Animal Care Aide

Animal Care Aide


  • Program Length 
    7 Months
  • Credential 
    Certificate
  • Location Offered 
    Nanaimo

7 Month Part-time Certificate Program - Blended Format (online and in-class)

Are you passionate about working with and caring for animals? As an Animal Care Aide, you can be part of a dynamic team of animal care professionals. This part-time, non-credit certificate program provides you with the knowledge and basic skills needed for much in-demand entry-level employment in animal care facilities through theory courses, field trips and hands-on work experience. Whether you are someone with no previous formal training, or an existing staff or volunteer wishing to upgrade your skills and get a recognized credential, this program can provide you with what is needed to work as an Animal Care Aide.

Career Opportunities

The program is designed to meet the demands for trained personnel in veterinary hospitals and animal care shelters. The program emphasizes small animal care in hospital/clinical settings, with valuable training that is transferable to other animal care settings. Graduates may also find work and/or volunteer opportunities in settings such as: animal recovery centres, pet stores, zoos, game farms, grooming businesses, kennels, and large animal farms.

Program Content

The program consists of the following non-credit courses:

  • Anatomy & Physiology of Animals
  • Radiology
  • Laboratory Procedures
  • Complementary Medicine
  • Communicating on the Job
  • Medical Nursing
  • Surgical Procedures
  • Office Procedures
  • 2 Field Trips 
  • 20 hours of Work Experience

Course Delivery

The program is delivered on a part-time basis, over a 7 month period, or two semesters. 

Classes will be held in a blended format, with some classes held online, and some classes face-to-face at the Nanaimo Campus for hands-on learning. Note that there is no online option for classes held at the Nanaimo Campus, so students are expected to attend these classes in person. Classes are presented on Saturdays, with the possibility of occasional evening classes. There will also be two field trips at animal recovery centres in the mid-Island region which may occur on a Saturday or Sunday. The end of the program has students gaining 20 hours of valuable work experience at local veterinary hospitals or clinics. Schedules for the work experience may vary.

All students must have access to a desktop or laptop computer with a working camera, audio and strong internet service in order to complete this program.

Admission Requirements

  • Grade 12 graduation or equivalent, or Trades and Applied Technology Mature Student Category 
  • Minimum 17 years of age
  • Minimum "C" in English 11, or equivalent
  • Minimum "C" in Math 11 (Principals, Applications, Foundations, or Pre-Calculus)
  • Recommended: Biology 11

If you do not meet the Math or English admission requirement, please contact Student Assessment and Exam Invigilation Services, located at Nanaimo, Cowichan and Powell River, to arrange your assessments.  

2022 / 2023 Important Program Dates*

Description Date
Admissions Open / Applications Accepted October 1, 2022
Information Session

March 30, 2023   6:30 - 8:30pm   Join via Zoom

You may also contact us at pdt.hhs@viu.ca with any specific questions, and we will be happy to respond. 

Application Deadline** April 30, 2023
Document Deadline May 15, 2023
Registration Deadline & Non-refundable $200 Tuition Deposit Due Within 3 weeks of offer of admission
Balance of Tuition Due August 14 , 2023
Last Day to Withdraw (no refunds will be issued after this date) August 14, 2023
Program Start September 9, 2023
Program End TBA

* Dates are subject to change

** Late applications may be accepted if there is room in the program

Program Fees

Tuition and Fees are subject to final approval

Tuition: $2,820 (approx.)

Application Fee:  $45 (approx.)

Student Activity and Student Union Fees: $300 (approx.)

Textbooks: $200 (approx.)

Graduation Requirements

Students must successfully complete all core courses, field trips and 20 hours of work experience in order to be eligible for the Program Certificate.

Students are required to attend all scheduled lectures, observations, field trips, and exams.   If you do not meet the attendance requirements, you may not qualify for the Program Certificate.

Program Contact

Yan Li, Program Assistant
Professional Development and Training
Faculty of Health Sciences and Human Services
Email: pdt.hhs@viu.ca 

How to Apply

Apply Online or use a paper application for admission.  An application fee is required.

Revised September 28th, 2022

find us on facebook