Skip to Content
  • Welcome to Ridgetown Campus! Image of the Ridgetown Campus Student

Veterinary Assistant and Office Administration

Study Vet Assistant and Office Administration

Join the growing pet care industry with the knowledge and skills needed to work in front office administration supporting pets and their owners.

This short, 1-year program is focused on training students and preparing them to enter the veterinary and pet care industry workforces. You’ll gain practical skills in front office administration, business communications, client relations, and preventative health care for pets; all the essential skills to be a veterinary assistant.

Program Benefits

Explore professional software

Graduate with working knowledge of office equipment and current veterinary industry software programs.

Work with animals

You will develop practical and transferable skills working with the teaching cat and dog colonies.

Learn from the best

Learn from registered veterinary technicians (RVTs), veterinarians, and instructors with industry related business/office administration expertise.


on-campus small animal colonies


veterinary industry accreditation.


industry work placement.

Program Notes

  • This program is accredited by the National Association of Veterinary Technology in America (NAVTA).
  • It is a mandatory requirement that students are vaccinated against rabies and hold a valid titre. It is recommended that students have their booster series completed (and titre checked) before starting the program. If this is not possible, an opportunity to be immunized on campus will be provided during the first week of classes

Required Courses

Semester One

CVOA*1040 Students will gain an understanding of ten different anatomical systems. Systems include: digestive, excretory, reproductive, cardiac, respiratory, muscular, skeletal, nervous, endocrine, and integumentary. Students will also become familiar with the anatomy of the eye and ear. This course will discuss basic physiology as well as common conditions related to these systems.
CVOA*1160 Students will become familiar with common medical terms, suffixes and prefixes, as related to the Veterinary industry.
CVOA*1200 Following a pre-lab lecture, students have the opportunity for handson experience during laboratory sessions. Labs will include: equine handling, restraint and grooming; bovine handling and restraint; canine and feline handling, restraint and medicating; and emergency care and triage
CVOA*1410 Students will learn and use related pharmacological terminology with abbreviations and become familiar with control drug regulations as well as the various drug classifications. Students will be able to perform basic drug dose calculations; non-invasive drug administration techniques; safe drug handling and disposal methods. Students will complete and receive WHMIS certification. This course is also designed to familiarize students with the financial management needs of a veterinary clinic. Basic accounting concepts will be taught using veterinary industry accounting software programs.
CVOA*1420 Issues dealing with communication between the veterinary team and clients, as well as between co-workers and the employer/veterinarian, are explored using communication theory and skills. Application of theories are demonstrated through discussions and class exercises. Hands-on computer labs will introduce students to the various computer operating systems.
CVOA*1460 Students will be introduced to the fundamentals of nutrition, including general feeding guidelines for dogs and cats as well as specific nutritional needs including prescription and specialty diets. This course also introduces students to general animal behavior of various species, as well as the importance of human-animal bond and animal care responsibilities that include care for pocket pets, reptiles and birds.

Semester Two

CVOA*2050 Students will learn the more common diseases and parasites of small and large animals. Common diseases (including zoonotic diseases), as well as their prevention through vaccination will be taught. Also included will be the transmission and control of common parasites.
CVOA*2060 This course will equip the student with the knowledge of how to protect themselves and others from common hazards while working in a veterinary hospital, or related business, as well as obtaining an understanding of safe handling of various types of laboratory and biological hazards. Students will complete and receive a certificate in Health & Safety Awareness training, as authorized by the Ministry of Labour. This course will also provide the student, through hands-on participation, the basic knowledge of commonly used veterinary laboratory procedures, sample collection and safe sample handling.
CVOA*2200 Continued from Semester 1, these clinical practice labs will include: radiography developing and surgical principles.
CVOA*2430 This course is designed to introduce the student to veterinary office administration practices and procedures. Emphasis will be placed on first impressions, maintaining medical records, appointment scheduling and inventory maintenance. Students will also complete a unit in Keyboarding & Medical Transcription. The lab portion of this course is designed to give students hands-on experience creating invoices, estimates, generating reports including various client focused forms and inventory tracking. The students will be exposed to and use two different veterinary software programs.
CVOA*2450 Students will explore the ideas of our role regarding our choices of employment. They will have a good understanding of the Employment Standards Act and become familiar with the important areas of personnel record management, work ethics, and a positive professional image. This course is will also introduce students to marketing as it relates to public relations in small animal veterinary practices. Emphasis will be placed on understanding CVO legislation as it pertains to veterinary hospital marketing and public relations, the challenges of marketing professional services vs. products, and understanding client expectations.
CVOA*2460 Students will be introduced to general health care and breed recognition of dogs and cats; basic handling and restraint; how to handle emergency situations in the clinic; general grooming techniques; and common surgeries performed in the veterinary hospital.
CVOA*2500 Upon completion of the second semester, students are required to satisfactorily complete a mandatory 4week (140 hour) work placement at a veterinary related business organized with the assistance of the program placement coordinator. Both the host business and course facilitator will evaluate the student. A Pass/Fail designation will be assigned upon the completion of the course.


  • The Veterinary Office Administration Certificate requires the completion of 12 courses total (6.0 credits)
  • This program is delivered full-time, in person during the Fall and Winter semesters
  • Successful completion of a 4-week Industry Work Placement at the end of semester 2 is also required
  • There are no electives in this program


  • Veterinary client services rep
  • Veterinary clinic front office assistant
  • Grooming/Pet boarding entrepreneur
  • Clinic office manager
  • Pet care supply representative
  • Pet store entrepreneur
  • Veterinary assistant

There are currently 3 career opportunities posted on the job posting page


  • Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or Equivalent
  • A minimum cumulative average of 65% in 6 Grade 11 or Grade 12 U, C, M, or O level courses (excludes Co-op credits)
  • Includes a minimum of Grade 11C Math and Grade 12C English
  • Or apply under Mature Student Status: Applicants don't have a high school diploma/equivalent but are 19 years of age or older and out of high school for a minimum of 1 year; pre-admission testing may be required

Acceptable English Proficiency Tests

International English Language Testing System (IELTS - Academic)

  • Competence Level: Minimum overall score of 6.5 with no band less than 6.

Canadian Academic English Language Assessment (CAEL)

  • Competence Level: Minimum overall band score of 70.
  • Please note that the University of Guelph will be accepting the CAEL Online Test for Fall 2021 admission only and will re-evaluate the opportunity for future use.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

  • Competence Level: Internet-based: minimum total score of 89 with no individual scaled score less than 21.

Pearson Test of English (PTE)

  • Competence Level: Minimum overall score of 60 and no score less than 60 for any individual component.

Advanced Level of the English Language Certificate Program (ELCP)

  • Competence Level: Successful completion of the University of Guelph, Open Learning Advanced Level of the English Language Certificate Program (Levels 9 and 10).

Cambridge English: C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency

  • Competence Level: Minimum overall score of 176 with no band less than 169.

Duolingo English Test*

  • Competence Level: Minimum overall score of 110.

The University of Guelph institution code is 0892.


Ontario Resident Year 1 Approximate Costs In CAD
Tuition $7,906.26
Compulsory Fees $1,823.26
Textbooks $284.00
Residence (Double Room) $3,934.00
Meal Plan $4,648.00
Total $18,595.52
Out of Province Year 1 Approximate Costs In CAD
Tuition $8,301.57
Compulsory Fees $1,823.26
Textbooks $284.00
Residence (Double Room) $3,420.00
Meal Plan $4,261.00
Total $18,089.83
International Year 1 Approximates Costs In CAD
Tuition $24,098.48
Compulsory Fees $2,579.26
Textbooks $284.00
Residence (Double Room) $3,420.00
Meal Plan $4,261.00
Total $34,642.74

Estimates based on 2022-2023 fee schedule.


  • Anatomy Lab
  • Nursing rooms
  • Lecture halls
  • Computer labs
  • Classrooms
  • Vet Tech Student Lounge
  • Library and Resource Centre
  • Student residence
  • Cafeteria
  • Gymnasium

Are you ready to Improve Life?