Veterinary Assistant

This online program will prepare you to become a productive member of a veterinary team. You'll learn about every aspect of veterinary assisting, including anatomy and physiology, animal restraint, laboratory sample collection, assisting in surgery and dentistry, prescription preparation, and taking radiographs. You’ll also learn how to interact professionally with clients and gain the expertise you need to educate them about key topics in pet care, such as nutrition, vaccinations, and administering medication. This program is designed for people who want to work at a veterinary hospital and those who are already employed in positions in which they look after animals.


  • Upon completion of the ed2go Veterinary Assistant Program, you'll:
  • Understand the duties of the veterinary assistant.
  • Learn the anatomy and physiology of the major organ systems.
  • Master office communication skills and see how to handle medical records.
  • Learn how to determine age and gender of animals.
  • Find out how to restrain animals seen at the hospital.
  • Discover how to take vital signs such as temperature, pulse, and respiration rate.
  • Learn how to trim nails, empty anal sacs, and properly bathe animals.
  • Identify the hazards you'll face in a veterinary hospital from anesthetics, infections, and X-rays,
  • Explore the reproductive cycles, diseases, and sterility procedures in cats and dogs.
  • Find out how vaccines work, when to give them, and how to administer them.
  • Learn the basics of feline and canine nutrition, including prescription foods.
  • Discover how to prepare prescriptions and understand the different drug classes. 
  • Learn the different ways to administer medications—orally, in eyes and ears, and by injection.
  • Research the euthanasia process from the client's and hospital's perspectives.
  • Learn how to take blood samples and how to restrain for the procedure.
  • Understand what blood tests tell us, and see how to do a packed cell volume and blood smear.
  • Learn how to collect urine and perform a urinalysis, and understand what the results mean. 
  • Explore diagnostic tests performed in the hospital on serum, skin, and feces.
  • Find out about radiation protection and how to position an animal to for a radiograph.
  • Recognize and alleviate pain in animals.
  • Learn how to deal with common emergencies you'll see in a veterinary hospital.
  • Learn how to chart teeth, perform common dental procedures, and provide client education on dentistry.
  • Explore the life cycles, diagnosis, and treatment options for internal and external parasites.
  • Investigate substances that can poison pets and learn about emergency treatment.
  • Learn the names of surgical instruments and how to prepare surgical packs. 
  • Figure out how to prepare a patient for surgery and help during and after the anesthetic.
  • Learn how to prepare an effective resume, advance your skills, and develop strong interview skills.


Do you love animals? Have you ever thought about a career as a veterinary assistant? Taught by a practicing veterinarian and college instructor, this intensive program provides the information you need to work with animals in a veterinary hospital.

You’ll first study the major organ systems that you’ll need to know about as a veterinary assistant. Next, you’ll move to front office duties so you can see how to work with clients and handle medical records. You'll also delve into the communication skills that come in handy for the assistant.

Then the program moves to the area you're probably most interested in—the back of the hospital. You’ll see how to restrain animals for procedures, take their vital signs (temperature, pulse, and respiration rate), trim their nails, and properly bathe them. You'll also gain the expertise you need to educate clients about key topics in pet care, such as nutrition, vaccinations, and administering medication.

The program also shows you how you can be an asset during surgery and dental procedures by monitoring heart rate and breathing, passing instruments to the surgeon, and charting teeth. You’ll learn how to prepare prescriptions, take blood samples, perform laboratory tests, and take radiographs.

The program concludes with a lesson to prepare you for the job market, in which you'll see how to create an effective resume, advance your skills, and develop strong interview skills. Upon passing this program, you’ll have the credentials and knowledge to be a valued team member in a veterinary hospital.

Upon registering, you're given six months to complete the program.

  • Registration + Fees

    Begins: Open enrollment | REGISTER

    Course: OVTX800.01

    Tuition: $2,295 | Prospective students of this program may be eligible for full or partial federal tuition assistance under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

  • Outline

    Lesson 1: Welcome to the Veterinary Hospital 
Get familiar with the different roles people have at the hospital, find out what veterinary assistants do, discover what it takes to succeed as a veterinary assistant, and explore the physical layout of a veterinary hospital.

    Lesson 2: Getting Ready for Your First Visit 
To prepare for your first visit to a veterinary hospital, you'll learn how to dress and communicate appropriately, protect the confidentiality of clients, and protect yourself from the potential hazards of the hospital.

    Lesson 3: Physiology and Anatomy 1: Directional Signs and the Skeletal System 
Describe locations on the body using medical directional terminology and apply these terms as you learn the bones of the skeletal system.

    Lesson 4: Physiology and Anatomy 2: The Nervous System, Endocrine System, and Muscles and Joints Gain an understanding of the nervous and endocrine systems as well as the muscles and joints, and recognize common diseases that affect these systems.

    Lesson 5: Physiology and Anatomy 3: The Circulatory and Respiratory Systems
 Learn the details of the circulatory system—which includes both the cardiovascular and lymphatic systems—and understand the anatomy and function of the respiratory system.

    Lesson 6: Physiology and Anatomy 4: The Digestive System, Urogenital System, Liver, and Spleen 
Investigate how the digestive and urogenital systems work in animals, and see what roles the liver and spleen play in the body.

    Lesson 7: Front Office Duties: Records, Confidentiality, and Client Relations
 Explore some front office duties, including working with medical records, handling confidentiality issues that might arise with them, understanding how liability applies to phone advice, and learning how to constructively interact with clients.

    Lesson 8: More Front Office Tips, and Determining Age and Gender of Kittens and Puppies
 Expand your knowledge of how to handle clients by learning good telephone techniques and methods of dealing with complaints, and figure out how to tell a kitten's or puppy's gender and age.

    Lesson 9: Canine Restraint
 Learn how to approach, carry, and hold dogs for your mutual safety.

    Lesson 10: Feline and Exotic Restraint 
Learn how to determine what a cat is telling you and how to restrain it, and explore techniques for handling exotic animals such as rabbits, pocket pets, and birds.

    Lesson 11: The Physical Examination: Procedures, Restraint, and Vital Signs
 Discover how to conduct a physical examination, how to restrain an animal while doing it, and how to take vital signs such as temperature, pulse, and respiration rate.

    Lesson 12: Nail Trimming, Anal Sacs, Bathing, and Clipper Care 
Learn how to trim nails, empty anal sacs, properly bathe animals and apply dips, and care for hair clippers.

    Lesson 13: Workplace Hazards and Infection Control
 Identify the hazards you'll face in a veterinary hospital, including chemicals, anesthetics, radiation, and diseases, and learn how to prevent the spread of infectious disease to patients and yourself.

    Lesson 14: The Reproductive Cycle and Sterilization Procedures
 We'll explore the reproductive cycle in cats and dogs, the diseases they are at risk for if they're not sterilized, and finally, the procedure used to stop them from being able to breed.

    Lesson 15: Vaccinology Find out what vaccines are made of, how they work, when we should give them, and how to administer them.

    Lesson 16: Nutrition Basics and Prescription Foods
 Learn the basics of feline and canine nutrition, why we use of prescription foods, and why some clients prefer homemade foods.

    Lesson 17: Prescriptions: Preparing and Calculating Doses
 Learn how to prepare prescriptions and calculate doses of medication using an animal's weight, and find out what to tell clients who ask for refills or prescriptions over the phone.

    Lesson 18: Prescriptions: Types of Medications and What They Do 
Learn the differences between over-the-counter and prescription drugs, discuss the major types of medications and what they do, and find out which human medications pose a danger to pets.

    Lesson 19: Giving Medications 
Learn the different ways to administer medications, including orally, in the eyes and ears, and by injection.

    Lesson 20: The Euthanasia Process 
Research the euthanasia process from the client's perspective, and learn how to make it as comfortable as possible.

    Lesson 21: Taking Blood Samples 
Learn the locations of the veins, how to take blood samples, and how to restrain for the procedure.

    Lesson 22: Interpreting Blood Tests and Handling Blood
 Discover what blood tests tell us about disease, and see how to do a packed cell volume and blood smear.

    Lesson 23: Urine Collection, Handling, and Interpretation
 Learn how to collect urine, what elements we measure in a urinalysis, and what the results mean.

    Lesson 24: Tests: Serology, Scrapings, Smears, Flotations, and Necropsies
 Explore the diagnostic tests commonly performed in the hospital, including serological tests, skin scrapings and cytology, fecal flotations and smears, and cultures; and see what your role will be in necropsies (post-mortem exams).

    Lesson 25: Radiographs and Personal Safety
 Learn how to produce high-quality radiographic images and how to protect yourself while taking them.

    Lesson 26: Radiographic Positioning
 Learn how to position an animal to get the correct radiographic view.

    Lesson 27: Pain Recognition and Emergency Care 
Discover how to recognize and alleviate pain in animals, and explore how to deal with common emergencies you'll see in a veterinary hospital.

    Lesson 28: Dentistry: Charting, Tooth Disease, and Dental Care 
Learn how to chart teeth, what diseases teeth suffer from, how a veterinarian does teeth cleaning and extractions, and how to educate clients about home dental care.

    Lesson 29: External Parasites: Fleas, Ticks, Mites, and More
 Explore the life cycles, diagnosis, and treatment options for external parasites including fleas, ticks, mites, lice, and ringworm.

    Lesson 30: Parasites of the Gastrointestinal Tract and Heart 
Learn about the worms that infest dogs and cats, their life cycles, and how we can control them.

    Lesson 31: Poisonings in Pets
 Investigate substances that can poison pets, including foods and household chemicals, and learn how to treat pets that have ingested poisons.

    Lesson 32: Surgery: Preparing the Patient 
Learn the names of surgical instruments and how to prepare a patient for surgery, and follow the events during anesthesia induction.

    Lesson 33: Surgery: Your Role During and After
 Learn how to prepare and handle packs, discover how to monitor patients under anesthesia and look after them once they wake up, and get a behind-the-scenes look at a complete surgery.

    Lesson 34: The Job Search and Future Opportunities 
Learn how to prepare an effective resume and be your best in an interview, and explore ideas for advancing your skills.

  • Requirements

    This program is compatible with Windows, Mac, and a variety of browsers and browser versions. You will need Adobe Flash and Adobe Reader. You will need an Internet connection (high-speed is recommended) and email capability.

    Your tuition for this program includes this textbook:

    • Tasks for the Veterinary Assistant, by Paula Pattengale


    A high school diploma or equivalent is recommended but not essential.

  • Instructor

    Jeff Grognet has been a companion animal veterinarian for over 25 years. He is a pioneer in the field of veterinary assistant teaching, having developed his first course over 20 years ago. This progressed to four short courses and finally the development of this veterinary assistant program. Jeff practices with his wife at a veterinary hospital in British Columbia, Canada. He has published thousands of articles on animal health topics for newspapers and magazines

  • FAQs

    1. Can I register for programs if I am an international student?

    Yes, because ed2go programs are online you never have to actually travel to the school. Most schools offer telephone or online registration.

    2. How long does it take to complete a program?

    All of our programs are self-paced and open enrollment, so you can start them when you want and finish them at your own pace. Upon registering, you're given six months to complete this program.

    3. Do I have to buy additional materials?

    All the materials you'll need are included, and their cost will be covered by your tuition. ed2go will ship all materials ground service upon enrollment.

    4. Can I get financial assistance?

    ed2go courses are non-credit courses, so they do not qualify for federal aid. In some states, vocational rehab or workforce development boards will pay for qualified students to take our courses.

    5. What happens when I complete the program?

    Upon successful completion of the program, you will be awarded a certificate of completion from the school.

    6. Am I guaranteed a job?

    ed2go programs will provide you with the skills you need to obtain an entry-level position in most cases. We don't provide direct job placement services, but our facilitators and career counselors will help you build your resume and are available to give advice on finding your first job. Facilitators will also be available to use as a professional reference upon completion of the program. Potential students should always do research on the job market in their area before registering.

    7. Who will be my instructor?

    Each student is paired up with a facilitator for one-on-one interaction. The facilitator will be available (via e-mail) to answer any questions you may have and to provide feedback on your performance. All of our facilitators are successful working professionals in the fields in which they teach.

    8. What software or hardware do I need in order to take online programs and what are the system requirements?

    In order to take our online programs, you must have access to a computer and the Internet. You can access the program contents from any Web-enabled computer. You don't have to use the same computer to log-in to the program every time. We recommend that you have a word-processing program (Microsoft Word is best) and the latest version of Internet Explorer.

    9. Can I use a Mac?

    Yes, you can use a Mac for this program.

    10. How can I get more information about the program?

    If you have questions that are not answered on our website, please feel free to contact us via LIVE chat (click the button toward the top of the page). If you are visiting us during non-business hours, please feel free to send us a question using the "Contact Us" form to the right. You may also call us at 1-855-520-6806. We will answer your questions promptly.

    11. When can I start the program?

    Our programs are all open enrollment. You can register and start the program as soon as you are ready.

    Please note: Once the program curriculum is accessed online or through submission of a material shipment confirmation, refunds cannot be issued.

    12. Does this program provide veterinary assistant certification?

    The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America has a certification program that began in 2012. Currently, this requires attending a college that also has a veterinary technician certification program. Once NAVTA creates a way for online programs to lead to certification, we will be exploring this avenue.

    13. Can I work at a veterinary hospital with the training from this program?

    Yes. The duties that each member of the hospital can perform are regulated by the licensing board for that state or province. By taking this program, you will obtain a veterinary-specific skill set. This will put you far ahead of other applicants who haven’t shown the desire and ambition to take a program like this. This, along with your work ethic and personality are the factors that come into play in getting a position at a veterinary hospital.

    14. Does this program prepare for any state licensure?

    No, this program does not prepare for any state licensure. In addition, students will not participate in any fieldwork experience during the course of this program.

    15. What if I don't have enough time to complete my program within the time frame provided?

    The time allotted to complete your program has been calculated based on the number of hours for each program, so don't worry too much about not completing in time. If, after a concerted effort, you are still unable to complete, your Student Advisor will help you work out a suitable completion date. Please note that a fee may be charged for an extension.

  • Reviews

    "I loved that I could do my classes any time of the day...being a military spouse I don't have a lot of free time, most of the time! I wouldn't change anything! I loved it and was satisfied with everything!!" 
- C.S., Fayetteville Technical Community College

    "I very much enjoyed this course and feel that I am walking away with a wealth of knowledge in this career field." 
- K.L., Southeast Missouri State University

    "I loved being able to complete assignments and work at home. I am a single mother of two children and cannot afford to put them in daycare so staying home with them while I completed the course saved a lot of money. I was able to spend much needed time with my girls!" 
- C.N., Central Carolina Technical College

    "I really liked the fact that it was all based on my own schedule and I did not feel rushed or stressed about homework assignments or tests.
" - B.S., Jackson State Community College

    "My instructor was wonderful! She checked in to see if everything went the way it should and made sure everyone knew they could ask any questions that they had!" 
- A.L., Ivy Tech Community College - Bloomington

    "I like how this program is self-paced and how quickly everything is graded. The facilitator always got back to me in a timely manner and I feel that I learned a lot.
" - P.H., Atlantic Cape Community College

    "Dr. Grognet is an excellent facilitator. The course content was extremely meaningful and relevant because Dr. Grognet authored the learning modules - and he appeared/demonstrated in course videos. The course content and assignments were substantive and challenging. His credentials, professional experiences, and passion for veterinary medicine are inspiring for students. The feedback received from Dr. Grognet was very timely and individualized for the student. He demonstrates professionalism and style. Lastly, the online learning platform was student friendly - ease in navigation and understandability. An excellent with distinction - program and facilitator!" 
- M.D., Youngstown State University

    "I really enjoyed the way in which the material was represented. It was fun to learn with the review games and helpful pictures. Also my facilitator was helpful in answering my questions. They answered them quickly and with much description." 
- S.K., University of North Dakota