High School Program

The preparatory training for the veterinary assistant provides a sound platform for students who wish to pursue an associate, undergraduate, graduate, or professional degree in veterinary science.
Graduates receive Veterinary Assistant (VA) classification by successfully completing a course of study (100 lessons, lesson questions, and 50 activities) in veterinary science along with an apprenticeship (500 hours, clinical or non-clinical) in veterinary medicine.
Students may choose from the following career tracks:
– Veterinary assisting in clinical practice (pet, livestock, and exotic animal health care)
– Veterinary assisting in laboratory practice (animal health research and diagnostics)
– Veterinary assisting in One Health (integrated animal, human, and environmental health)
Print and eBooks are available through the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Bookstore.
Web-Based Resources are available through Texas A&M Conference Services and hosted at eXtension Online Campus.
To satisfy the apprenticeship component, student must be accepted into a VA trainee position, paid or unpaid, in a clinical or nonclinical career field of the veterinary profession.
After sufficient observation hours, student must gain a minimum of 500 hands-on work hours acquiring the skills and competencies nesessary to complete the certificate program. Completion of the clinical skill hours fulfills the apprenticeship requirement.
High School Implementation:
Curriculum: 1 year (10th grade)
Apprenticeship: 2 years: (11th and 12th grade)

  • 1 year (11th grade) 200 skill hours attained under teacher supervision in the classroom
  • 1 year (12th grade) 300 skill hours attained under supervision of a clinical, One Health, or laboratory science professional


Upon completion of the curriculum and apprenticeship, graduates are eligible for state certification by examination through the Texas Veterinary Medical Association (TVMA).
For assistance or for more information:
Joe W. Mask, PhD
Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist
Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases (IIAD)
(979) 845-4353