Veterinary Assistant

Career Diploma 14-18 mo
In Demand

Online Vet Assistant Program

If you love working with animals, our online NAVTA-approved Veterinary Assistant Program can help you prepare for an in-demand career as a veterinary assistant. With flexible online courses, you can build your industry knowledge at your own pace and apply what you've learned at a hands-on externship.

  • One of only 3 NAVTA-approved online veterinary assistant schools. 
  • Courses help you prepare to sit for the Approved Veterinary Assistant (AVA) exam.
  • Employment for veterinary assistants is in high demand. 
  • Penn Foster is a trusted partner of some of the largest veterinary hospitals in the country, including Banfield, VCA, and BluePearl.
Accredited
Online
Self Paced

Save up to $180 Ends 11/29/2021

Cost of Program

$849

$1,029 Save $180

or

$50/month, Start for as low as $1

1-800-471-3232 (10AM - 6:30PM EST)

veterinary assistant getting face licked by dog.

What You Will Learn

  1. How to be an effective vet assistant through the study of office procedures, communication skills, medical terminology, and standard examination procedures.
  2. How to prepare examination rooms, assist veterinary technicians and veterinarians with exams, perform basic animal handling and restraint, and assist with radiology and ultrasound imaging. 
  3. How to prepare for the Approved Veterinary Assistant examination, offered through NAVTA.
  4. How to apply your knowledge to hands-on training through a required 8-week externship.
Full Program Goal & Outcomes

Veterinary Assistant Career Outcomes

Veterinary Assistant

AVG SALARY*

$28,590/yr

NUMBER OF JOBS*

115,200

JOB GROWTH*

16%


Our programs are designed with job-readiness in mind. You'll learn what a vet assistant does and be able to apply your skills and knowledge in the workplace through a hands-on externship.

State Licensing Requirements

Licensing and/or certification requirements for jobs in this field are not the same in every state and may include educational, testing, and/or experiential requirements beyond those offered in the Penn Foster Program. Prospective students should contact the state professional licensing board or similar regulatory body in the state(s) where they plan to work to determine their requirements before enrolling in this program.  See the State Licensing page for contact information for state licensing/regulatory boards and certain industry licensing information.

veterinary assistant holding a puppy.

Veterinary Assistant Externship Experience

Penn Foster's Veterinary Assistant Training Program includes a required externship to gain hands-on experience in the field. After completing your studies online, you'll work alongside trained and licensed veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and veterinary assistants to apply what you learned to real-world experiences before graduating.


The externship is a minimum of 100 hours completed over an 8 week period. You can complete your externship at a clinic or veterinary hospital near you. 

Vet Assistant Student Success Stories

Penn Foster Veterinary Assistant graduates have gone on to start careers in veterinary practices and hospitals. Learn more about their experience.
View Student Success Stories
quote icon

Galina R.

2020 Veterinary Assistant Graduate

"Being a Penn Foster graduate gave me the confidence to go into a new career, pursue a higher education, and allowed me to coach and mentor others going into this field.”

Vet Assistant Curriculum

  • 10 courses
  • 28 exams
  • 58.3 Continuing Education Units (CEUs)
  • 1 Externship

In our Veterinary Assistant classes, you'll learn the skills and get the hands-on veterinary assistant training required to tend to the needs of animals. Your courses include:


  • Behavior, Handling, and Restraint
  • Body Systems and Terminology 1 & 2
  • Small and Large Animal Nursing
  • Radiology and Surgical Preparation
  • Veterinary Practice Administration and Procedures

Show Full Curriculum

Looking for veterinary assistant training for your workers?

Penn Foster currently works with hundreds of leading employers to meet their unique organizational needs.
Banfield Animal Hospital, VCA Animal Hospitals & BluePearl logos.
Learn More

Veterinary Assistant Diploma Tuition

Our online Vet Assistant classes are meant to be affordable on any budget. Get started today with one of our payment plan options below.

Option 1: Pay in full

Save up to $180 Ends 11/29/2021

Cost of Program

$849

$1,029 Save $180

  • Best price. Best value.
  • Pay the full cost today
  • No monthly payments
Enroll Now

Option 2: Monthly Auto Pay Plan

Save up to $30 Ends 11/29/2021

Cost of Program

$999

$1,029 Save $30

  • Pay $50 per month
  • Start for $1 down
  • Credit card, PayPal, or ACH from bank account
Enroll Now

Option 3: Monthly Mail Pay Plan

cost of program

$1,029

  • Pay $50 per month
  • Start for $49 down
  • Mail your payment using coupon book
Enroll Now

Need more info or ready to enroll?

Looking for more information on transfer credits, military benefits, or our refund policy? Find this information and more about tuition and enrollment here.

Tuition & Payment Options

We're here to help. Call 1-800-471-3232 10AM - 6:30PM EST

Request Info

Online Vet Assistant Program Reviews 

Our Proven Vet Assistant Learning Model

Empowering students to reach their professional goals

Flexible

  • Start anytime
  • No exam due dates
  • Self-paced

Interactive

  • Digital study guides
  • Self-check quizzes
  • Simulations and videos

Connected

  • 24/7 access to online resources
  • Online student community
  • Vet Assistant Facebook Group

Supportive

  • Expert faculty
  • Dedicated student services
  • Robust learning resources

Related Programs

Online Vet Assistant Program FAQs

What is the average salary of a veterinary assistant?

The national average salary for a veterinary assistant in an entry-level position was $28,590 in 2019.* 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.

What are the requirements to become a veterinary assistant?

To become a vet 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.

What are the regular duties of a veterinary assistant?

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:

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

Can I become a veterinary assistant with no experience?

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.

Can Penn Foster help me study for veterinary certifications?

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.

Are veterinary assistants in high demand?

The need for skilled veterinary assistants is projected to grow by 19% in the next ten years, much faster than average. 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.

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

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.

Disclaimers:

The completion of a certificate-level program does not typically qualify a student for employment. Completion of this program may assist students who have previous academic or work-related experience improve their chances for promotion or entry-level employment.


Sources:

*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. "Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers." Occupational Outlook Handbook. Accessed March 8, 2021.  

 

Statements found in the United States Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook are not a guarantee of any post-graduation salary, in part because the data used to create the Occupational Outlook Handbook includes workers from differing educational backgrounds, levels of experience, and geographic areas of the country.