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TCC to offer new certificate in veterinary assisting this fall

Updated February 5, 2016

Tidewater Community College will offer a Veterinary Assistant Career Studies Certificate on its Virginia Beach Campus beginning with the fall semester.

The two-semester, 17-credit certificate will prepare students to assist and support licensed veterinary technicians and veterinarians in the health and handling of a variety of small domestic animals and exotic species. Graduates will complete hands-on practice in a vet clinic or hospital through multiple internship experiences.

Recent data from the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission shows an increase of 220 veterinary assistant positions between 2008 and 2013 with a 6 percent growth in veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers projected between 2012 and 2022. TCC’s veterinary assistant ad hoc advisory committee, which included several Hampton Roads veterinarians and technicians, endorsed the new program, noting the need for a nationally recognized certification.

“TCC is offering a certificate program that veterinarians in the community are engaged in and involved in,” said Andrew Silverstone, a member of that ad hoc committee and a Virginia Beach veterinarian for the last 15 years. “Graduates of this certificate program are going to be trained, marketable and easy to hire.”

TCC will apply to the National Association of Veterinary Technicians of America (NAVTA) later this year for the “Approved Veterinary Assistant” designation. If the program is approved as anticipated, TCC will be the first community college in Virginia and one of only six colleges to hold that designation.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, Americans own more than 140 million pet dogs and cats. “Six out of 10 pet owners consider their pets to be family members,” said Daniel DeMarte, vice president for academic affairs and chief academic officer. “TCC’s veterinary assistant program is designed to meet the needs of the veterinary community and pet owners in Hampton Roads.”

Selection to the program will be competitive and require a separate application in addition to admission to the college. Prospective students must be high school graduates or have completed a GED, must submit a letter of recommendation from a veterinarian or a licensed veterinary technician and must have completed five or more volunteer hours in a veterinary hospital or clinic within the last year.

For information, contact Dr. Megan Taliaferro at