Prospective Student Information
Special rules apply to online courses offered to students living outside of Virginia. For further information refer to State authorization information for students outside of Virginia.
The Veterinary Technology Online Program is a distance learning program. However, not all course requirements are satisfied from a distance, by online activities alone. On average, two or three visits to the Loudoun Campus per semester are required of the student in person, but there may be more.
The student must also be working in a veterinary practice for an average of at least 20 hours per week as a veterinary assistant (working with animal patients) where they are supervised by a licensed veterinarian. The veterinary practice site must be approved by NOVA. Employment in a veterinary practice with supervision by a licensed veterinarian must continue throughout the Program.
Courses are administered online using Blackboard and are offered through NOVA’s Extended Learning Institute (ELI). Students use class notes from the online course site and textbooks to study and complete course assignments. Students participate in online class discussions and communicate regularly with faculty. Proctored examinations are taken at a local community college testing center. Laboratory review and practical examinations are held at NOVA's Loudoun Campus. Many methods of evaluation of clinical skills are employed including: video, product evaluation, such as radiographs and blood slides done by the student, assignments, as well as testing on campus.
This program is fully accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Requirements of the Online Program:
- Students must work at an approved veterinary facility, an average minimum of 20 hours per week. The facility is expected to be registered with the Board of Veterinary Medicine. A completed Task List and Equipment List Survey is submitted to indicate the duties that the student may perform and the equipment present at the facility.
- Students must be supervised by a licensed veterinarian where they work. The student, the supervising veterinarian and Program faculty complete Memoranda of Agreement that outline the goals of the Program and expectations of each participant. The primary supervising veterinarian may appoint an additional licensed veterinarian or licensed veterinary technician to assist in supervising the student during any clinical assignments.
- It will require three years, 8 semesters in total, for Program completion. Attendance during both summer semesters is required.
- Two or three veterinary technology courses will be offered per semester for eight semesters, and classes must be taken in sequence. Students are also required to complete several general education requirements for the Associate in Applied Science degree. General education courses can be taken at local community colleges and transferred to NOVA, or taken at NOVA.
- On average, students must attend the Loudoun Campus two to three times per semester for testing and/or study.
- College admission and veterinary technology admission requirements include:
- Admission to NOVA with Loudoun designated as home campus.
- Student must be 18 years of age or older.
- Satisfactory scores on NOVA placement tests for reading, writing, and mathematics.
- Completion of one unit of high school level algebra or equivalent with a “C” or better.
- Completion of at least one unit of high school biology with a lab with a “C” or better
- Completion of one unit of high school chemistry with a lab, each with a “C” or better.
- Three letters: two letters of recommendation including one from the primary supervising veterinarian and a letter of intent from the student.
- Completed Memoranda of Agreement for Student, Supervising Veterinarian, and College.
- Completed survey of Task List and Equipment List
- Students must earn a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 or better in all required general education and program-specific general elective courses if taken before admission to the program.
Preference will be given to Virginia residents, those with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, and those who have completed their college general education requirements.
Evaluation and Grading
Students’ clinical skills, knowledge, and activities may be evaluated in several ways, including:
- Students may develop a portfolio of their clinical work, for example, radiographs and hematology slides.
- Students may document their clinical activities using logs and journals.
- Students perform particular skills for evaluation by Program faculty.
- Lab practical exams are conducted at campus visits.
- Online quizzes, exams, and discussions.
- Written assignments.
- Proctored written exams are taken at approved testing centers, which are typically at the student’s local community college, using the Blackboard system.
Five full-time professors from the Veterinary Technology Program at NOVA teach the classes.
What it Takes to Succeed in the Program
This Program is designed for the student who is working as a veterinary assistant. This Program is equivalent to the On-Campus Program in regard to material presented and testing methods. Please consider the following factors in deciding whether the Online Program is right for you.
Dedication: This is a difficult and rigorous curriculum, and by taking your courses via the Internet part-time, it will take three years to complete the degree. It is important for student success and that of the Program that a long-range commitment be made.
Self-motivation and independence: Most of the time students will be studying on their own, without the companionship or camaraderie of classmates. A student who dislikes working alone may be better suited for the traditional On-Campus Program.
Support structure: Making connections with other students who live nearby is very helpful for studying and carpooling. Also, there will be some small group assignments during campus visits so students can get to know each other.
Communication: Staying in touch with the instructors is essential to success in our courses. Following directions and accessing Blackboard on a consistent basis is required. If an assignment is missed or a student is having difficulty, contacting the instructor directly for help and advice in a timely manner is very important. It is also important to check your NOVA email account frequently to avoid missing any important messages from the instructors or Online Program Head.
Time management: Our courses are not self-paced. Most courses have weekly assignment deadlines to meet; the student must stay on schedule. An estimate of the time students should devote to study is at least 3 – 4 hours for each credit hour in which they are enrolled. For example, if you are taking an online course that is three credits, you should expect to spend at least nine hours each week working on the course, in order to do well in that course.
Attendance requirements: There are specific times a student will be required to attend campus activities for a grade in a course. The student will need to arrange their work schedule to accommodate the campus visits and any field trips that are required.