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Frequently Asked Questions for Online Campus Program: Veterinary Technology Program

The Online Veterinary Technology program is fully accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association. The program is located on the Loudoun Campus and includes a small animal veterinary teaching clinic, laboratory, radiology, and surgery areas, classrooms and kennel facilities. The online program courses are administered through the Extended Learning Institute (ELI) at NOVA. 

Below are some commonly asked questions concerning the Online Veterinary Technology program: 

Program FAQ

Q: What is veterinary technology?
A: Veterinary Technology is a relatively new field in which people are educated to assist in veterinary practice, biological laboratories, animal research and other areas requiring knowledge of medicine and animals.  

Q: How does someone become a veterinary technician?
A: Most people become a Veterinary Technician by completing a formal college program, receiving an Associate Degree of Applied Sciences (A.A.S.) and then successfully completing a national and state board examination to become legally certified, registered, or licensed. In Virginia, veterinary technicians are licensed. 

Q: How does the online veterinary technology program work at NOVA?
A: The program begins in the Fall semester and continues for eight consecutive semesters until graduation after the last Spring semester. It takes a total of three years to complete the veterinary technology curriculum.

The program is a combination of basic medical science course material delivered online via the Internet and practical hands-on training activities conducted at periodic on-campus visits. There are some visits and field trips to off-campus sites as well.

Q: How do I get hands-on experience in the online program?
A: During your time in the program, you are required to work an average of 20 hours per week at an approved veterinary facility and be supervised on the job by a mentor who is a licensed veterinarian. Training activities occur during the on-campus visits.

Q: How is the course material determined?
A: The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) specifies what material is to be taught and tested. The specific material covered in the on line curriculum is equivalent to that covered in the on-campus curriculum at NOVA.

Q: What type of classes are offered?
A: Some of the classes offered include topics such as: Anatomy and Physiology of Domestic Animals, Pharmacology, Hematology, Diseases of Domestic Animals, Microbiology, Radiology, Animal Behavior, Clinical Pathology, Advanced Clinical Practices, Anesthesiology.

Admissions FAQ

Q: How do you get into the Online Veterinary Technology program?
A: Follow the application procedures listed under Apply Here on this website. Students are accepted into the program based on such credentials as previous grades, current experience in the field, Mentor Memorandum of Agreement in place, and completion of support classes.

Q: If all of the admission requirements are completed how is one person chosen over another?
A: Factors such as grade point average, years of employment in the field and at the mentoring facility, strength of recommendation letters etc. may be taken into consideration if the number of qualified applicants out numbers the class space.

Q: How many students are admitted in the class?
A: Our goal is to admit 30 to 35 well-qualified, highly motivated students. For profile information on the current accepted Fall class, please see the Profile of Accepted Students section of this website.

Q: Why are the admission requirements for the online program more involved than getting into the on-campus program?
A: The admission requirements for the online program are the same as those for the on-campus program with the exception of the mentor requirement. Online students are required to be mentored by a licensed veterinarian at a veterinary hospital where they are working. Much of veterinary technology is related to clinical skills. Without a strong and committed mentor in place, the online student cannot complete the program. Therefore, it is essential to have the commitment from the mentor and all Memorandum of Agreements in place before beginning the program.

Q: Why do we have to submit the Task List Survey and Equipment List?
A: The Clinical Task List and Equipment List are several pages long and are based on AVMA documents. Tasks with asterisks are required by technicians, the others are recommended.

The purpose of "signing off" on these survey lists is simply to provide the mentor and clinical facility serving as the practice site a good idea of what the student is required to accomplish and the equipment and reagents that will be needed. It is not expected that a veterinary facility will be able to provide all of the clinical task practice or that they will own all of the equipment. Most students will require some experience at other places, including emergency clinics, a large animal facility or practice, and/or a laboratory.

Q: If I don’t get into the on-campus program, can I be in the online program for awhile until I get in to the on-campus program?
A: The online program is not a "stepping stone" into the on-campus program. Students should not consider switching from one program to the other.

Program and Course Requirements FAQ

Q: Does the online program always have to be completed in three years?
A: The specific veterinary technology courses within the degree curriculum are designed to be completed in sequence and are only offered during a particular semester. Acceleration through the program courses is not permitted. However, students are encouraged to take the required general education support courses (e.g. English, Math, Chemistry, etc.) prior to entering the Veterinary Technology program if they want to minimize their academic load while taking the VET courses.  

Q: What if I only want to take one class per semester?
A: The program requires a student commitment of two VET courses most semesters for eight semesters. In the last semester, three VET courses are required.

Q: May I take more than two vet courses per semester and finish earlier than the three year program?
A: No. The course sequence has been designed to accommodate the distance learner who is working at least part time.

Q: What happens if I have to drop a class for medical or family reasons?
A: If you encounter difficulties with a course, whether academic or personal, you should contact your course instructor and the head of the online program with your concerns to learn of all of your options.

Q: Do all the vet tech courses have to be taken at NOVA?
A: Yes, the VET courses must be taken at NOVA. All online veterinary technology courses are offered through the Online Veterinary Technology program based at NOVA's Loudoun Campus. The Extended Learning Institute (ELI) at NOVA assists the Veterinary Technology program with administration of the courses.

Q: Do I have to take the general education support courses at the Loudoun Campus?
A: No, you may take your non-veterinary technology courses at any of the six NOVA campuses or through NOVA's Extended Learning Institute (ELI), or at another community college. You can discuss this further with a Loudoun Counselor or your faculty advisor.

Q: Can the written exams be taken at other colleges?
A: Yes, written tests can be administered at other community colleges in Virginia using the Blackboard format. You will need to arrange for a proctor in the Testing Center at your local community college.

Q: Why do we have to come to campus two to three times a semester?
A: Hands-on laboratory review and evaluation is conducted in person by program personnel at the Loudoun Campus. Campus visits are a requirement for many of the VET courses.

Q: Where can I obtain the required pre-exposure rabies vaccination?
A: You can obtain a rabies vaccination from most county health departments. Alternatively, you may be able to obtain it through your current healthcare provider. The pre-exposure rabies vaccine is a series of three vaccinations which should be completed prior to starting your fall veterinary technology courses. You will be required to submit proof to the Program of your rabies vaccination.

Mentor and Faculty FAQ

Q: How often will we see the program faculty?
A: An average of two or three times a semester during campus visits, and pre-arranged online meeting times can be scheduled.

Q: How do I get in touch with the faculty?
A: The best way to stay in touch with the faculty is by email.

Q: Are the mentors considered faculty?
A: Mentors are appointed as adjunct clinical faculty, which is an honorary unpaid position.

They are very important in the educational process. They supervise the student’s activities on the job and provide opportunity for practice of skills. They are not asked to administer or grade exams directly, due to a possible conflict of interest. Their input is requested every semester by the faculty regarding student’s performance, knowledge and attitude.

Q: Can my mentor be a technician?
A: The primary mentor must be a veterinarian. The primary mentor can then assign a Licensed Veterinary Technician to be an assistant mentor and help with all the tasks required of the primary mentor.

Q: What exactly does the mentor do in regard to teaching?
A: The mentor provides a venue in which the student may practice skills safely under supervision by the mentor.

Q: Why do you require the mentor transcript from veterinary school?
A: NOVA requires it before the mentor can be awarded adjunct clinical faculty status.

Q: What happens if I have to change mentors during the program?
A: You must notify the head of the online program immediately in writing if there is a change in your employment or mentor. You must maintain the mentor and employment requirement and keep the Memorandum of Agreements updated in order to remain in the program.

Degree Progress FAQ

Q: If I already have an associate's or bachelor's degree, do I still have to take the general education courses?
A: To get credit for general education requirements from a previous degree, your transcript must go through an evaluation process. Usually, students who have completed an associate's or bachelor's degree from an accredited U.S. institution will automatically be given credit for fulfilling all of the general education courses listed under the Program Requirements, with the exception of the Chemistry elective and the Math 126 course. Chemistry and Math 126 are evaluated separately. A specific process may be required in order for credits in chemistry and math to be transferred in to the veterinary technology degree. A faculty advisor will be assigned to help you with these issues once you have joined the program.

Q: If I have taken a college course (or courses) which appears to be similar to the degree requirements for the curriculum, must I take the same course again?
A: If you are seeking advanced standing and want your previous college courses to be recognized as transfer credits, you will need to have your college transcript(s) properly evaluated by NOVA. If you follow the directions for the application package, this step will be done for you.    

Q: Do credits earned in the Veterinary Technology program transfer to four-year colleges?
A: The courses that will transfer vary by college. Most courses are very content-specific and are designed only for completion of the applied science degree in Veterinary Technology. Individuals interested in transferring should contact the college or university to which they plan to transfer to discuss this further. Alternately, make an appointment to meet with a transfer counselor in the Counseling Center in LR building, Room 253 at NOVA’s Loudoun Campus.

Q: I've taken a Vet Tech class before at another college, will it transfer to NOVA?
A: The course will have to be evaluated for content by the program director to verify it is equal to the course offered in the NOVA Veterinary Technology program.

Financial FAQ

Q: Is financial aid available?
A financial aid counselor on any NOVA campus can help you. For the NOVA Loudoun Campus, the financial aid counselors are located in the LR building, Room 253. Always call 703.450.2571 to confirm their walk-in appointment hours before coming to the office.

Click here to find information on the Financial Aid Offices at all NOVA campuses.

For best consideration of timely financial aid, make sure to see a financial aid counselor well before the annual Federal and NOVA priority FAFSA application deadlines. Click here to find more information on the Financial Aid FAQ.

The six-digit identification code for Northern Virginia Community College is 003727. This code must be included on the FAFSA in order for the application data to be released to the College. Failure to include the code on the FAFSA on the Web application or the paper version of the FAFSA may delay the processing of your application.

Q: How much will the total program cost?
A: The total program cost will depend on whether you are paying in-state or out-of-state tuition. It will also depend on how many course credits you already earned before entering the program. Click here for details on the most Current Tuition Rate Per Credit Hour.

The total number of credits required for the program can also be found under Courses for either the on-campus or online program. Count the number of credits for any classes you have not yet taken and multiply the number of credits needed by the current tuition rate per credit hour.

Examples of other expenses will be in the form of a campus parking pass and expenses associated with campus commuting, course textbooks, lab supplies and equipment, required clothing for clinical labs, and travel to field-trips.

Q: What is the employment outlook for graduates of the program?
A: There are many job openings in this field in Northern Virginia and other parts of the country. Prospective employers often contact NOVA regarding employment and the Veterinary Technology Department maintains a job board. The most current job outlook information can be found in the Occupational Outlook Handbook and other publications from the Bureau of Labor Statistics at

Q: I am a prospective student and have further questions about the requirements and/or application process - who should I contact?
A: If you need help or have questions regarding the Veterinary Technology program requirements or the application process, contact us.