Veterinary Assistant

Gain the skills necessary to start a successful career in the field of animal care and as a veterinary assistant.

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53 Weeks


8 Weeks

Program Outline

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About The Program

The Veterinary Assistant diploma program provide you with the administrative skills needed for the veterinary office and animal care environment. Gain an introduction to the field of veterinary medicine, nutrition needs and nursing. Throughout the program, you will acquire an understanding of purebred cats and dogs, how to identify breeds of cats and dogs and discuss their health care requirements. Develop real-world work experience through an 8-week field placement so that you graduate with the skills and experience that employers want.


Career Opportunities

The Veterinary Assistant Diploma program will qualify graduates to pursue positions in veterinary clinics, animal care agencies, or positions in pet stores.

Employers Who Have Hired Eastern Grads

  • Safety Services
  • SPCA
  • Oromocto Vet Hospital 
  • Cedar Hills Animal Hospital 
  • Grey Cove Vet 
  • Mayfield Veterinary Clinic


89 %

Employment Rate*

$ 14

Average Wage/hr**

$ 16

High Wage/hr**

*Employment Rate based on 2022 contactable Eastern graduates employed in a related field within 12 months.

Source: workingincanada.gc.ca

NOC Code: 6563, 1411 - **Wage data based on NOC Code 6563 and rounded down to the nearest dollar based on New Brunswick data. Average wage doesn't reflect the starting salary but represents the middle value between lowest to highest wages. Local (or regional) income may vary. Last updated in Jan 2024.

Program Details

Do you want to pursue a career helping animals? The Veterinary Assistant program at Eastern College combine hands-on clinical experience with administrative support training to prepare you for a role in the world of veterinary care. Whether providing clinical assistance or handling client communication, graduates from this program are essential to the operation of every veterinary clinic.

Course Listings: New Brunswick
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Icon-Quiz-Small Created with Sketch. Small Animal Medicine for VAS
This module is designed to introduce students to the preventive health programs of small animal medicine. The veterinary assistant plays an important role in educating and advising clients on vaccines, de-worming, and other aspects of preventing health problems in companion animals.
Icon-Quiz-Small Created with Sketch. Small Animal Nursing for VAS
This module is intended to introduce students to the different areas of small animal nursing. It will give the students sufficient hands-on experience and practice in areas such as, First Aid and restraint and handling. Students will gain a basic understanding of veterinary office-management software functions and applications. There will be guest speakers, field trips to vet clinics and hospitals and many hands-on activities. Certification in Pet First Aid will be offered during this course through St. John Ambulance.
Icon-Quiz-Small Created with Sketch. Bookkeeping Fundamentals
In this module you will explore fundamental bookkeeping principles and practices for small businesses. You will apply Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) to financial statements and demonstrate how each principle impacts the transactional recording and the business, both directly and indirectly. You will make journal entries and record transactions in the General Ledger. You will manage accounts receivable and accounts payable. You will track the use and dispensation of petty cash in journal entries. You will also calculate the correct amount to pay for taxes and remittance to the CRA. You will practice cross-referencing for a bank reconciliation and correct any errors. By completing this module, you will attain the skills necessary to perform basic bookkeeping procedures and use basic bookkeeping terminology.
Icon-Quiz-Small Created with Sketch. Business English
In this course, you will develop professional communication skills in a business setting using MS Office including Word and Outlook. You will apply proper grammar to create and review appropriate business documents such as emails, memos, letters, reports, text messages, and social media posts for company websites, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. You will practice grammar, spelling, and error correction while developing clear and concise writing skills. You will rewrite and edit professional documents while demonstrating spelling accuracy, proper capitalization, and punctuation. You will recognize and correct commonly misspelled words. Furthermore, you will explore sentence elements such as modifiers, connectors, and sequencers to write brief and jargon-free business messages. You will distinguish active and passive voice to write effective sentences. You will also review and incorporate inclusive language to avoid biases and discrimination. Using a range of grammatical structures, you will adopt and follow modern business communication standards.
Icon-Quiz-Small Created with Sketch. Business Math
This course reviews and introduces basic and intermediate math concepts including the relationships between the following operations: addition and subtraction, multiplication and division, and decimals, percentages, and fractions. You will complete a variety of textbook readings, LinkedIn Learning and Khan Academy videos, worksheets, word problems, as well as two in-class assignments and two tests to ensure you are able to apply these math concepts to complete a variety of common business math operations. The first week focuses on a brief review of basic operations, fractions, and decimals while learning to decipher and complete word problems. The second week then looks at percentages, ratios, equations, and graphs to provide a robust review of key operations, word problems, and common business math requirements. This includes calculating costs, interest, budgets, and measurements, with a focus on transportation, nutrition, and costing. Throughout the course, you will complete work with and without a calculator to ensure you have mastered concepts and can complete operations efficiently and accurately in a work environment.
Icon-Quiz-Small Created with Sketch. Communication for Professionals
In this course, you will acquire professional writing skills for standard business communication in today’s office environment. You will review and prepare error-free emails, memos, letters, reports, text messages, and social media posts. You will develop clear and concise message communication across various channels such as email and oral presentations. You will improve your skills using MS Office, including Word, Outlook, and PowerPoint. You will also practice writing business posts for various social media platforms including blogs on company websites, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. You will recognize and adopt the standard tone for formal business writing: polite, direct, succinct, and simple. In addition, you will adopt an efficient business writing process that includes audience analysis, research, message planning and organization, and draft review and editing. You will differentiate between persuasive writing and negative news sharing and write using both approaches. During the course you will plan and write a business presentation using PowerPoint or alternative presentation software such as Prezi or Canva. You will incorporate your newly acquired written communication skills to deliver a clear and concise oral presentation. By completing this module, you will develop your written and oral business communication skills and improve your confidence to succeed in any professional setting.
Icon-Quiz-Small Created with Sketch. Career Planning & Preparation - Level I
This module will introduce you to and provide practice in using the tools required for a successful job search. The concepts covered in this module will help you maintain a career-focused approach throughout your studies so that you are better prepared to conduct a job search after graduating. Specifically, you will learn how to identify your soft and hard skills and how to articulate your abilities in a clear and concise Elevator Pitch that will appeal to employers and resonate with industry contacts. You will learn about the job search resources available to you including using career websites, creating Linked In profiles, accessing the “hidden” job market, and networking. You will examine sample resumes and cover letters and begin the process of creating your own professional resumes and cover letters that align with current conventions for content, organization, and formatting. You will also learn about the role of references, thank you letters, workplace philosophies, and strategies for success including maintaining a professional image and using proper etiquette when communicating with potential employers and industry contacts. An introduction to Occupational Health and Safety is also provided with specific focus on employees’ rights and responsibilities, workplace health and safety policy and programs, hazard identification and control, and safety training options such as WHIMIS and First Aid.
Icon-Quiz-Small Created with Sketch. Career Planning & Preparation - Level II
This module builds on concepts and skills introduced in the Career Planning and Preparation Level 1 prerequisite module. In this subsequent module, you will update and refine your resume and Linked In Profile. You will continue writing cover letters and learn the value of customizing cover letters to specific job postings. You will have the opportunity to apply this knowledge as you conduct a job search and write a cover letter tailored to an ideal job post. Through research, you will create a list of top employers and target current industry opportunities. You will learn about current methods for applying to job postings using technology. You will also gain an understanding of the job interview process, typical interview questions and possible responses, and expectations of both the interviewer and interviewee. In addition, you will engage in practical application of the interview process through role-plays. Topics such as negotiating salary, self-management, and on-the-job success for placements and post-graduate employment will be also covered.
Icon-Quiz-Small Created with Sketch. Digital Literacy for Professionals
This course has four units that introduces you to the fundamental concepts and principles of learning and working in a digital environment. The first unit introduces you to using devices and handling information with topics on operating systems (Windows, MAC, and Linux), computer organization (folder management and naming conventions), cloud storage (including Microsoft OneDrive), types of web browsers including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Apple Safari), and fundamental troubleshooting. In the second unit, you will become familiar with creating and editing information through learning about file formats (pdf, mp4, docx), productivity (including iWork and Microsoft Office Suite) and creativity (Adobe, Canva, iMovie) platforms, and basic introduction to Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. The third unit on communicating and collaborating will introduce you to web conferencing applications (Slack, Zoom, Microsoft Teams), mail applications (including Microsoft Outlook and Gmail,), project management tools (Trello, Asana), and time management tools (including Todoist, Outlook Calendar, and iCal), and building rapport virtually. In the final unit, you will gain an understanding on netiquette, cybersecurity, and digital wellness. After completing this course, you will have enhanced digital literacy skills as a professional in the working and learning environment.
Icon-Quiz-Small Created with Sketch. Document Formatting
This course will use a simulation-based program called MindTap. You will be presented with a series of projects that use Microsoft Word to create documents similar to those you will encounter in business and academic environments. You will be introduced to the fundamentals of Word with sub-topics such as spelling and grammar check, formatting paragraphs and characters, inserting pictures, and more. You will become familiar with using Word features to create a research paper (MLA and APA documentation styles, headers, page numbers, autocorrect, footnotes, editing a source or citation, and so forth). You will be able to prepare a business letter (including using letterhead, SmartArt graphics, Format Painter button, and so on). You will discover what a multipage document contains, with sub-topics like creating a cover page, modifying page format, formatting lists and tables, creating a watermark, and more). You will gain an understanding on how build a webpage and share documents electronically (exporting Word to a PDF file, saving Word in an earlier Word format, sharing a link, saving a Word document as a Webpage, hyperlink, and so on). You will discover the mail merge feature (Mail Merge Wizard) and learn how create a newsletter (using WordArt, Nameplate, justify a paragraph, hyphenate a document, Pull-Quote, and more). You will use collaboration, integration, and chart tools and features (such as Tracked Changes, Show All Markup, linking an Excel Worksheet to a Word document, charting a Word table, apply Chart styles and elements, and so on). You will be able to create reference document (Caption, Screenshot, working with a Master Document, Outline view, and more). This course will conclude with introducing you to how to create an online form (such as specifying settings in Word, enter content in an online form, Developer Tab, Format Placeholder, and more).
Icon-Quiz-Small Created with Sketch. Breeds - Dogs & Cats
This module will provide students with an understanding of purebred cats and dogs. Students will learn about organizations in Canada that are responsible for the development and preservation of these purebred animals. They will learn to identify breeds of cats and dogs and discuss their particular health care requirements.
Icon-Quiz-Small Created with Sketch. Field Placement - Veterinary Assistant
On successful completion of the classroom hours of this program, students will be placed on field placement at an outside organization. Students will have the opportunity to apply their newly developed knowledge and skills in a real-world environment.
Icon-Quiz-Small Created with Sketch. Image Development
This course is designed to equip you with the skills necessary to build your professional image in the workplace through a series of principles and strategies, such as implementing effective communication and collaboration, flexibility, resourcefulness, conflict management, as well as maintaining a professional attitude and appearance. You will build a personal brand, as it is intricately tied to your professional image by identifying your values, goals, strengths, weaknesses, personal mission statement, and more. You will discover the positive and negative impact of your social media presence and how it influences your professional image in the workplace. You will also explore self-care strategies and how to implement them into your daily routine to avoid workplace burnout and safeguard your mental health.
Icon-Quiz-Small Created with Sketch. Nutrition for Veterinary Administrative Specialist
This module is designed to introduce students to the nutritional needs of our companion animals. The veterinary assistant plays a role in educating and advising clients on their pet’s nutritional requirements and helping to establish an appropriate feeding plan for the pet’s needs.
Icon-Quiz-Small Created with Sketch. Office Skills
In this course, you will learn about the expectations of the workplace and the skills necessary to assist in the smooth operation of an office. You will be introduced to the principles and values of an ethical administrative professional, including diversity, discrimination, harassment, and so on. You will gain an understanding of the importance of developing customer focus strategies and service skills, such as problem-solving skills, handling difficult situations, and showing respect to customers. You will further develop communication skills, including verbal, non-verbal, writing and listening skills, as well as telecommunication (for example, networks, internet searches, and troubleshooting). You will be able to create and deliver effective presentations using visual aids. You will learn how to sort incoming and outgoing mail effectively, and manage reprographic equipment, such as laminators, binders, and shredders. This course covers how to maintain financial records, including financial statements and employee payroll procedures, as well as managing physical and electronic records. You will become familiar with organizing face-to-face and virtual meetings, as well as conferences and other events. You will also learn how to coordinate business travel. Furthermore, you will complete indexing and filing exercises.
Icon-Quiz-Small Created with Sketch. Software Lab - Database Management
This software lab module will use a simulation-based program called MindTap that consists of online trainings and assessments in Microsoft Access. You will learn how to create and build a database (including basic database concepts and terms, using Backstage view, starting and exiting Access, Datasheet view and Design view, copy and paste records from another Access database, and so forth). You will gain an understanding on how to build a database and define table relationships, covering sub-topics such as setting fields properties, importing data from Excel and an existing table structure, and more. You will acquire the skill of maintaining and querying a database (such as find, modify, and delete records in a table, work in the Query window in Design view, run queries, sort data with Filter data, and so on). You will discover how to create forms and reports (using Form Wizard, apply themes to a form, add pictures to a form, change color of text on a form, and more). You will understand how to create advanced queries and enhance table design (using naming standards, AutoFilter, parameter query, lookup fields, input masks, and so forth).
Icon-Quiz-Small Created with Sketch. Software Lab - Presentations
This software lab module will use a simulation-based program called MindTap that consists of online trainings and assessments in Microsoft PowerPoint. You will learn a comprehensive set of skills centered on creating a presentation (create title slide, slide with lists, format text, duplicate, rearrange, and delete slides, change a theme, and so on). You will learn how to effectively add media and special effects (apply theme used in another presentation, insert shapes and pictures, rotate objects, create a table, and more). You will apply advanced formatting and animation to objects (including inserting SmartArt graphic, audio clips, and WordArt style). You will be able to distribute presentations and integration PowerPoint with other Microsoft Office programs, such as Word and Excel. You will learn how to customize presentations and become familiar with the PowerPoint environment, (how to work in a Slide Master View, work with comments, save a custom theme, and so on).
Icon-Quiz-Small Created with Sketch. Software Lab - Word Processing
This software lab module will use a simulation-based program called MindTap that consists of online trainings and assessments in Microsoft Word. It builds on the skills introduced in Digital Literacy for Professionals course. You will learn a comprehensive set of skills, with coverage including creating and editing a document (this includes saving a document, using AutoComplete and AutoCorrect, undo and redo actions, paragraph spacing, and more), formatting a document (covering topics like addressing comments in documents, using drag and drop, as well as cut, copy and paste). This course will also introduce you to how to create tables and a multipage report (including options found in the Navigation pane, formatting a table, merging cells and adding a formula, using SmartArt graphic, and more). You will acquire skills in editing text or content for layout and appearance (wrap text, WordArt, cropping a picture, and so on). Additionally, you will work with templates, themes, and styles (creating a new document from a template, using thesaurus, saving a custom theme, customizing a style, and so on). This course concludes with the mail merge feature (such as inserting mail merge fields into a document, complete a mail merge, and more).
Icon-Quiz-Small Created with Sketch. Software Lab - Spreadsheets
"This software lab module will use a simulation-based program called MindTap that consists of online trainings and assessments in Microsoft Excel. You will learn the fundamentals of excel, such as opening and closing a workbook, entering formulas, modifying worksheet views, and so on. You will acquire skill in formatting workbook text and data (change fonts, font style, and font colour, format dates and times, merge, use the AVERAGE function, and more). This course will also introduce you to the skill of performing calculations with formula and functions, including sub-topics such as extend data and formulas with AutoFill, calculate statistics, and so forth. You will also be able to analyze and chart financial data using available excel charts, such as pie chart, line char, chart legends, data bar, and so on. This course will conclude with you learning how to generate reports from multiple worksheets and workbooks (such as copy worksheets between workbooks, organize worksheets in a worksheet group, hyperlink to a document, create a workbook template, and more).
Icon-Quiz-Small Created with Sketch. Student Success Strategies
In this orientation module, you will focus on achieving success from day one. You will develop non-technical skills to enhance your personal, academic, and career success. You will explore learning styles, including visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning. You will also enhance your practical study skills, such as memory, reading, note- and test-taking techniques. Personal exercises will focus on teamwork, decision-making and problem-solving skills, setting SMART goals, and maintaining a positive attitude. You will also explore techniques for managing change, stress, and conflict.
Icon-Quiz-Small Created with Sketch. Medical Terminology for Veterinary Administrative Specialist
This module familiarizes students with basic medical terms and their proper pronunciations. How medical terms are derived, basic word structures, medical word building using roots, prefixes and suffixes are all discussed and practiced. Many of these terms are used in the animal care field and it is important for employees of veterinary clinics to have a working understanding of these terms.
Admission Requirements
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  • Student has Grade 12 or equivalent or meets criteria for Mature Student Status.
  • Mature students must be 19 years of age, pass a qualifying test, and provide a Letter of Intent OR resume that supports their skills and aptitudes to be successful in the program.
  • The approved qualifying test for this program is the Wonderlic test. A passing score for this program is 13.

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