clinical skills in all aspects of veterinary assisting.

Online Learning Requirements

Online classes are taught using Canvas by Instructure. Visit  the Online Learning website to learn about Canvas technical requirements.

Required Course Materials

  1. Tasks for the Veterinary Assistant, 4th edition by Sonsthagen, Wiley, ISBN 13: 9781119466826
  2. Learning Veterinary Medical Terminology 2nd ed., Mc Bride, Mosby, ISBN 13: 9780323013291

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

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