What is the difference between a veterinary technician and a veterinary assistant?

COCC vet tech student hugging calf

Veterinary technicians have been educated in the care and handling of animals, the basic principles of normal and abnormal life processes, and in many laboratory and clinical procedures. In general, veterinary technicians obtain 2-4 years of post-high school education and have an associate or bachelor's degree in veterinary technology. They must pass a credentialing examination and keep up-to-date with continuing education to be considered licensed/ registered/certified (the term used varies by state) veterinary technicians.

Veterinary assistants support the veterinarian and/or the veterinary technician in their daily tasks. The assistant may be asked to perform kennel work, assist in the restraint and handling of animals, feed and exercise the animals, or spend time on clerical duties. There are training programs for veterinary assistants, and some are trained on the job. At this time, there is no credentialing exam for veterinary assistants.

Veterinary technicians and veterinary assistants

Do you have an attendance policy?

COCC vet tech students inspecting goats

Yes, because we are required by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities to teach students specific essential skills, attendance is mandatory for all VT-numbered classes and laboratories. We will sometimes teach specific tasks only once in the two-year curriculum. If the opportunity for a student to learn the tasked is missed, the objective and goals of the course have not been met.

Also, each student is required to take an active role in animal care duties. Attendance is mandatory for these duties. Daily, weekly and lab animal care duties will be assigned. Students will work in teams. Team members and duties are assigned before the start of each term. Each student will receive a Veterinary Technician Program Animal Care handbook and all students will attend a mandatory animal care orientation meeting before the start of their animal care duties.

In summary, students are expected to meet the scheduled times for classes, exams, laboratories, and practicum learning activities. Students should anticipate spending additional hours outside of normally scheduled class times due to animal care responsibilities and making allowances for these in their schedules. Students are expected to adjust personal schedules, including work and child care, in order to meet course requirements. They are expected to have reliable transportation for attendance in class, labs, and practicum assignments around the college district. Students should also be prepared to be scheduled for off-campus learning experiences and at all clinical practicum locations in Bend, Redmond, Prineville, Madras, and La Pine.

What should I expect from the Veterinary Technician curriculum?

The curriculum is academically challenging and scientifically oriented. The student must possess a strong ability to focus and have a serious interest in a career in veterinary medicine. Along with solid academic skills, the student must have compassion for animals, empathy and concern for people, and the capacity to work cooperatively and productively with others.

Do I have to take an exam after I graduate to become licensed as a veterinary technician?

Graduates of the Central Oregon Community College Veterinary Technician program are eligible to sit for the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) administered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB). Successful completion of this examination is required for licensure as a veterinary technician in Oregon. Oregon licensure information can be found on the Veterinary Medical Examining Board website.

Are Veterinary Technician courses offered online?

COCC vet tech students in field with cow

The COCC Veterinary Technician program does not offer any classes online.