Online veterinary assistant training—the gift that gives back to your practice

AAHA and Dallas College offer the Veterinary Assistant Program—an online program great for veterinary assistants, practice managers, kennel assistants, etc.—anyone in your practice who is ready to take the next step in their career.

By Judy Rose Lanier, CVPM, CVA

As someone who has worked in this profession for more than 25 years now, I have experienced firsthand how challenging it can be to find time to train those new team members with a great attitude and willingness to learn—you know, the ones who have that thirst for knowledge and want to soak up every ounce of skill and education that pertains to veterinary medicine.   

Before joining AAHA as the learning programs manager, I had the pleasure of working at the Texas Veterinary Medical Association (TVMA) as the director of credentialing. While I was there, I witnessed something incredible. 

TVMA veterinarians developed the Certified Veterinary Assistant (CVA) Level I Exam to specifically address issues of staff training and satisfy some of the thirst for knowledge on the practice team. It is the only program developed and recognized by TVMA and by the Texas Veterinary Licensing Act to certify veterinary assistants. 

It was amazing to see how much the CVA program empowered people. I received countless letters and emails from students around the nation who went through the program, some of whom were even inspired to make that leap and go on to veterinary school. 

DEVTP: A path to being a credentialed veterinary technician 

Fast forward to my time at AAHA, where I got to see the impacts of another great program, the Distance Education Veterinary Technology Program (DEVTP) 

AAHA developed DEVTP more than 30 years ago with Dallas College as a way to train team members who currently work in practice and want to become credentialed veterinary technicians. The goals were simple: To be a respected program that is trusted by the profession, and to provide a convenient way for those who have full-time jobs to learn. We accomplished just that. DEVTP is approved by the AVMA Committee on Veterinary Education and Activities (CVTEA/AVMA). Upon graduation, DEVTP students are qualified to take the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) to become credentialed veterinary technicians. 

Announcing the Veterinary Assistant Program 

While DEVTP is right for people at a certain point in their career, we’ve always understood that not everyone will want to go down this road. Committing to two years of education can be scary. That’s why AAHA has decided to partner with Dallas College and TVMA to develop a shorter and more affordable option: the Veterinary Assistant Program 

It was both my belief in DEVTP and my experience with the success of the Texas CVA program that I had in mind as I worked with Kelly Black, DVM, to develop this program, which includes online courses such as: 

  • Veterinary Medical Terminology 
  • Veterinary Office Management 
  • Canine and Feline Clinical Management  
  • Veterinary Parasitology 

Upon completion of the Veterinary Assistant Program, students are eligible to take the TVMA CVA Level I Exam. And here is the best part—if the student decides to continue their educational journey and become a credentialed veterinary technician, the CVA courses transfer to DEVTP.  

If you have that team member with a desire to learn, this just might be the program for them. It is open to all veterinary professionals, customer service representatives, veterinary assistants, practice managers, kennel assistants, etc.—anyone in your practice who is ready to take the next step in their veterinary career.  

For more information about the DEVTP and CVA program at Dallas College, visit 

Judy Rose Lanier, CVPM, CVA, is AAHA’s learning programs manager. 

Photo courtesy of Judy Rose Lanier 

Disclaimer: The views expressed, and topics discussed, in any NEWStat column or article are intended to inform, educate, or entertain, and do not represent an official position by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) or its Board of Directors. 



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