Program Overview

The VetMedTeam Veterinary Assistant Program (VMTVAP) is approved by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) for the training of assistants and qualifies graduates to take the Approved Veterinary Assistant (AVA) designation exam. In addition, the program articulates for college credit.

This version of VetMedTeam's long running veterinary assistant training program is specifically designed to meet the needs of those who are currently employed at a veterinary practice and who are seeking to expand their skills and knowledge.

Why Formal Training for Veterinary Assistants?

The veterinary assistant (VA) is a vital member of the practice team. The primary responsibility of the VA is to support the practice's credentialed technicians and veterinarians so that they may perform their tasks quickly and efficiently, providing the highest level of care for patients. For more information regarding the roles of team members on the practice team please download The Veterinary Healthcare Team.

VAs cannot reach their full potential without a strong foundation of both instructional and skills training. An added benefit of a well-trained and empowered VA is job satisfaction and a decrease in employee turnover. For most practices, setting up an in-house VA training program is difficult due to time and personnel restraints. Historically, the VA has been trained "on the job" but that method of training leaves gaps in knowledge and does not allow the VA to learn a large number of needed skills. Often the credentialed technician or veterinarian performs tasks that could otherwise be handled by the VA if appropriate training was provided.

In addition, many practices are now requiring their assistants to earn the AVA designation.

Why Not Just Learn From a Textbook?

The VetMedTeam Veterinary Assistant Program is designed specifically for working VAs. It combines both core content covering all areas of assistant responsibility, extensive practical assignments designed to help the participant absorb and utilize the new knowledge, examinations to help pinpoint areas needing further work, and skills check lists to confirm the ability to perform hands-on VA tasks. This combination of instructional features is designed to provide a well-rounded education in all areas of the practice.

But What About the Practice's Role in Training?

VetMedTeam believes that it is vitally important for the practice to be involved during the training process. A clinical mentor, a credentialed technician or veterinarian, works with the student, utilizing the skills checklists, to provide skills training and verification. This requirement allows the practice to be part of the training team.

OK - How Does This All Work?

Sections of this page provide more in-depth information regarding the program and its features and benefits. If you have any questions about the program please do not hesitate to let us know via an email to


NAVTA Approval and the Approved Veterinary Assistant (AVA) Designation

The VetMedTeam Veterinary Assistant Program is approved by NAVTA. Upon completion of this program, graduates are eligible to take the national AVA designation examination.

To learn more about the AVA designation visit this page Approved Veterinary Assistant.


Articulation Agreements

The VetMedTeam Veterinary Assistant Program, the employed student versions only, articulates for college credit.

Articulation Agreements


Program Focus

The VetMedTeam Veterinary Assistant Program has been formatted specifically for the student who is already employed at a veterinary practice as a veterinary assistant.


Program Content

The VetMedTeam Veterinary Assistant Program explores every area of the veterinary practice, from the reception area to the surgical suite. Each module examines a different topic which will afford the veterinary assistant with the training needed to perform their job effectively. The practical skills portion of the program is achieved via the clinical mentor relationship.

This program will require a serious time commitment from the participant. It is an intensive learning experience.

Each participant will have 39 weeks total to complete both the online and clinical portions of the program . The program may be completed sooner if the student's time allows.

For an overview of the content of the program use this link Program Overview.


Employment Requirement

Participants are required, without exception, to be currently employed a minimum of 20 hours per week. The prospective student must perform the work of a veterinary assistant in a practice which provides full medical care to clients with privately owned animals.

Shadowing, volunteering, or working as a receptionist or a kennel assistant will not provide the needed hands-on experience required to complete the course. Those employed in animal shelters, spay/neuter clinics, or volunteering at either, do not fall within the guidelines. The VetMedTeam Veterinary Assistant Program: Externship Option may fit the needs of those who do not meet the employment requirement.


Practical Learning Component

Via the clinical portion of the program, the student works directly with a clinical mentor, who is a credentialed technician or veterinarian. The clinical mentor works with the student, guided by the skills checklists, providing skills training and verification. This requirement takes learning to the next level: application.


Participation Access Parameters

This program runs continuously. Participants may enroll at any time.

The design of this program allows each student to proceed based on individual schedule, as long as all assignments are submitted by the assignment submission deadline. There are no real time sessions so participants are not required to be online attending lectures at specific times.

Each student's personal 39-week session will begin after the enrollment process has been completed. The program may be completed sooner if the student's time allows.


Technology Requirements

Participants must have access to a printer and a scanner in order to complete mandatory requirements. The scanner must be capable of saving documents to pdf format as jpg image files cannot be used.


Required Program Textbook

Elsevier's Veterinary Assisting Textbook, 2nd edition by: Margi Sirois, EdD, MS, RVT, LAT

Important Text Information:

It is mandatory that each participant has access to this textbook as the content of the book is not reproduced within the course. It is up to each person to determine the best way to acquire the text. Some will already have the text in their library and therefore will not need to purchase another copy. The text is available as a print publication and as an eBook. Where to purchase and in what format is totally up to the participant.

The text is not included in the fee for this course.

USA residents: Elsevier texts, both print and eBook, are available via the VetMedTeam Elsevier Text Portal at discounts off regular retail of 25 - 35 %. If you would like to visit the portal to take advantage of the discount please use this link VetMedTeam's Elsevier Text Portal.

Important: Regardless of which option the participant chooses, access to a copy of the textbook is mandatory. The matching workbook is not required. Without the text the student will not be able to complete the assignments, case studies and examinations.

VetMedTeam has no control over shipping delays and other related problems.


Participant Feedback

...The book was the most beneficial. There is a lot of great illustrations in the book and charts that are great for a visual learner like me. And I enjoyed the free courses that were assigned as well.

...For me, the ones that I needed the most were on anatomy and physiology, the surgical part of it, and parts of the nursing care. I've had a good deal of some of the subjects as I've worked in a veterinary office for 10+ years and a lab setting for 11 years previously. I have also completed the Assistant Laboratory Animal Technician (ALAT) certification years previous. .

...I really enjoyed all aspects of the course and it does give me greater insight at work even though I've been doing the job since 2008. Like I've said before we are a rural clinic and I just can't believe how far veterinary medicine has come and what all is out there for our beloved four legged family members.

...Learning the day to day things that I do in an actual practice! It's a new practice so this information was helpful to not only myself but the set up for certain things in the practice such as: the various forms that are used, OSHA standards, and PPE.

...All was totally beneficial. I wish that I had the opportunity to be in a classroom environment because I wasn't always dedicated to the computer work. There is always something that needs to be done around the house that the assignments would get put on the back burner. But I really enjoyed all aspects of the course and it does give me greater insight at work even though I've been doing the job since 2008. Like I've said before we are a rural clinic and I just can't believe how far veterinary medicine has come and what all is out there for our beloved four legged family members.

...I loved all of it, but I particularly enjoyed the pharmacy and pharmacology section. I like to know exactly what I'm working with, and so learning about the chemicals and medicines that I handle every day (without having to bother a doctor or tech at work with my questions) was very helpful.

...I appreciated the challenge most of all as I received little training at work that was cohesive or communicated well.

...Osha info and MSDS info helped me as that is really overlooked at the clinic.

...I really liked everything about this program it was nice to be able to work while going to school and learning from the textbook then being able to do hands on stuff. I really enjoyed this program.


Program Instructor

Linda Merrill, LVT, VTS (SAIM), VTS (AVTCP)Linda Merrill, LVT, VTS (SAIM), VTS (AVTCP)

Linda received her AS degree in veterinary technology and an AA degree, both from Pierce College in Washington State. She has worked in specialty practice (cardio-pulmonary and oncology) and is currently working in a small animal practice. She is an author and editor, her most recent work is as an author for the Textbook of Veterinary Internal Medicine.

Linda is the former President of the Washington State Association of Veterinary Technicians and former President of the National Association of Veterinary Technicians of America (NAVTA). Linda has achieved two Veterinary Technician Specialists credentials. Her first is the Academy of Internal Medicine for Veterinary Technicians (AIMVT), she was the Founding Chair and is the current Executive Director. Her second specialty is a Canine & Feline Veterinary Technician Specialist in Clinical Practice (AVTCP).

In her spare time, Linda is an avid scuba diver and has traveled the 7 continents. Her husband, Jeff, is employed in the Alaskan seafood industry. They enjoy the company of their rescue cat, an adorable but clueless Persian named "The Cat Formerly Known as Philbert." Her household is also the home to 2 rescue dogs. Linda loves Corgis and currently has the sweetest boys named Bill and Jake.


Payment Options and Enrollment Instructions

Use this link Payment Options and Enrollment Instructions to review the available payment options along with the pre-enrollment requirements.