Veterinary Health Care

Program Goals Statement

The Veterinary Health Care program prepares entry-level, non-certified veterinary technician, assistants and other paraprofessionals to practice under the supervision of certified veterinarians and animal rehabilitators in a variety of animal care and wellness settings.  Participants gain the basic principles, attitudes, and experiences needed to work as veterinary support staff in veterinary hospitals, animal shelters, wildlife rehabilitation and exotic centers, as well as large animal and laboratory animal facilities.

*All ANS classes will also be open for enrollment as electives to Biotechnology students, with the exception of ANS 221.

Program Information

  • ORIENTATION - Students are expected to attend program-specific orientation prior to their first class meeting.
  • Due to the inherently unpredictable behavior of animals, there is an element of assumed risk in all animal studies.  A waiver of liability is required and only students enrolled in the Veterinary Health Care program will be covered by BCC's malpractice insurance policy. 

Special Requirements for the Program

Health Requirements

• Please refer to the program handbook for details and explanations regarding the Technical Standards for physical and mental criteria required by the program.  Many animal industry and veterinary careers require good physical health, the ability to lift up to 50 lbs., multitask, be observant of surroundings, handle stressful situations with composure, have good interpersonal communication skills, emotional stability, and use fine motor skills.  Students with issues in any of these areas should discuss them with the program director prior to enrolling.

• Rabies and tetanus, among other vaccinations for health and safety, are highly recommended and outlined in the program handbook. 

Criminal Records Check/Drug Testing

• A CORI check demonstrating a conviction of an animal cruelty related misdemeanor/felony prohibits admittance to the program.

• A criminal background check (CORI) and/or drug test may be required by and at the discretion of the field experience host location prior to participation in the field experience.  If any host facility refuses to allow the student to participate in the field experiences at that facility, that student may not be able to progress in and/or graduate from the program.   CORI form

Field Work

• Transportation to field experience and field trip locations is the responsibility of the student.  Carpooling with classmates is highly encouraged.  Field work is integrated into many of the animal science classes in order to increase comprehension, skills, and professionalism.

• Field experience hours may include day, evenings or weekends.  Students should expect to travel up to one hour from campus to their individual host location. 

Additional Costs

• Students are responsible for the cost of uniforms, professional liability insurance, vaccinations and independently endorsed achievement testing certificates.

Functional Abilities Essential for Veterinary Health Care


Students enrolled in the Veterinary Health Care program should be prepared to meet the standards established by the following physical and mental criteria.

Veterinary medicine is a practice discipline, with cognitive, sensory, affective, and psychomotor performance requirements.  The functional eligibility requirements for participation in the Veterinary Health Care program are essential for the delivery of optimal and safe patient care.

• Have the ability to stand, walk, or run for prolonged periods of time in various outdoor environments and weather conditions.

• Have the ability to assess environmental, behavioral, or physical changes for potential problems, prioritize, report, and correct issues through integration of information and situational details

• Have the ability to collaboratively work with all program students, program faculty, and other animal care professionals in the classroom, during off campus activities, lab and field experience settings.

• Have the ability to respond calmly and appropriately to directions in stressful environments and situations or impending deadlines.

• Have the ability to communicate and respond effectively in English using verbal, non-verbal and written formats with other students, program faculty and other animal care professionals.

• Have sufficient motor ability to execute the movement and skills required swiftly and accurately for safe and effective performance of animal care practices.

• Have sufficient auditory, visual, and tactile ability with or without correction to monitor and work safely with animals and assess health needs.

• Demonstrate emotional stability, professional behaviors, and a strong work ethic in an emotionally charged environment. 

Academic Expectations

• Computer technology is integrated in animal science courses.  Computer access is required outside of class time for independent training certificates, supplemental materials and ndependent presentation assignments.

• Students must achieve a minimum of "C" (73) in all animal science courses in order to progress in the program and graduate.  Students must pass all co-requisites and electives to remain in the program and graduate. 

• All students are required to earn a "C" (73) or better in all ANS course requirements in order to be eligible to enroll in a field experience course and to satisfy graduation requirements. In addition, all students are required to earn a "C" (73) or better in all courses required to satisfy co/prerequisites in the Veterinary Health Care A.A.S. program

A passing grade of a C (73) or better in the laboratory portion of all ANS classes with laboratory activities is required to receive a final passing grade for the course.

For Transfer Pathway

• Take BIO 121 Fundamentals of Biological Science I as an option to meet the Scientific Reasoning and Discovery competency and as a prerequisite option for ANS 201 Anatomy and Physiology of Domestic Animals and ANS 240 Animal Nutrition and Feeding; take MTH 119 Fundamental Statisics or MTH 131 Elements of College Mathematics

For Career Pathway

• Take BIO 111 General Biology I; take MTH 125 Modern College Mathematics as an option to meet the Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning competency and as prerequisite option for ANS 216 Veterinary Pharmacology and ANS 240 Animal Nutrition and Feeding 

Hints for Successful Completion

It is highly recommended to take classes during summer session. Recommendations for summer session include: HST 114, MTH 131/MTH 119/MTH 125, or SOC 252.  This program is challenging: limit outside responsibilities (e.g. work, extracurricular activities, etc).

After Bristol

• Graduates work as veterinary technician assistants in a variety of animal facilities, such as veterinary hospitals, animal shelters, wildlife rehabilitation centers, and laboratory animal facilities.

• Graduates of this program can transfer into a certified veterinary technician program or into a more general animal science program at another two-year or four-year institution.

Total credits:

Course Sequencing

For Career Pathway:  Take BIO 111 and MTH 125

For Transfer Pathway:  Take BIO 121 and MTH 119 or MTH 131

Item #
Sub-Total Credits


Academic Area

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

Degree Offered

Associate in Applied Science in Veterinary Health Care


Program Code


Program Contact

Christine Houghton
Program Coordinator

Adrienne Foster Scharf
Dean of STEM


CIP Code