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Veterinary Assistant

Algonquin College
Program overview
1 year
Diploma / certificate
Scholarships available
Start dates
September 2022

September 2023

September 2024
Algonquin College

About this program

Veterinary Assistant

Turn your interest and passion for animal care into a career.

The one-year, two-semester Veterinary Assistant Ontario College Certificate program provides you with a strong foundation of theory and practical skills necessary to provide quality care and support in the veterinary clinics and related animal care settings. Areas of study include animal handling and restraint techniques, surgical preparation, common diseases, animal behavior, laboratory procedures, grooming techniques, business procedures, client service skills. The development of strong interpersonal and communication skills is emphasized. The program relies on a variety of course delivery formats including traditional in-class labs and lectures, hybrid and off-site labs. The focus is primarily companion animal care, with additional information on large animal, shelter animal and laboratory animal care.

Admission requirements

This program is well suited for students who:

  • Are detail-oriented, organized and able to work independently.
  • Enjoy working as a team member.
  • Are receptive to direction, able to multitask and work efficiently.
  • Have the ability to apply theoretical knowledge into practical skills.
  • Have flexible schedules and can perform shift work including evenings, weekends and holidays.
  • Possess good communication and interpersonal skills, and have the ability to develop professional relationships with coworkers and clientele.
  • Are dedicated to providing quality and compassionate animal care.
  • Are comfortable working in a clinical setting and handling biological materials such as urine, feces and blood.
  • Have the ability to lift and carry up to 25kg, stand for long periods of time and handle a physically demanding environment.

College Eligibility

  • Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent. Applicants with an OSSD showing senior English and/or Mathematics courses at the Basic Level, or with Workplace or Open courses, will be tested to determine their eligibility for admission; OR
  • Academic and Career Entrance (ACE) certificate; OR
  • General Educational Development (GED) certificate; OR
  • Mature Student status (19 years of age or older and without a high school diploma at the start of the program). Eligibility may be determined by academic achievement testing for which a fee of $50 (subject to change) will be charged.

Program Eligibility

  • English, Grade 12 (ENG4C or equivalent) with a grade of 65% or higher.
  • Mathematics, Grade 12 (MAP4C or equivalent) with a grade of 65% or higher.
  • Biology, Grade 11 or 12 with a grade of 65% or higher.
  • Applicants with international transcripts must provide proof of the subject specific requirements noted above and may be required to provide proof of language proficiency. Domestic applicants with international transcripts must be evaluated through the International Credential Assessment Service of Canada (ICAS) or World Education Services (WES).
  • IELTS-International English Language Testing Service (Academic) Overall band of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each band; OR TOEFL-Internet-based (iBT)-overall 88, with a minimum of 22 in each component: Reading 22; Listening 22; Speaking 22; Writing 22.

For more information about admission requirements, please visit the college website.

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Program content

Level: 01

  • Communications I
  • Veterinary Mathematics
  • Animal Restraint, Nursing and Surgical Care I
  • Grooming I
  • Shelter Animal Care
  • Animal Anatomy, Physiology and Common Diseases.
  • Information Technology in Veterinary Practice
  • Ethology
  • Health and Safety in Veterinary Practice

Level: 02

  • Healthy Lifestyle
  • Field Placement
  • Veterinary Pharmaceuticals
  • Fundamentals of Veterinary Practice
  • Animal Restraint, Nursing and Surgical Care II
  • Laboratory Procedures
  • Grooming II
  • Laboratory Animal Care
  • Animal Nutrition

Scholarships & funding

Several scholarship options are available. Please check the college website for more information.


For more information about tuition fees, please visit the college website. 


The graduate has reliably demonstrated the ability to:

  1. Identify and provide for the basic and specialized needs of a variety of domestic, exotic and laboratory animals.
  2. Restrain and manage companion animals safely in clinical situations.
  3. Administer medications by common drug routes under the supervision of a veterinarian.
  4. Assist with the administration and monitor the use of common chemical restraint agents.
  5. Prepare instruments, equipment and the physical environment for surgery.
  6. Prepare for and assist during surgical procedures.
  7. Assist in the production of standard diagnostic radiographs.
  8. Collect and process samples and perform basic diagnostic tests.
  9. Perform select laboratory tests.
  10. Provide client education related to animal care.
  11. Document and record patient care using established guidelines and veterinary practice software.
  12. Perform routine veterinary business and client service skills.
  13. Identify and apply discipline-specific practices that contribute to the local and global community through social responsibility, economic commitment and environmental stewardship.

Career paths

Graduates may find employment in areas such as veterinary clinics, laboratory animal research facilities, grooming salons, humane societies, boarding facilities and retail pet supply outlets.

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About this institute

Algonquin College

Consider Algonquin’s unique campuses Algonquin College, located in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, offers an experience that includes personalized learning and industry-ready skills through field-work, work placement and co-op.  With more than 300 programs, including degrees and graduate certificates, we have the...

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Why study at Algonquin College

Canada ranked #1 study abroad country

Canada has been ranked the #1 study abroad country in the world for 2020! Known for its untouched natural beauty, friendly and welcoming locals, and a culture of tolerance and diversity, Canada is a clear choice for students looking to study abroad.

Contact info

Algonquin College

1385 Woodroffe Avenue
K2G 1V8 Ottawa Ontario

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