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Medical and Dental Programs

Veterinary Assistant

Students in SJVC’s Veterinary Assistant program learn how to provide support to veterinarians, as well as provide preventative, routine, emergency, and postoperative care to pets. Earn a certificate of completion in as few as 9 months.

SJVC Veterinary student holding onto a cat

Discover What It’s Like to Become a Veterinary Assisting Student

Discover What It’s Like to Become a Veterinary Assisting Student

Ready to Do This? 

Find your path as a Veterinary Assistant

Talk to an admissions advisor about your options and earn your certificate in as few as 9 months.

What Will I Learn?

Animal Nursing
Veterinary Laboratory Procedures
Veterinary Radiology
Veterinary Dentistry & Critical Care

Career Opportunities

Veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers typically work under the supervision of veterinarians and veterinary technologists and technicians. They perform routine animal care tasks. Their duties may include:1

  • Feed, bathe, and exercise animals
  • Clean and disinfect cages, kennels, and examination and operating rooms
  • Restrain animals during examination and laboratory procedures
  • Maintain and sterilize surgical instruments and equipment
  • Monitor and care for animals after surgery
  • Help provide emergency first aid to sick and injured animals
  • Give medication or immunizations that veterinarians prescribe
  • Assist in collecting blood, urine, and tissue samples

Veterinary assistants may also perform animal intake sessions before a pet owner meets with a veterinarian. In addition to being adept at performing animal care effectively, vet assistants must also be good at communication and show empathy and understanding to pet owners they meet with.

SJVC Veterinary Assistant Career Opportunities
SJVC Veterinary Assistant Program Details

Program Details

WHAT WILL I LEARN?

Upon completion of this program, the successful student will be able to:

  • Perform the duties pertaining to veterinary clinic reception, office management, and general computer skills 
  • Perform the various duties of a veterinary assistant, such as venipuncture, administering injections, placing IV catheters, and the monitoring anesthesia in a surgical setting
  • Perform dental prophylaxis, with the capability to instruct and demonstrate in-home dental care, providing detailed explanations for future recommendations
  • Apply the concepts of animal husbandry, common diseases, signs, treatment, and prevention of disease 
  • Perform and apply laboratory procedures, as well as radiographic film processing regarded as diagnostic contributions in animal health care 
  • Demonstrate confidence in the execution of exam room protocols, such as proper pet restraining techniques, obtaining vitals, accurate recording of patient history, and client communication within the examination process
  • Relate and apply concepts of communication, reasoning, critical analysis, ethical behavior, and appropriate interpersonal interaction to situations in his or her career and personal life
  • Demonstrate the social skills, professional appearance, attitudes, and behavior that employers expect of all SJVC graduates

Students receive hands-on training and participate in an externship. The externship includes various animal care environments to give students real-world experience.

COST & FINANCIAL AID

Education is the most important investment you can make in your future. There is a financial plan available for everyone, including a broad range of financial assistance options. Visit SJVC’s Net Price Calculator to get personalized information on college costs and financial aid. Check out SJVC’s Academic Catalog to learn about program costs by campus and credential level. You also can talk to an Admissions Advisor to discuss the costs of your chosen program and schedule an appointment with an experienced financial aid officer. Student loans, grants, and scholarships are available to those who qualify.

PROGRAM AVAILABILITY

SJVC’s Veterinary Assistant program is available at:

ACCREDITATION & APPROVALS

Institutional Accreditation

San Joaquin Valley College is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), 985 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 100, Alameda, CA 94501, (510)748-9001.

www.wscuc.org

The WSCUC is an institutional accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education.

State Approvals

CALIFORNIA

SJVC is a private institution and is approved to operate as an accredited institution by the California Bureau of Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE). Approval to operate means that SJVC has been found in compliance with the standards set forth in the California Private Postsecondary Education Act of 2009 (as amended) and Title 5, Division 7.5, – Private Postsecondary Education of the California Code of Regulations. As a prospective student, you are encouraged to review this catalog prior to signing an enrollment agreement. You are also encouraged to review the School Performance Fact Sheet, which must be provided to you prior to signing an enrollment agreement.

A student or any member of the public may file a complaint about this institution with the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education by calling (888) 370-7589 or by completing a complaint form, which can be obtained on the Bureau’s internet website (www.bppe.ca.gov).

View additional State Approvals for SJVC.

Check out our guide on Veterinary Assisting

Veterinary assistants play an important role in ensuring the well-being of animals who visit veterinary offices. Veterinary assistants help veterinarians and veterinary technologists and technicians treat injuries and illnesses of animals.

If you have a love for animals, a career as a veterinary assistant can be rewarding. You can play a direct role in helping animals maintain health and well-being and in providing comfort and happiness to their owners. Learn how to become a vet assistant and what to expect from this important job in this guide.

SJVC Veterinary Assisting Career Guides

Successful Grads

Ask one of our graduates about their SJVC experience and they’ll likely describe it as life-changing.

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Veterinary Assistant FAQ

How long does it take to train a vet assistant?
You can complete veterinary assistant training in as few as 9 months. From there, you can begin your career as a vet assistant.
Do I need to be certified as a vet assistant?
According to the BLS, veterinary assistant certification is not a requirement.2
How do I get a vet assistant certificate?
    Obtaining a vet assistant certificate means you will attend a qualified Veterinary Assistant program. Check with an admissions advisor for specific admissions requirements. Before earning your certificate, you will likely take courses in:
  • Veterinary Anatomy & Physiology
  • Animal Nursing
  • Veterinary Radiology
  • Veterinary Dentistry & Critical Care
  • Veterinary Laboratory Procedures
What does a vet assistant do?
    Vet assistants work with animals under the supervision of veterinarians and veterinary technicians. Veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers typically do the following:1
  • Feed, bathe, and exercise animals
  • Clean and disinfect cages, kennels, and examination and operating rooms
  • Restrain animals during examination and laboratory procedures
  • Maintain and sterilize surgical instruments and equipment
  • Monitor and care for animals after surgery
  • Help provide emergency first aid to sick and injured animals
  • Give medication or immunizations that veterinarians prescribe
  • Assist in collecting blood, urine, and tissue samples
Is it better to be a vet tech or vet assistant?
There are pros and cons to both careers. A vet assistant2 requires less schooling than a vet technician,3 meaning you could begin working sooner. A veterinary technician may earn more than a veterinary assistant. The decision between the two careers depends on your individual goals and priorities.
Is a vet assistant a good career?
Ultimately, deciding if vet assisting is a good career choice is an individual decision. If you enjoy working with animals, talking with their owners, and collaborating with other like-minded veterinarians and vet techs, you may enjoy working as a vet assistant.