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Home > Veterinary Studies > Veterinary Assistant Career Diploma

Veterinary Assistant School

If you love working with animals, take the first step toward a new career as a Veterinary Assistant with the NAVTA-approved Veterinary Assistant program at Penn Foster College. Take affordable classes online — at your own pace — and apply what you've learned from Veterinary Assistant school at a hands-on externship, getting you ready for a career in the growing field of Veterinary Sciences.
NAVTA-Approved Veterinary Assistant School

Why Attend a NAVTA-Approved Veterinary Assistant School?

While Veterinary Assistants are not required to be a graduate of a NAVTA-approved veterinary assistant school, based on a recent employer survey, 87% of veterinary practices are more likely to hire a graduate of a NAVTA-approved Veterinary Assistant program.¹

Why Become a Veterinary Assistant?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Veterinary Assistant jobs are on the rise and projected to grow 19% through 2028² but you will need veterinary assistant training to be eligible for these roles. With the Penn Foster Veterinary Assistant program, you'll learn important on-the-job skills like handling and restraint, providing emergency first aid to animals, using veterinary terminology, and more. To see how our Veterinary Assistant program helped one graduate, check out our conversation with Caitlin Louden.
Why Choose Penn Foster College?
Start and Study When You Want
Learn at home or on the go through our custom-designed, mobile-friendly learning platform, available 24/7.​
Award-Winning Faculty
Learn from Penn Foster’s dedicated and passionate Veterinary Academy Team, winners of the AVTE-Merial Award for Excellence in Team Teaching!
Hands-On Training
Hands-On Training
Apply what you've learned at the veterinary practice of your choice through our hands-on externship program.
Set Your Goals and Pace
Customize your study and exam schedule with progress-tracking and goal-setting tools that keep you moving forward.
Penn Foster is one of only three online Veterinary Assistant programs approved by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA).
Connect with Other Students
Connect in real-time with other Veterinary Assistant students in the Penn Foster Community.​

Veterinary Assistant Tuition

Affording an education that can help you take the first steps toward a career in veterinary medicine isn’t easy. At Penn Foster, we work to keep our Vet Assistant tuition costs and program fees as low as possible. With several payment plan options, you can start working toward the education you want, on your budget.
Tuition compare chart
Student Experience

A Customized Learning Experience

With mobile-friendly coursework, progress-tracking and goal-setting tools, virtual simulations, informative videos, and personal coaches to help you succeed, the Penn Foster Experience (PFx) is online learning like no other.

Veterinary Assistant Classes

Our Veterinary Assistant training program will help you gain the knowledge, skills, and hands-on experience that can help you take steps toward a certified Veterinary Assistant job. Aligned with NAVTA standards, your Veterinary Assistant program will cover caring for animals after surgery, helping provide emergency first aid and medication to sick or injured animals, maintaining and sterilizing surgical instruments and equipment, obtaining animal health histories, and more. Find out more about each of the courses you will take in our Veterinary Assistant program!
Penn Foster Veterinary Assistant Curriculum

Important State Requirements: Be sure to check here for the requirements in your state.

  • I apply the skills I learned every day during my job. I'm constantly placing catheters, intubating, running anesthesia, clipping in cleaning wounds. I learned all this at Penn Foster.
    Coty F.
    Veterinary Techician Graduate
  • You learn at your own speed. How it works for you is how you make it work.
    Christan B.
    Veterinary Assistant Graduate
  • After being a veterinary receptionist I became more knowledgeable about the field and different roles and departments. I was eager and hungry to learn more. So I did my research and decided this is what I truly want to do. I chose Penn Foster because I knew if I paid out my pocket I definitely would finish, I refused to throw my money away.
    Ashley B.
    Veterniary Assistant Graduate
Veterinary Assistant graduate

Veterinary Assistant FAQ

Q. What is the average salary of a veterinary assistant?

A. The national average salary for a veterinary assistant in an entry-level position was $27,540 in 2018.² Depending on experience, education, and state of residence, the salary for a vet assistant can vary so it’s important to check the average salary in your area. With sites like Indeed and Glassdoor, you can get an idea of what vet assistants in your area are paid to start.

Q. What are the requirements to become a veterinary assistant?

A. To become a veterinary assistant, the basic requirements often begin with having a high school diploma or higher, though requirements may differ based on state and practice or hospital standards. While earning a degree or career diploma is not necessarily a requirement for being hired, it can help prospective assistants stand out to practice managers. To enroll in the online veterinary assistant training program at Penn Foster, students should have a high school diploma or GED and must be 18 years or older.

Q. What are the regular duties of a veterinary assistant?

A. Though duties and responsibilities can vary based upon the work environment, most veterinary assistants handle routine animal care and assist veterinarians and veterinary technicians with daily tasks. Typically, as a vet assistant, you’ll be responsible for

  1. Feeding, bathing, and exercising animals boarding at the clinic.
  2. Cleaning and disinfecting cages, kennels, and exam rooms.
  3. Restraining animals during exams and laboratory procedures.
  4. Monitoring and caring for animals after surgery.

Q. Can Penn Foster help me study for veterinary certifications?

A. Yes! Penn Foster’s online Veterinary Assistant program is 1 of only 3 online vet assistant programs approved by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians of America (NAVTA) and the curriculum is aligned with their standards. Once you graduate, you are eligible to sit for the Approved Veterinary Assistant examination offered through NAVTA. Upon passing the exam, you earn the designation of Approved Veterinary Assistant.

Q. Are veterinary assistants in high demand?

A. The need for skilled veterinary assistants is projected to grow by 19% in the next ten years, much faster than average.² With an estimated 67% of U.S. households claiming at least one pet, practices and clinics will need to hire trained, knowledgeable assistants and technicians to meet client demand.

Q. How long does it take to become a veterinary assistant at Penn Foster?

A. Penn Foster’s flexible, online veterinary assistant classes can be completed in as little as 7 months. With the ability to set your own pace, it’s up to you and your schedule when you finish the coursework. Once you’ve completed your academic work, you’ll participate in an 8-week externship to gain hands-on knowledge.

Q. Can I become a veterinary assistant with no experience?

A. While experience in the field isn’t necessary for some, it can be easier to find a position at a veterinary practice or hospital with previous relevant work on your resume. Through completing your academic and externship requirements in a NAVTA approved training program, you can demonstrate to potential employers that you have learned the knowledge and skills that are useful to working in the field.

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Get started today on your path towards an exciting career as a Veterinary Assistant with Penn Foster College's accredited, online program.

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¹ Penn Foster. "Veterinary Technician and Assistant Employer Survey." 22 Aug 2014.

² Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers, on the Internet here.