Veterinary Assistant

Program: VETA
Credential: Ontario College Certificate
Delivery: Full-time
Length: 2 Semesters
Duration: 1 Year
Effective: Winter 2023
Location: Orillia


Students focus on the acquisition of the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to assist veterinary professionals in the practice of Veterinary Medicine and also in animal care settings. Students learn the handling and restraint of animals as well as basic animal husbandry and clinical procedures. Emphasis is on companion animals. Students also learn a variety of basic diagnostic laboratory techniques, surgical support procedures, receptionist and client relation skills. Students learn and reinforce their skills and knowledge through a combination of lecture and hands on laboratory practice in the on-site veterinary hospital.

Career Opportunities

Graduates may find a range of occupations as a member of veterinary health care team, including employment in veterinary clinics, zoos, wild-life centers, pet stores, animal shelters, and grooming facilities.

Program Learning Outcomes

The graduate has reliably demonstrated the ability to:

  1. provide humane and ethical care for the basic and specialized needs of a variety of domestic, exotic and wildlife animals within the scope of regulations, laws and statutes governing animals and the Veterinary Profession;
  2. recognize and stress the importance of using environmentally friendly practices and supplies within the work environment;
  3. identify and interpret animal behaviours and body language in order to restrain and manage companion animals in clinical settings;
  4. perform basic clinical procedures on animals such as assessing vital signs and administering medications, including common chemical restraints as required, under the supervision of a veterinary professional;
  5. prepare and maintain the surgical area and supplies, ensuring asepsis and assist during surgical procedures;
  6. produce standard radiographs of diagnostic quality;
  7. collect and process samples for diagnostic laboratory work and perform basic diagnostic tests;
  8. perform client relation skills, including animal care counseling, reception and basic bookkeeping duties through the use of veterinary specific software;
  9. apply basic entrepreneurial strategies to identify and respond to new opportunities.

External Recognition

Georgian College is accredited by the Canadian Council on Animal Care as a "Good Animal Practice" facility.

Program Progression 

The following reflects the planned progression for full-time offerings of the program.

Winter Intake 

  • Sem 1: Winter 2023
  • Sem 2: Summer 2023

Admission Requirements

OSSD or equivalent with

  • Grade 12 English (C or U)
  • Grade 11 or 12 Biology (C or U)

First-year enrolment is limited, satisfying minimum entrance requirements does not guarantee admission.

Mature students, non-secondary school applicants (19 years or older), and home school applicants may also be considered for admission. Eligibility may be met by applicants who have taken equivalent courses, upgrading, completed their GED, and equivalency testing. For complete details refer to:

Applicants who have taken courses from a recognized and accredited post-secondary institution and/or have relevant life/learning experience may also be considered for admission; refer to the Credit Transfer Centre website for details:

Additional Information

Within 4 weeks of the program start, all students must provide proof of current rabies vaccinations (administered within 1 year prior to the program start).  Alternatively, students can provide results of an adequate titre* taken within 30 days prior to the program start.  *Adequate titre is greater than 0.5 IU/ml: Health Canada.

Graduation Requirements

11 Program Courses
1 Communications Course
1 General Education Course

Graduation Eligibility

To graduate from this program, the passing weighted average for promotion through each semester, and to graduate is 60%. Additionally, a student must attain a minimum of 50% or a letter grade of P (Pass) or S (Satisfactory) in each course in each semester unless otherwise stated on the course outline.

Program Tracking

The following reflects the planned course sequence for full-time offerings of the Winter intake of the program. Where more  than one intake is offered  contact the program co-ordinator for the program tracking.

Plan of Study Grid
Semester 1Hours
Program Courses  
VETA 1002 Front Office and Reception 1 28
VETA 1003 Clinical Procedures 1 56
VETA 1004 Laboratory Procedures/Imaging 56
VETA 1010 Success in Veterinary Assistant and Beyond 28
VETA 1011 Basic Veterinary Anatomy and Physiology 28
VETA 1012 Veterinary Medical Terminology 28
Communications Courses  
Select 1 course from the communications list during registration. 42
Semester 2
Program Courses  
VETA 1005 Pharmacology for Veterinary Assistants 28
VETA 1006 Front Office and Reception 2 42
VETA 1007 Clinical Procedures 2 56
VETA 1008 Surgical Assisting 56
VETA 1009 Kennel and Hospital Duty 28
General Education Courses  
Select 1 course from the general education list during registration. 42
 Total Hours518

Graduation Window

Students unable to adhere to the program duration of one year (as stated above) may take a maximum of two years to complete their credential. After this time, students must be re-admitted into the program, and follow the curriculum in place at the time of re-admission.

Disclaimer: The information in this document is correct at the time of publication. Academic content of programs and courses is revised on an ongoing basis to ensure relevance to changing educational objectives and employment market needs. 

Program outlines may be subject to change in response to emerging situations, in order to facilitate student achievement of the learning outcomes required for graduation. Components such as courses, progression, coop work terms, placements, internships and other requirements may be delivered differently than published.

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