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Certificate in

Veterinary Assistant

Employ your passion for animals and prepare yourself for an exciting and fast-paced career in the veterinary services industry with a flexible, fully online program.


Turn Your Love of Animals Into A Thriving Career

With Cal State East Bay's Veterinary Assistant program, you’ll acquire the range of knowledge and skills to become a productive member of a veterinary team. Taught by a practicing veterinarian and seasoned instructor, you’ll master topics from veterinary medical terminology and veterinary office practices to recognizing signs and symptoms of illness and assisting a veterinarian with surgical and treatment procedures. Everything you need to make a positive difference in the life of an animal.

The Princeton Review

Selected by The Princeton Review as a "Best in the West" college

Vet Tech Colleges

Featured as one of seven top online veterinary assisting programs in the U.S. by Vet Tech Colleges

Advance at Your Own Pace

Offered in partnership with Ed2Go, Cal State East Bay’s program is featured in a convenient online format to fit your busy lifestyle. You’ll enjoy the flexibility of learning at your own pace, enabling you to accelerate your education and boost your career. 

Prior to taking this course, I had no experience as a veterinary assistant. After receiving the certificate, I not only had more employment opportunities, but I was also able to earn more than individuals who didn't have the certificate.

Miranda CoatesClass of 2013

The Opportunity to Further Your Cause in a Growing Industry

Do you love animals? Foster your passion with an exciting and fast-paced career in veterinary technology. As a veterinary assistant, you will have the opportunity to care for animals on a daily basis and help veterinarians treat animals for illness and injuries in a variety of settings including animal hospitals, public and private clinics, and laboratories. 

Vet Assistant alt

Research shows that veterinary assistant positions are expected to increase as the pet care industry grows.

Typical duties for veterinary assistants include feeding, bathing and exercising animals, maintaining office and exam room cleanliness, helping administer medications or immunizations to animals, assisting in routine laboratory tests, and aiding veterinarians during surgery. 

Occupational Outlook

10% Growth

Employment of veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers is projected to grow 10 percent from 2012 to 2022.
-Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor

$23-$35K Salary

The median annual wage for veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers was $23,130 in 2012, with the top 10 percent earning more than $35,510.
-Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor

74,600 Jobs

Veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers held about 74,600 jobs in 2012.
-Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor

Jump-start Your Career in Veterinary Medicine

By earning your Veterinary Assistant Certificate from Cal State East Bay, you are informing employers that you take the field of veterinary medicine seriously. The education you receive from an accredited university qualifies you to serve as a valued team member in a variety of settings, including animal hospitals, zoos, animal shelters, private and public clinics, and laboratories.   

Successful graduates have secured jobs at veterinary hospitals and clinics in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. Others have used their credential as a stepping-stone into the world of animal medicine by furthering their education at prestigious veterinary medicine schools nationwide.

Having my certificate showed my dedication to the field of veterinary medicine when applying to veterinary school. Almost immediately after finishing the course, I obtained a job as a veterinary assistant at Adobe Animal Hospital. I will also be attending veterinary school at Western University's College of Veterinary Medicine in the fall!

Miranda CoatesClass of 2013

Program Objectives

As a Cal State East Bay graduate, you’ll leave the program with: 

The skills and confidence to interact professionally with animals and their owners.

A thorough grounding in veterinary medical terminology, the anatomy and physiology of the major organ systems, the basics of responsible animal care, and the roles and responsibilities of a veterinary assistant.

A strong understanding of measures that prevent injury to animals, their owners and the veterinary team, including proper office and compartment cleaning methods.

The knowledge and skills necessary to communicate effectively with a veterinary team, assist a veterinarian with caring for animals, and assist with surgical and treatment procedures including an understanding of how to handle animal specimens correctly and process them accurately.

Administrative skills for operating a veterinary office, such as scheduling appointments and handling medical records.

The knowledge and confidence necessary to meet the highest legal, ethical, and professional standards.

Find out what you’ll learn in the program. »

Cal State Excellence, Online Convenience

When you take part in the Veterinary Assistant program at Cal State East Bay, you can feel confident knowing you are receiving an in-depth knowledge of all things related to veterinary assisting. As part of the dynamic curriculum, you’ll learn everything from how to perform typical office duties to the physiology and anatomy of animals and being an asset during animal procedures.

The program even includes a lesson in job market preparation, so you’ll be ready to apply for jobs as soon as you graduate. And with a fully-online course, you can learn at your own pace and from the comfort of your home.

Program Format

The Veterinary Assistant Certificate program is conveniently offered online and is compatible with all major browsers and operating systems. In order to successfully complete the program, you will need Adobe Flash and Adobe Reader. You will also need an Internet connection and email capability. 

All course materials you'll need are included in the cost of tuition, including the textbook Tasks for the Veterinary Assistant by Paula Pattengale.

Certificate Requirements

To earn a Veterinary Assistant Certificate, you must complete one required course. The course includes lessons in:

Animal physiology and anatomy

Veterinary office practices and front office duties

Animal restraint techniques

How to conduct a physical examination

Your role during and after surgeries

Workplace hazards and infection control

Performing diagnostic tests


Nutrition basics and prescription foods

The euthanasia process

Giving medications

Collecting blood and urine samples

Radiographs and personal safety

The job search and future opportunities

Required CoursesUnitsFallWinterSpringSummer
EXSP 8527: Veterinary Assistant
24 CEUs

Jeff Grognet, ed2go 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. Grognet 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.

Next, find out how to apply and join the program. »

Ready to enroll?

Admission to the Veterinary Assistant Certificate program is open to any interested student who can satisfactorily complete the course work. A high school diploma or equivalent is recommended. No veterinary office work experience is required. Program enrollment is open year-round, so you can start when you want and finish at your own pace.  

Common Questions

What is the refund policy for this program?

This program follows a strict refund policy. Once you obtain course materials and have been given access to the online class, you are ineligible for a refund.

How long does it take to complete a program?

The program is self-paced and has an open enrollment policy, so you can start when you want and finish at your own pace.  Upon registering, you're given an initial six months to complete this program.  Should you need more time, you may request a six-month extension at no additional charge.  

Do I have to buy additional materials?

All the materials you'll need are included in the cost of your tuition. The materials will be mailed to you upon enrollment.

What software or hardware do I need to take the program and what are the system requirements?

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. A word-processing program (such as Microsoft Word) and the latest version of Internet Explorer are recommended.


Do I need to formally apply to the program?

No formal application is required for this program. Simply enroll in the course at any time to start the program.


When can I start the program?

The program offers open enrollment, so you can register and start the program as soon as you are ready.


Is financial aid available?

Traditional Financial Aid (such as completing the FAFSA, Pell Grants, etc.) is not applicable for certificate programs, but there may be other options available to you. Learn more about other financial aid options.

Search Results

At Cal State East Bay, we pride ourselves on putting students first, from the moment your inquire until you graduate. We hope you've found answers to your questions in this support center, but if not, please get in touch.

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At a Glance

Area of study: Certificate in Veterinary Assistant

Ideal for: Professionals interested in working in a veterinary office

Program format: Online

Number of courses: 1 course

Program length: 170 hours, self-paced

Tuition costs: $2,025 (Tuition fees are subject to change at any time.)


Please let us know if we can answer any questions about the Veterinary Assistant program. Many answers can also be found in our online Support Center.

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