Veterinary Assistant Technical Standards
All individuals, including persons with
disabilities, who wish to participate in the
veterinary assistant program, must be able to
perform specific technical functions with or
without reasonable accommodation.
The following information outlines the requirements,
abilities, and behavioral characteristics necessary for admission, continued
participation, and completion of the veterinary assistant program at Harford
Community College (HCC). Students should consult with the non-credit allied
health coordinator to discuss any individual situation that may prevent his or
her ability to meet the admission criteria or the essential technical standards.
Requests for reasonable accommodations will be considered. It is ultimately the
student’s responsibility to meet these essential qualifications for
participation in the program.
To meet the requirements for admission, the applicant
- Be at least 18 years old.
- Possess a minimum of a high school diploma or a GED.
- Review the program technical standards and ask questions if unfamiliar with
the required activities or functions.
- Decide if he or she has any limitations that may restrict or interfere with
the satisfactory performance of any of the requirements.
- Exhibit a personality suited to exhibit respect, concern, and compassion for
both patients (animals) and clients (humans).
- Indicate willingness to practice direct care skills in a laboratory/clinical
setting by role-playing the veterinary assistant.
- Learn to safely handle, restrain, and work with any species of domestic and
exotic animals that may be sick, injured, fractious, or aggressive without fear.
- Operate and maintain a variety of medical diagnostic and therapeutic
- Assist with or perform a wide variety of routine medical, surgical, and
diagnostic procedures common to the veterinary setting; including humane
- Assume many different roles during a workday (receptionist, technical
assistant, kennel attendant, janitor, etc.)
- Perform routine cleaning and janitorial duties including using brooms,
brushes, hoses, and various cleaning products (detergents, disinfectants),
garden supplies and implements.
- Recognize the potential for accident and/or injury related to the handling
of potentially dangerous animals, and the exposure to potential allergens
(animal hair, dander, etc.), loud noise, odor, animal pain and suffering, blood
borne pathogens, compressed gasses, pharmaceuticals (including controlled
substances), sharp objects, ionizing radiation, and potentially hazardous
Any individual who is unable or unwilling to meet
the following technical standards in the
classroom, lab, and clinical area will be unable
to participate in the program.
- Visual—Able to observe, monitor, and/or assess client, and read fine
print on monitors, devices, and gauges.
to hear and understand faculty, staff, peers, clients, families, and healthcare
workers; interpret conversations; and assess/monitor clients.
- Read written instructions in English.
- Possess eyesight capable of viewing small visual images, use a
microscope, and read instrumentation.
- Acquire information from documents such as charts, radiographs, computer
images, and other modes of delivery.
- Perceive fine detail, focus at several distances, and discern variations
in color, shape, and texture in order to differentiate abnormal from normal.
- See and discriminate between varieties of visual equipment alarms.
- Observe demonstrations and clients close up and at a distance to learn
skills and gather client data such as, but not limited to, observing a
client’s facial expressions, appearance, and other nonverbal cues.
- Communicate and interact
with faculty, staff, peers, clients, families, and healthcare workers
from a variety of cultural backgrounds.
- Follow verbal instructions.
- Detect and discriminate
between sounds of normal conversation.
- Hear sounds of a variety of
Tactile–Possess a keen sense of touch and the ability to interpret
tactile sensations to perceive information such as, but not limited to texture,
mobility, firmness, strength, and temperature.
- Smell—Able to tolerate unpleasant odors related to infections, bad
- Mobility—Possess the mobility and strength to move freely in the office
and support/move patients.
Move quickly from place to place and perform direct care.
2.Ability to tolerate walking and standing for sustained and prolonged
periods of time (85% of workday).
3.Capable of lifting from floor to waist level and/or carrying up to forty
pounds unassisted frequently, and up to fifty pounds or more with assistance
4.Ability to bend over at the waist, twist the trunk, squat, kneel, reach
above the head, and have sufficient grip strength.
5.Have the body size, conformation, and fitness to do the physical work
required of a veterinary medical professional.
- Motor Skills (fine and gross)—Perform
multiple motor tasks simultaneously. Possess fine and gross motor
skills sufficient to handle equipment and provide safe and effective
client care; keen sense of touch; awareness of self in relationship
to surroundings, steady arm and hand movements while manipulating
objects or assisting the veterinarian, veterinary technician and/or
- Perform CPR and other basic life support functions.
- Operate and manipulate equipment and instruments.
- Position/move patients safely.
- Push/pull equipment.
- Work in confined spaces while maintaining close, personal contact with
- Chart/write in client records and record client data.
Communication—Able to communicate in English, both orally and in
writing, with faculty, staff, peers, clients, families, and other veterinary
Intellectual and Cognitive Abilities—Able to learn, measure, calculate,
reason, analyze, integrate, synthesize, and use data/information.
- Speak English in a clear and easily understood manner.
- Write in a manner that is legible.
- Use correct grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
- Read and comprehend written material in English at a minimum of the 9th
- Observe non-verbal communication.
Behavioral and Social Attributes—Possess the emotional health required
to use intellectual abilities fully such as exercising good judgment, promptly
completing all responsibilities associated with client care, and developing
mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with faculty, staff, peers,
clients, families, and healthcare workers.
- Interpret, problem solve, and demonstrate critical thinking.
- Perform arithmetic and simple mathematical calculations at a
minimum of the 8th grade level.
- Respond to emergencies by processing information consistently,
accurately, and quickly.
- Possess the ability to self-evaluate.
Ethical Standards—Demonstrate professional demeanor and behavior.
Perform in an ethical manner in all dealings with faculty, staff, peers,
clients, families, and healthcare workers regardless of race, color, religion,
sex, national origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, veteran,
sexual orientation, marital status, or any other status protected by law.
- Work both indoors and outdoors in all weather conditions
during daylight and after dark.
- Tolerate physically taxing workloads, long hours and shift
work in an emotionally charged, fast-paced environment.
- Interact with an endless variety of people, animals, and
challenging clinical and interpersonal situations, maintaining
composure while continuing to function appropriately and
- Adapt to changing environments, display flexibility, and learn to
function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of
- Demonstrate team playing, compassion, integrity, concern for others,
interpersonal skills, interest, and motivation during the education process.
- Recognize emergencies and be able to take the appropriate action.
- Accept constructive criticism and respond appropriately by modifying
Legal Standards—Submit to a criminal background check and/or drug
testing as required by policies of the college, clinical facility, and/or
regulatory agency. The student is responsible for any cost.