Two Veterinary Assistant students in blue scrubs using a stethoscope on a Yorkshire terrier dog in an animal clinic setting

Support the veterinary health-care team as a veterinary assistant

Veterinary Assistant Ontario College Certificate program

Love animals? Work with cats and dogs in our on-campus veterinary hospital. Emphasis on companion animals. High student satisfaction.

Program code VETA
Duration 1 Year
Credential Ontario College Certificate
Delivery Full-time

Program information

Program description

Students focus on the acquisition of the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to assist veterinary professionals in the practice of Veterinary Medicine and also in animal care settings. Students learn the handling and restraint of animals as well as basic animal husbandry and clinical procedures. Emphasis is on companion animals. Students also learn a variety of basic diagnostic laboratory techniques, surgical support procedures, receptionist and client relation skills. Students learn and reinforce their skills and knowledge through a combination of lecture and hands on laboratory practice in the on-site veterinary hospital.

Intake information

Start date Campus
Winter 2023 Orillia

Tuition and fees

What are the admission requirements for the Veterinary Assistant program?

Veterinary Assistant admission requirements

OSSD or equivalent with

  • Grade 12 English (C or U)
  • Grade 11 or 12 Biology (C or U)

First-year enrolment is limited, satisfying minimum entrance requirements does not guarantee admission.

Mature students, non-secondary school applicants (19 years or older), and home school applicants may also be considered for admission. Eligibility may be met by applicants who have taken equivalent courses, upgrading, completed their GED, and equivalency testing. For complete details refer to:

Applicants who have taken courses from a recognized and accredited post-secondary institution and/or have relevant life/learning experience may also be considered for admission; refer to the Credit Transfer Centre website for details:

Admission details

Within 4 weeks of the program start, all students must provide proof of current rabies vaccinations (administered within 1 year prior to the program start).  Alternatively, students can provide results of an adequate titre* taken within 30 days prior to the program start.  *Adequate titre is greater than 0.5 IU/ml: Health Canada.

What career paths can I take as a vet assistant?

Your Veterinary Assistant certificate gives you many career opportunities

Graduates may find a range of occupations as a member of veterinary health care team, including employment in veterinary clinics, zoos, wild-life centers, pet stores, animal shelters, and grooming facilities.

What courses are included in the Veterinary Assistant certificate program?

Course overview

11 Program Courses
1 Communications Course
1 General Education Course

Program-specific courses

Semester 1 courses are listed below. For a full list of courses in the program including course descriptions, view the Veterinary Assistant program outline.

  • VETA 1002 – Front Office and Reception 1
  • VETA 1003 – Clinical Procedures 1
  • VETA 1004 – Laboratory Procedures/Imaging
  • VETA 1010 – Success in Veterinary Assistant and Beyond
  • VETA 1011 – Basic Veterinary Anatomy and Physiology
  • VETA 1012 – Veterinary Medical Terminology
  • Select 1 course from the communications list during registration.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What is the difference between a veterinary technician and a veterinary assistant?Georgian College Chevron

While both of these professionals are valuable members of the veterinary health-care team, there are notable differences in the responsibilities.

A veterinary technician is often referred to as the veterinarian’s “right-hand person”. They are responsible for an assortment of duties including: anesthesia, surgical assisting, taking radiographs and completing diagnostic lab work as well as providing an array of nursing skills, such as intravenous catheterization and taking blood.

A veterinary assistant works to support the veterinary team by performing duties such as restraining animals, providing care for the animals (e.g. walking dogs, cleaning kennels), cleaning surgical instruments and the veterinary hospital as well as performing receptionist duties.

Is there an opportunity to become part of a registered organization?Georgian College Chevron

Veterinary assistants are not a regulated profession. Currently, there is no professional association for veterinary assistants.

Do graduates find jobs?Georgian College Chevron

The most recent key performance indicator data (2019) found that 60 per cent of students in the Veterinary Assistant program found employment upon graduation.

Is the Veterinary Assistant program demanding?Georgian College Chevron

Yes! You can expect classes (lectures and labs) any day between Monday to Friday, starting as early as 8 a.m. and extending into the evening. To be successful, you should have strong time management and study skills. Typically, you would be expected to complete chapter readings, review videos, lectures and procedures before lab as well as complete prep work for lab and lecture classes.

In addition to course demands, you will also complete rotations caring for the animals that are housed on campus. This rotation occurs in the second semester of the program.

Kennel duty occurs Monday to Thursday. The rotation is usually performed three times throughout the semester. You will work in a group and will be responsible for walking the dogs, feeding and watering the cats and dogs as well as cleaning the kennels and the animal housing area. Kennel duty begins at 8 a.m. for one hour and also includes a late afternoon shift between 5 to 6 p.m.

Are there opportunities for work experience in the program?Georgian College Chevron

Yes. Our onsite veterinary hospital is designed to give you the feeling of working in a veterinary clinic. In your final semester, you will participate in courses that mimic a surgical rotation. With dogs and cats as patients, students assist the veterinarian and registered veterinary technician in the completion of spays and neuters.

These experiences will help you become job-ready upon graduation.

Do you have questions about Veterinary Assistant? Contact us!

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