TRU Science

Animal Health Technology

Train to become a veterinary technologist, a professional in the field of veterinary medicine. Thompson Rivers University’s Animal Health Technology (AHT) program is accredited by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, Ontario Association of Veterinary Technicians and is recognized by all provincial associations.

Our comprehensive program embraces both academic and practical applied learning. There is a two-year on-campus program, a three-year distance education program and an eight-month distance education animal certificate program. A number of satisfying career options in the animal care industry are available for program graduates.


 Two-year on-campus diploma for registered veterinary technologists

The TRU AHT campus diploma is a two-year, four-semester program. It is a tough, but rewarding full-time program that includes a minimum of 30 hours per week of classroom, laboratory work and animal-care duties.

Students experience daily, hands-on learning in areas such as:

  • Diagnostic imaging
  • Anesthesia
  • Critical care
  • Surgical assistance
  • Dentistry

Hands-on learning is facilitated with on-site small animals at dedicated TRU managed facilities. Large animal work takes place at the TRU farm where students gain experience with livestock. Students also gain experience working with wildlife and birds through various community partnerships. The TRU AHT diploma prepares students to successfully write the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) and become registered with their provincial association as an RVT.

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 Three-year distance-education diploma for registered veterinary technologists

Study and complete your education from anywhere in Canada, with no on-campus requirements. The student must be a paid employee working in a Canadian veterinary clinic for a minimum of 20 hours per week while enrolled in the program.

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 Eight-month distance-education animal welfare certificate

A program for animal caregivers interested in upgrading their work skills or for individuals interested in a career in animal welfare. It was jointly developed by TRU and the BC SPCA.

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Opportunities for students

Campus students have daily hands-on experiences with small animals in the teaching facility on campus. Large animal work is carried out in a separate facility where students develop hands-on experience with livestock, wildlife and birds.

Distance students gain valuable, hands-on experience working in a veterinary clinic with the flexibility to complete course work at their own pace.

Careers for graduates

A registered veterinary technologist works under the supervision of veterinarians and veterinary scientists in a variety of areas including:

  • Private veterinary clinics for large and small animals
  • Exotic animals and wildlife rehabilitation
  • Specialty referral clinics
  • Anesthesia and surgical assistance
  • Industry pharmacutecial sales
  • Nutrition
  • Research
  • Clinical pathology and clinic management