Private individuals (ages 12 through adult) may participate in Veterinary Science Certificate Program independently through a self-study program. Participants may work at their own pace to complete the the curriculum and apprenticeship.
To become a veterinary assistant (VA), you need to complete the following:
- Curriculum: 100 lessons (75 core and 25 lessons) in your chosen career track.
- Apprenticeship: 500 hands-on skill hours in an apprenticeship under appropriate supervision.
Step 1: Choose your career track.
- Clinical: companion, livestock, and exotic animal health. (this is the most common chosen track)
Participants following this track earn the veterinary assistant (VA) title and ARE eligible for certification through the TVMA by examination.
- One Health: animal, human, and environmental health.
Participants following this track earn the veterinary assistant (VA) title, but are NOT eligible for certification.
- Laboratory: animal health research and diagnostics.
Participants following this track earn veterinary assistant (VA) title, but are NOT eligible for certification.
Step 2: Purchase the curriculum needed for your career track.
Print materials: Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Bookstore – 979-985-5259
Web-based materials: Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service – Vet Science 979-458-8692
- Students complete 100 lessons (75 core lessons and 25 lessons in their chosen track: clinical, One Health, or laboratory).
- Students following the One Health or laboratory tracks require the core curriculum and the supplemental book in that track.
|Veterinary Science Curriculum for Independent-Study Curriculum Options|
|Track||Option 1: Clinical||Option 1. One Health||Option 1: Laboratory|
print books and online teacher resource
|Track||Option 2: Clinical||Option 2: One Health||Option 2: Laboratory|
includes online curriculum only
(no print books needed)
Step 3: Complete 500 apprenticeship hours.
- Clinical track participants gain 500 hands-on hours under a licensed veterinarian (DVM) or veterinary technician (LVT) in a clinical setting (e.g., private practice, zoo, animal hospital).
- One Health track participants gain 500 hours under a One Health professional (e.g., regulatory agency).
- Laboratory track participants gain 500 hours under a laboratory professional (e.g., diagnostic laboratory).
Note: When seeking apprenticeship opportunities, it is best to make an appointment in advance and include a resume and cover letter. Participants in the clinical track use the TVMA application form/skills validation checklist to track skills required for certification.
Step 4: Earn the veterinary assistant (VA) title.
- Complete both the curriculum (100 lesson and 50 activities) and apprenticeship (500 clinical skill hours) to earn the veterinary assistant (VA) title through Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.
Step 5: Apply for TVMA certification ($135). Available to clinical track participants only.
- Clinical track participants who have completed both the curriculum and apprenticeship are eligible for certification through the Texas Veterinary Medical Association (TVMA) by examination. Fee for the exam is $135.
- Complete and send the TVMA application form/skills validation checklist, signed by the veterinarian or veterinary technician, and check for $135 to the TVMA. An exam will be sent to the veterinarian or veterinary technician to administer. Once administered, send back to the TVMA for grading. Participants who pass the exam earn the Certified Veterinary Assistant (CVA) title and a certificate and patch from the TVMA.