What to expect from a career as a Veterinary Technician or Vet Assistant

Working alongside veterinarians, vet technicians and assistants have several roles, including treating and diagnosing animal illnesses, and providing care and treatment advice to clients. There are many opportunities for this work in veterinary practices, educational institutions, zoos, research labs and more. Veterinary programs at Ontario colleges have something for anyone with an interest in animals, and can provide the skills needed to succeed in this in-demand career.

If you’re interested in caring for animals and want to pursue one of the many veterinary programs available, here’s what you need to know.

Veterinary Courses

Using leading-edge equipment and practices, students in vet programs work with a wide assortment of animals to gain hands-on experience and learn to find solutions for various animal care and treatment situations. Veterinary courses are generally available in two options:

  • Veterinary Assistant. Veterinary assistant programs are one-year certificate programs that teach basic animal care, grooming, lab work and clerical duties. Graduates will serve in client care and vet support.
  • Veterinary Tech. Veterinary technician and technology programs are two- and three-year diploma programs that focus on nutrition, pharmacology, parasitology and advanced clinical duties to prepare students to assist veterinarians. Graduates of these programs are eligible to write the registered veterinary technician exam.

Along with their specialized training, both types of programs will focus on surgical preparation and assistance, basic veterinary administration and business skills, animal behaviour and ethics.

Related veterinary programs include Animal Care, a one-year certificate program that offers a broad view of animal ethics, grooming and basic medical care.

General Veterinary Program Requirements

Ontario college veterinary programs require an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent, often including a grade 12 English credit. Because of their medical nature, programs typically also require senior level science and / or math courses. Be sure to read each program description carefully.

Veterinary Jobs and Salaries

Positions in this industry are available in many types of organizations, from veterinary practices and research facilities to animal hospitals, zoos, grooming businesses and more. Graduates will be prepared to work with small and large animals as veterinary assistants, technicians and technologists.

Although salaries will vary by position and experience, the average starting salary for vet technicians and vet assistants is between $26,000 and $30,000 per year. Average salaries for those with experience are around $35,000 per year, and go up as high as $45,000.

Ontario Colleges Offering Veterinary Programs

Use the left-column navigation to refine your search by College, Program Availability, Program Start Date and more, or see the table below for a complete list of veterinary programs at Ontario colleges.

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