Start Dates

  • January 10, 2023
  • September 05, 2023


Program Delivery

  • Any-time Online
  • Blended
  • In Class
  • Real-time Online
Tuition & Fees

Domestic: CAD $5,462
International: CAD $13,519
Estimated Book Costs: CAD $950

Not all courses may be offered in each delivery modality each semester.

The maximum course load for Fall or Winter semester is five (5) courses. Taking less than five courses for Fall or Winter term will take longer to complete the program. If taking condensed courses in the Spring/Summer term, the recommended maximum course load is two (2) condensed courses plus one (1) full-term (Spring/Summer) course. Students may elect to register in any combination as long as no more than two (2) condensed spring or summer courses are taken at the same time.

Note: Students can maintain full time status with at least three courses.

Program Description

Be the important member of the veterinary office team that has essential administrative skills. Learn the common health issues of companion animals. Topics covered include financial management, veterinary computer software, client care, and veterinary terminology. Students also learn clinical assisting skills in animal handling and surgical instrument preparation. Graduates have excellent employment prospects with a high rate of recruitment.

Time commitment

This is a one-year (two term) certificate program. A standard course load is five courses per term. Students can maintain full time status with at least three courses. Taking less than five courses per term will take longer to complete the program.

Learning options

Courses are available both in class and online. Please note that not all courses may be available online each semester. Consult with Academic Advising Team to assist with your program planning. 
For courses with scheduled final exams, they are required to be completed in person or at an approved invigilation site.  

Work Experience (Optional)

Work Experience (practicum) offers you the opportunity to use your new skills in the workplace, receive strong mentorship, gain valuable experience, and enjoy networking opportunities. Work Experience is offered as an unpaid, non-credit work placement scheduled immediately following the successful completion of all required courses.

Applicants must meet all eligibility criteria and follow the application process to be accepted into Work Experience. The application process aligns with the competitive nature of a job search and candidates are responsible for demonstrating a high level of professional and program expectations. Not all applicants are guaranteed a Work Experience placement.

Find out more!   Work Experience

Course Listings Request More Information

Domestic Applicants

Welcome Centre
South Campus – Main Floor

International Learner Applicants

International Education
North Campus – Third Floor

Admission Requirements

Academic Requirements
  • Credit in English Language Arts 30-1 or minimum 65% in English Language Arts 30-2 or equivalent 
  • Credit in a Grade 10 math (excluding Math 10-4 and Math 16 levels)


Successful completion of the General Educational Development (GED) test that consists of five tests with a minimum score in the following sections:

  • Interpreting Literature and Art: 520 minimum standard score
  • Writing Skills: 520 minimum standard score
  • Math Test: 450 minimum score


  • Satisfactory results on the Bow Valley College Admissions Test
English Language Proficiency Requirements

For applicants whose first language is not English, please review English language proficiency requirements.

Related Links

Course Listings Request More Information

Domestic Applicants

Welcome Centre
South Campus – Main Floor

International Learner Applicants

International Education
North Campus – Third Floor

Employment Rate


Training Related Employment Rate


Based on 2019-2020 domestic and international students who self-reported finding employment or training-related employment within 6-12 months after graduating.

"This program helped me land my dream job! I had always wanted to work in a veterinary clinic and Bow Valley College helped me transition to this new career where I have a dual role as a surgery technician assistant and a customer service team member. "

Ashley Bell

2018 Graduate

Course Listing

Full course outlines are available here.

Curriculum subject to change.

Students may complete the courses in any order subject to prerequisites.

Term 1

Required CoursesCredit

Learners examine interdisciplinary roles and responsibilities needed to be successful in an administrative support role within healthcare. Through an exploration of wellness, resilience, communication, teamwork, diversity, and reconciliation, learners apply strategies to enhance self-awareness and workplace relationships.

Medical Terminology I introduces learners to industry accepted language and conventions in health care. This course provides learners an opportunity to interpret and apply commonly used medical terms, symbols, and abbreviations.

Learners explore common fundamental topics within various healthcare settings with a focus on organizational structure, team member roles, safety, policies, and procedures. This course examines the importance and impact of legislation, regulations, and ethics required for success and employment in healthcare administration.

This course is an introduction to the health management of canine and feline companion animals. Learners begin with an exploration of canine and feline anatomy and physiology. Nutrition, common health issues, and preventative strategies are examined across the different life stages. Learners explore how to recognize emergency situations as they present at a veterinary clinic. It is recommended that HUCL1401 is taken concurrently when enrolling in this course.

The administrative role of the veterinary office assistant includes several tasks that relate to finance in the veterinary clinic. Learners develop knowledge and skills related to payroll, inventory management, invoicing, pet insurance, and communicating with clients about financial matters.

Term 2

Required CoursesCredit

Confident business communication requires learners to explore the changing landscape of digital media, while developing writing skills and techniques to compose competent, professional communications. In this course, learners explore research tools to aid in effective oral presentations and strengthen interpersonal skills to be an effective communicator in the Canadian workplace.

This course is aimed at providing a hands-on learning experience with a Windows operating system and computer applications (Microsoft Office: Word, Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint) used in a business environment. Learners will develop skills and gain experience to create business documents, navigate, consolidate, and analyze data across multiple worksheets, manage professional communications, and create electronic presentations.

Learners examine the scope of practice of the Veterinary Office Assistant (VOA) from a clinical skills perspective. The behaviour and handling of canine and feline patients in a clinical setting is discussed. Learners examine diagnostic and laboratory tools and procedures, procedures for the preparation and maintenance of the clinical environment, and the role of the VOA in preparing and caring for patients. The use of pharmaceuticals in the veterinary office is also discussed.

Veterinary clinics use medical software to increase practice efficiency. The Veterinary Office Assistant (VOA) must apply electronic medical record keeping skills which include data entry, inventory management, appointment scheduling, and invoicing.

Learners explore the role and responsibilities of the Veterinary Office Assistant (VOA). The focus is on developing verbal and written communication, reception management, client care, and administrative skills. Additionally, learners examine the role of the VOA in scheduling and supporting clients during euthanasia appointments.

Work Experience Courses

Optional Coursesnon-credit

This course prepares learners for employment opportunities by developing marketing tools and skills for interviews.
Prerequisite: Completion of 15 program credits

Through experiential learning, this course bridges academic study with industry or community partners. Representing Bow Valley College, learners have the opportunity to: use their technical skills; observe and integrate into work culture; work on human skills; network with industry colleagues; gain reference(s); add experience to their resume; gain potential employment or referral; and receive feedback from an employer. Open communication is maintained throughout the work term between learners, hosts, and career advisors.

Program FAQs

The Veterinary Office Assistant Certificate is an intensive 30-week program that prepares graduates to provide effective office administration in animal-related environments such as veterinary clinics, animal hospitals, SPCA, veterinary supply companies, or animal shelters. This program focuses on competency in office administration including computer skills, scheduling, records, and financial management. Additional learning specific to veterinary and animal environments includes veterinary terminology and the day-to-day functioning of a veterinary office. This program includes training in select clinical skills to prepare graduates for additional tasks that may be carried out in the veterinary clinic, including the cleaning and sterilization of instruments, and animal handling. 


People entering this profession are expected to facilitate the smooth operation of the veterinary office including dealing with and addressing the concerns of the public. Veterinary Office Assistants must be able to work effectively as part of a team and work well under pressure. They also need to have excellent communication, multi-tasking, and time and task management skills. A genuine interest in animals and their well-being is also essential.


There are over 200,000 dogs and cats in Calgary and surrounding areas. These pets are served by many veterinary clinics and animal health related organizations that could offer potential employment to graduates. Veterinary Office Assistants typically find work in a variety of veterinary clinics, veterinary specialist and emergency centres, kenneling facilities, humane and rescue societies, pharmaceutical corporations, and pet insurance agencies.


The Alberta Government provides up-to-date information on Alberta’s occupational profiles including wage and salary information. Click on the link to find out more. 

Alberta Learning Information Services: Occupational Profile


Yes. The Chiu School of Business has many learners that return as adults and bring excellent life and work experience skills to their learning and new careers. Job opportunities for program graduates are significant regardless of age. Employers seek candidates who demonstrate maturity and sensibility.



Planning your course schedule according to availability and prerequisites requires some consideration.

Once you are a registered student in a program at the Chiu School of Business, our Academic Advising Team can also assist you with planning. 



If you are taking an online course, you should make sure your computer has the following applications: 

  • Reliable internet access – DSL or cable connections are highly recommended.
  • We recommend Windows 7 or 10 (preferred) or Mac OS software; Microsoft Office 2013 (minimum); Adobe Acrobat Reader; and a media player such as Adobe Flash Player, QuickTime, or Windows Media Player.
  • Some courses might require additional software or applications packages. You will be given this information before starting the course.
  • We recommend Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and Safari as browsers. D2L does not work well with Internet Explorer. 

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  • If you anticipate applying for a student loan, your payment will be refunded to you based on your loan award once your funding has been received by BVC.

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