Veterinary Assisting

  • Doggie Day Care at KTHS


    Vanessa Forbes LVT - Instructor

    Mrs. Forbes has over 25 years of experience working in the veterinary field and eleven years of experience as a veterinary educator and administrator. She holds certification as a Licensed Veterinary Technologist and degrees in Animal Health Science (BS), Online and Distance Learning (MSEd), and Education Specialist Certification in Teaching and Learning (EdS). Awards include Distinguished Faculty Award through DeVry Education Group and New Teacher of the Year through the Alaska Association for Career and Technical Education. She says, “I am a life-long learner and work to promote the veterinary field and share my passion for the field with students.”

    Grade level 11-12. Entrance into the program requires a “C” or better in 2 semesters of Biology I. Progression through the program requires teacher recommendation, a “B” or better in all courses, 90% or better in professionalism, and successful completion of all NAVTA required skills.

    Why take this course?

    • Use the same equipment as industry professionals to examine and treat animals
    • Develop valuable critical thinking skills that serve in evaluating patients and assessing health
    • Work with animals daily to develop confidence and hands on skills
    • Earn industry certifications to prepare for immediate employment and further education
    • Participate in community service and compete against other schools in leadership, teamwork, and veterinary science competitions

    Veterinary Assisting is a rigorous program that consists of three courses designed to train students for a career as an Approved Veterinary Assistant (AVA) as well as prepare them for further education in the field of veterinary medicine. Topics include: hospital management, career exploration, animal management, terminology, diseases and preventive medicine, pharmacy practices, and small animal nursing.

    Advanced students will continue their study of veterinary medicine and develop a deeper understanding of body systems, nursing techniques, lab techniques, surgical assisting, diagnostic procedures, and specialty medicine.

    The NAVTA approved Veterinary Assisting program requires the completion of both the Veterinary Assisting and Advanced Veterinary Assisting courses, and a 100-hr Clinical Rotation. 

    As an exploratory, students may take the introductory course.

    Classes require both academic and physical participation. Students must be able to bend and to pick up a minimum of 40 lbs. Students will be exposed to several animal species which are required to meet the competencies set forth by NAVTA and are needed to work as a Veterinary Assistant. The program utilizes dogs in class regularly to facilitate clinical training for development of essential skills. Students will also gain experience with cats, reptiles, birds, and large animals in class or through field trips. Students will learn medical and surgical nursing skills, explore animal related professions, and educational requirements for veterinary careers.

    Students demonstrate competency through written exams, performance of NAVTA skills, professionalism, and comprehensive case studies. Teamwork and participation are essential components of success in this program with students working daily in groups. Excellent attendance and punctuality are critical for student success, completion of hands on skills, and the care of program animals.

    Students also will manage in a canine daycare and grooming program that is open for enrollment on a limited basis.


    Credits and Certifications

    Veterinary Assisting

    0.5 Life Science

    0.5 Math

    0.5 Elective


    Advanced Veterinary Assisting

    0.5 Life Science

    1.0 Elective


    Clinical Practices in Veterinary Science

    0.5 Elective


    ProTrainings Animal CPR/First Aid certification

    Fear Free Certified Professional certification

    NAVTA Approved Veterinary Assistant certification



     Veterinary Assisting career tree



  • Veterinary Science