The Veterinary Assistant (VETA) program is a collaborative educational program being offered through a partnership between Skagit Valley College and the Northwest Career & Technical Academy (Academy). The Academy occupies a new building on the SVC campus and opened its doors to students September 2010. The Academy specializes in hands-on professional-technical training taught by industry professionals in a variety of program areas. The Veterinary Assistant program is a three-quarter (two semester) certificate designed to provide entry-level skills and education to students interested in pursuing a career in the field of animal science. The Academy provides the classroom and practicum site for this program. This is a full-year program (Sept.-June) with courses scheduled sequentially. Students attend classes for 2.5 hours per day Monday - Friday. Students may enter this program Fall Quarter only. Class Hours: Students may choose either an a.m. or p.m. section, i.e., 8:00a.m.-10:30a.m. daily or 11:30 - 2:00 p.m. daily.
The Veterinary Assistant program prepares students to be a valuable member of the veterinary support team while assisting the Licensed Veterinary Technician and/or the Veterinarian in all aspects of patient care. The Veterinary Assistant program includes classroom theory and practicum experiences. In the classroom lab, students will receive hands-on experience with animals. Program content requires the application of basic math, technical reading, and communications skills. Students must also submit evidence of a tetanus immunization. Students need to be aware that some practicum sites may require a drug screening test prior to placement. Criminal convictions may restrict or prevent student employment in this industry. Veterinary Assistants work in a variety of settings including private veterinary clinics, animal shelters, humane societies, laboratories, large animal facilities, wildlife rehabilitation centers, grooming shops, stables, boarding kennels, farms, aquariums, zoos, and animal parks.
Veterinary Assistants provide surgical and nursing care to animals in clinics as well as field settings. The duties may include basic patient care and supportive nursing, client education and customer service, laboratory procedures, kennel and clinic maintenance. In some work environments assistants may bathe, groom, exercise or otherwise care for pets and other animals such as dogs, cats, ornamental fish or birds, livestock, zoo animals, or mice in research facilities. Assistants may clean and disinfect cages and work areas, and sterilize laboratory and surgical equipment. They may provide routine post-operative care, administer medication orally or topically, or prepare samples for laboratory examination under the supervision of veterinary or laboratory animal technologists or technicians, veterinarians, or scientists. They may keep records of feedings, treatments, and animals received or discharged.
Veterinary Assistant positions are listed as an “in-demand” occupation for the Northwest Region which includes Whatcom, Skagit and Island counties. According to the “National Industry-Occupation Employment Matrix,” (a publication of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) demand for professional Veterinary Assistants will rise 16% by 2016. Pet owners are increasingly taking advantage of veterinary services, spurring employment growth for Veterinary Assistants. The companion pet population-which drives employment of animal caretakers in kennels, grooming shops, animal shelters, and veterinary clinics and hospitals-is also expected to increase. Pet owners are expected to increasingly take advantage of grooming services, daily and overnight boarding services, training services, and veterinary services, resulting in more jobs for animal care and service workers. Source: Occupational Outlook Handbook (www.ocouha.com)
Program Learning Outcomes
Graduates of the Veterinary Assistant program will be able to:
- Maintain a safe work environment and interact with animals in a safe manner.
- Understand and demonstrate application of basic medical terminology and lab science, including anatomy and physiology, and animal parasitology.
- Understand basic lab procedures related to hematology, bacteriology, virology, and immunology.
- Understand how vaccines work and which vaccines are appropriate for selected species.
- Understand the causes of disease & the process of diagnosis, treatment & prevention of disease in animals.
- Demonstrate ability using current veterinary techniques to restrain, prep and assist in the performance of medical, dental or surgical procedures in order to care for live animals.
- Demonstrate positive work ethics, professionalism and function as an integral member of an effective veterinary health care team.
- Understand and practice the professional laws, regulations and policies established by the licensing state and regulatory agencies.
- Practice and promote humane animal care and management.
- Demonstrate appropriate workplace behaviors, regular attendance, punctuality, ability to communicate well with others, contribute to the team process, and use appropriate problem-solving & leadership skills.
- Be prepared for entry-level work and/or entry to advanced education at the college level.
Entry into the Program
Please apply at Enrollment Services. Students may enter the program Fall quarter. For more information, contact the Department Chair or Enrollment Services.
Students must maintain a minimum C grade or above in all required courses.