What Kinds of Classes Do You Take in Veterinary Assistant School?

Great Careers Start Here

  • Hidden
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

In veterinary assistant school, you take classes on animal health and veterinary management. Your coursework includes topics like veterinary exam room procedures, animal anatomy and physiology, diseases that can affect small animals, and animal pharmacology and toxicology. By the time you graduate, you gain the professional skills—including communication, organization, and collaboration—that are necessary for a successful career. You should also gain experience through an externship, which allows you to work at a local veterinarian practice for course credit. Here’s a more detailed look at the classes you’ll take:

Veterinary Practice Management

If you’re going to work for a veterinarian, you need to understand how a practice is run. In this introductory course, you learn what it takes to operate a small animal hospital or clinic. You explore various professional roles in a veterinary office and the main organizations within veterinary medicine. You learn veterinary vocabulary, medical procedures, safety precautions, and the emotional issues surrounding animal euthanasia. And you cover how to maintain animal medical records and act professionally with pets and their owners.

The Exam Room and Lab Procedures

Your veterinary assistant training will show you how to restrain animals in the exam room and how to educate pet owners on their animals’ nutrition and overall health. You also learn how to run blood and diagnostic tests and urinalysis tests. But running the tests doesn’t give you the answer unless you also understand what you’re looking for. Your course will also teach you to identify different parasites and blood chemistries.

Small Animal Nursing

In a small animal nursing class, you learn to care for small animals that are injured or sick. You find out how to perform emergency care, bandage wounds, and administer medication. You also learn to perform venipuncture and provide fluid injections.

Small Animal Diseases and Oncology

There are many diseases that affect small animals like dogs and cats, including cancer, osteoarthritis, and heart failure. During your training, you take several courses that cover cardiovascular diseases, nervous system disorders, cardiorespiratory diseases, digestive system problems, and dental issues that you may encounter in your future patients.

Pharmacology and Toxicology

Once you gain an understanding of the different health problems pets can have, you then learn about how they are treated. Medication is a common remedy, but it’s important to know what prescriptions are safe for different animals. You also learn to identify toxins that aren’t medications like chocolate, grapes, and raisins. And you learn about poisoning emergencies and how they should be treated.

Radiology and Surgical Assisting

Courses on radiology teach you how to take X-rays, properly position animals, and keep them safe from radiation. Your surgical courses will instruct you on surgical procedures, including the common tools used, how to ensure their sterilization and safety, and how to prepare animals for an upcoming procedure.

Externship and Professional Success Strategies

As you near the end of your training, you participate in an externship that places you at a local vet clinic. Under the supervision of a veterinarian, you gain real-world experience with animals. You may also take a class in professional success strategies, which teaches you about professionalism in the workplace and the importance of a strong work ethic.

Do you have a passion for animals? A career as a Veterinary Assistant may be the right fit for you. At Charter College, we offer a Certificate in Veterinary Assistant that can prepare you for entry-level work. The program can be completed in as few as 10 months and is offered in a blended learning format for your convenience. Call 888-200-9842 or fill out the form to learn more.