Veterinary Assistant

Become a Veterinary Assistant

Veterinary assistants are in demand: The job outlook for vet assistants is expected to grow 19% from 2018 to 2028, which is much faster than the average growth rate of 5% for all occupations¹. Pet owners are projected to spend more on their animals, which is driving the growing demand for vet assistants in California.

And if you are or want to train to become a veterinary assistant in California, check out this stat: California has the highest level of employment of veterinary assistants out of all the states in the U.S., coming in at 12,410 employed vet assistants from a May 2018 report².

If you’re interested in becoming a veterinary assistant, SJVC can help you get the training you need. Our Veterinary Assistant program prepares students with the skills to help animals when they need it most. This in-depth training covers animal patient care including lab tests, radiology procedures and surgical procedures. Our students gain the hands-on skills and professionalism required to become successful veterinary assistants.



Veterinary Assistant Program Details

Skills Students Learn

Students in our Veterinary Assistant program learn:

  • Animal nursing fundamentals
  • Laboratory procedures
  • Diagnostic imaging
  • Veterinary office practices
  • Animal handling and restraint

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

Program Course Examples

Courses* taken by our Veterinary Assistant students include:

Introduction to Veterinary Assisting

Students will learn the role of the veterinary assistant in various occupational settings. They will explain the legal and ethical responsibilities, as well as the communication and math skills needed for a veterinary setting. Students will differentiate basic husbandry practices and perform safe animal capture, handling, and restraint techniques. Disinfection and infection control procedures will also be covered.

Animal Nursing

This course focuses on infectious and non-infectious diseases of animals, including zoonotic diseases. Students will identify the basic principles of disease transmission, pathology, and prevention. The fundamentals of immunology will be introduced and discussed.  Students will practice essential veterinary nursing skills.

Veterinary Laboratory Procedures

This course focuses on demonstrations and laboratory exercises covering routine examinations of blood, urine, feces, and cytology from a variety of species. Normal and abnormal values will be presented and treatment for disorders will be discussed. The proper use and handling of lab equipment will be demonstrated and lab samples will be analyzed. Basic microbiological procedures will be discussed and demonstrated.

*Course listings are subject to change. Reference the SJVC College Catalog for the  most current program information.

Program Outcomes

Students can earn a Certificate of Completion in as few as 9 months.

Graduates can apply for licensure by meeting all of the Veterinary Medical Board requirements, such as completing 4,416 hours of practical experience under the direct supervision of a California licensed veterinarian. The candidate must also submit all SJVC course outlines to the Veterinary Medical Board. For additional details, please see

Program Availability

SJVC’s Veterinary Assistant program is available at:

Career Opportunities

Veterinary assistants are qualified to assist veterinarians who treat animals. Graduates are also qualified to work in animal shelters, zoos, and research facilities, and prepared to perform the following job duties:

  • Monitor animals under anesthesia
  • Perform radiology procedures
  • Assist in surgical procedures
  • Bathe, comfort & feed sick animals
  • Perform laboratory tests

Accreditation and Approvals

Institutional Accreditation

San Joaquin Valley College is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges, 10 Commercial Blvd., Suite 204, Novato, CA 94949, (415) 506-0234, an institutional accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education. Additional information about accreditation, including the filing of complaints against member institutions, can be found at

Questions or requests to review documents pertaining to accreditation should be directed to:

Crystal G. VanderTuig, Accreditation Liaison Officer
San Joaquin Valley College
3828 West Caldwell Avenue, Visalia, CA 93277
(559) 734-9000

State Approvals

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 (

View additional State Approvals for SJVC.