Veterinary Assistant

veterinary assistantTurn your love of animals into a rewarding career.

Veterinary Assistants are an important part of the veterinary medical team. Working with veterinarians and veterinarian technicians, they help provide medical care to sick and injured animals. This Digital Badge program can help you enter the field or advance your career if you already work as a veterinary assistant or laboratory animal caretaker in a private practice, animal shelter or control facility.  Topics covered include communicating effectively with clients and co-workers in the clinic setting, ethics in veterinary medicine, basic animal handling, critical thinking when dealing with animals, veterinary clerical responsibilities, diagnostics, pharmacy, patient treatment, and an overview of surgery, anesthesia and emergency care. 

NAVTA logoHarper College is proud to be one of a handful of schools approved by The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA).

As a graduate from the Harper program, you will be eligible to take the national Approved Veterinary Assistant test to gain the AVA designation and be recognized for your educational accomplishment. 

Planning to continue your education to become a Vet Tech? The Veterinary Medical Technology Program at Joliet Junior College accepts Harper College’s Veterinary Assistant program in place of the 100 hours of veterinary experience needed as part of their admissions.


  • Introduction to Veterinary Assistant, LCE 0006
  • Veterinary Assistant, LCE 8006


  • High school diploma or GED
  • Minimum age of 18
  • Pass a criminal background check
  • Proof of current health insurance
  • Pass a random drug screen 

Attend an Information Session

If you'd like more information on this exciting program, click here to reserve your seat at an upcoming information session.

Register for Summer Classes

Frequently Asked Questions

Students must successfully pass Introduction to Veterinary Assistant, including attending and participating at all class sessions. Once enrolled in the Veterinary Assistant full program, students must attend and participate in all class sessions (only 2 absences are allowed for the full program) and complete 60 hours at an assigned clinic site.

Enroll in the Introduction to Veterinary Assistant Course.

Introduction to Veterinary Assistant is $140 and the Veterinary Assistant course $2,039, which includes the textbook, a scrub top for clinic and course supplies.

Functional abilities for Veterinary Assistants include:

  • The ability to stand for long periods of time
  • The ability to reach, bend, climb and crouch without difficulty
  • The ability to lift and carry 50 pounds without assistance
  • The ability to see and hear sufficiently to make observations about animals
  • The ability to communicate effectively in English with both clinic employees and clients
  • To possess sufficient arm and hand steadiness and finger dexterity to operate equipment and restrain and work with animals

Veterinary Assistants can expect to earn $9 - 10/hour starting salary ($20,000/year full-time) and approximately $14/hour ($28,000/year full-time) as an experienced Veterinary Assistant.

Be ready to register on the day CE Registration opens; the details for the next Digital Badge class were given during the Intro class.

Digital Badges will be issued electronically within 1-2 weeks of the completion of the course. Instructions for claiming your badge will be sent to the email address on file.

Instructions will be mailed to the address we have on file for you approximately 2-3 weeks after the last day of class.

You must retake the Introduction to Veterinary Assistant course and pass successfully to enroll in the full program.

The program is approved by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA). As such, all students who pass the Veterinary Assistant course at Harper College are eligible to sit for the Approved Veterinary Assistant exam and use the designation “Approved Veterinary Assistant” (AVA) upon successfully passing that exam.

We do not have a formal job placement program; however, we do receive job opening notices from local employers interested in hiring our graduates and we pass that along to students who have completed the course. Also, students are occasionally hired at the location where they completed their clinic assignment.

No, you may not complete your clinical assignment at your place of employment. You will be assigned to a clinic and you must complete your clinical hours at this clinic in order to pass the course.