Animal Health Technology

Length of Program:  16 MonthsProgram Intakes:  July, October, and FebruaryMarch 2020


Animal Health Technology Diploma

Applications Open: October, December, March

Length of Program: 16 months

Program Status: Open

In the Animal Health Technology (AHT) program you will be trained to provide hands-on care to a variety of animals both large and small. You will be taught a Canadian Veterinary Medical Association accredited curriculum delivered by staff boasting over 150 years of accumulated veterinary experience! 

Our campus features a small animal clinic, and a working farm with a variety of large animals on site. This provides our students with many opportunities to gain experience in handling, treating and caring for live patients of all sizes.

Upon successful completion of this program, students will be able to:

  • Interact professionally with clients and colleagues within the animal health industry.

  • Communicate effectively within the animal health industry.

  • Perform animal nursing care.

  • Perform biosecurity measures and protocols in an animal health care environment.

  • Perform veterinary diagnostic laboratory techniques.

  • Perform veterinary diagnostic imaging procedures.

  • Perform veterinary anesthetic and analgesic procedures.

  • Perform veterinary surgical and dental procedures.

Admitted students should be aware of occupational programs where potential for exposure to animals with disease/infection is high. Please read more about program specific Immunization Information.

What will you learn?

In the Animal Health Technology program you will learn diagnostic laboratory procedures, animal disease, anatomy and physiology, surgery and anesthesia, diagnostic imaging, dentistry and client communication. Animal Health Technology students work as team leaders with Veterinary Medical Receptionist and Veterinary Technical Assistant students to provide care for the animals in our program.

  • Patient monitoring
  • Intravenous fluid therapy
  • Wound and bandage care
  • Pain control
  • Charting & medical record maintenance
  • Physiotherapy/hydrotherapy
  • Sample collection
  • Microscopic evaluation of blood, urine, feces, and other body fluids
  • Parasite identification
  • Quality control, operation and maintenance of laboratory equipment 
  • Diagnostic imaging including: x-rays (traditional and CR-digital), ultrasounds and MRI
  • Anesthesiology (sedation, nerve blocks, local and general anesthesia)
  • Surgical assistance
  • Dentistry (plaque and tartar removal, tooth polishing, x-rays, non-surgical extractions, assisting in endodontic, orthodontic and advanced procedures)
  • Emergency and critical care (patient triage, evaluation of vital signs and recognition of abnormal conditions, critical care medications and procedures)
  • First aid and CPR
  • Critical care nursing
  • Reception duties
  • Medication dispersement
  • Client education (disease prevention, dental care, obesity management)
  • Home care instruction
  • Nutritional counseling

As a graduation requirement, students will participate in a 6 week industry practicum, working directly with industry professionals. While not a guarantee, students find that often these placements lead to full-time employment.

View Program Outline

Program Details

Credential: Diploma

Length of Program: 15 to 16 months (offered in an accelerated format with minimal breaks)

Method of Delivery: Blended. The program will begin with two online courses which will be completed prior to arrival on campus. Upon completion of the online courses, students will be on campus for three back to back 4-month semesters, delivered over 12-months. See chart below or view PDF

Directed Field Study/Work Term/Practicum: Yes, this program includes a 6 week practicum at the end of the term.

Program Intakes: Three intakes per year: Winter intake (February/ March program start), Summer intake (July program start), Fall intake (October program start).

Program Dates: Please visit our Dates & Schedules page to confirm start and end dates of your desired program and confirm campus closures.  

Applications Open:

  • Summer Intake: First Wednesday in October (9:00am)

  • Fall Intake: First Wednesday in December (9:00am)

  • Winter Intake: First Wednesday in March (9:00am)

*This program is a high demand program and fills quickly with qualified applicants. There is no application deadline, applicants can apply up until the start date of the program.

Selection Process for Admission: Competitive Entry
The number of qualified applicants will exceed the number of available seats within the program; therefore applicants with the highest overall average will be offered admission. Applicants with lower averages will be placed on a wait list and contacted in the event that a seat becomes available.

Tuition, Mandatory Fees, Books, and Supplies: Please refer to the current Fee Schedule for details.

  • Year 1: Tuition: $7,030 / Fees: $3,140 / Books & Supplies: $1,130
  • Year 2: Tuition: $3,010 / Fees: $1,670 / Books & Supplies: $600

* Please note that international students pay 3.5 times the domestic tuition amount. These fees are provided as estimates only for the purposes of budgeting. All students should refer to the Fee Schedule  for the most accurate information and all fees are subject to change.*

Graphic showing the AHT program timelines

Admission Requirements

  • 65% or better in English Language Arts 30-1 or 30-2
  • 65% or better in Math 30-1 or 30-2
  • 65% or better in Biology 30
  • 65% or better in Chemistry 30
  • Complete 40 hours of job shadowing and/or employment and must submit a Verification Form signed by your employer, verifying the hours have been completed. 
    • PLEASE NOTE: Your application will remain "pending" until the Verification Form has been completed and submitted.
  • Meet the English Language Proficiency Requirement

PLEASE NOTE: Applicants offered admission typically have an overall average in the required courses of 80% or higher.

Academic Upgrading and High School Applicants: It will be necessary to provide proof of enrolment in any required 30-level courses not yet completed (ie. a timetable, list of courses signed by the counselor/principal or letter from institution or staff/instructor) AND a final mark of 65% or better in the corresponding 20-level courses.  

Alternate Admission: Prospective applicants who do not meet the academic requirements for the Animal Health Technology Diploma program may be eligible for alternate admission to the AHT Diploma program if:

  • they have a 50% or higher in the four academic requirements for the Animal Health Technology Diploma program (English Language Arts 30-1 or 30-2, Math 30-1 or 30-2, Biology 30 and Chemistry 30); AND

  • successfully complete the  Veterinary Medical Receptionist Certificate program with a 3.5 GPA or higher

Out of Province Applicants: Please refer to the Provincial Equivalency Chart for course equivalencies.

Directed Field Study Required: 6 week practicum in the industry to be completed at the end of the program (can be completed at a location of the student’s choosing).

International Applicants

Olds College welcomes AHT applications from international applicants and those who have completed their high school education outside of Canada. Please note it will still be necessary to meet all of the noted admission requirements, including English Language Proficiency. Further information is available on our website under International Students.

International Students in this program will require a Co-Op Permit, a Study Permit and a Social Insurance Number for this program. Learn more on the International Students page.

Career Opportunities

Olds College has a solid reputation working with employers in the industry! This directly translates into jobs for our graduates. Opportunities include, but are not limited to:

  • Veterinary Clinics
  • Diagnostic/Research laboratories
  • Livestock operations
  • Industry/sales
  • Wildlife rehabilitation centres
  • Zoos
  • Educational programs

Visit ALIS to find Occupational Profiles with current wages, industry trends and more!

ALIS Occupational Profiles

Admitted Students Information

Program Dates

Find out when your term start and end dates are, so that you know when you are expected to be in attendance. For more information, please review the Program Dates & Fee Schedule.

Class Registration

You will be registered into your classes automatically. This will happen approximately 1 month prior to the start-date for your program. You will be notified once you have been timetabled into your courses. You will be able to see your class schedule in your My Olds College account. If you need to make any changes to your class registration, please contact the Office of the Registrar.

Technology Recommendation

It is strongly recommended that you come to Olds College with the following technology:

  • A laptop is preferred

As part of your student accounts, all students have access to Office 365 for the duration of their time with Olds College. To access this you just need to follow these steps:

  • Go to
  • Enter your Olds College email address and password
  • Once logged in there is a button on the right that says "Install Office Apps"

This will give you access to the full Office suite on your computer, for both Windows and Mac based platforms.

Materials & Supplies:

The following items are required to be purchased prior to the start of your program:

  • Coveralls (long sleeve/washable/no Carharts or TuffDuck brands)
  • minimum of two sets of scrubs (can be any color or pattern)
  • Rubber boots (we recommend a regular pair and an insulated pair)
  • Indoor shoes to be worn in hospital areas
  • Soft leather gloves to be worn during large animal labs (optional)

The following items can be purchased from the Olds College Campus Store:

  • Stethoscope
  • Penlight
  • Thermometer
  • Two wrap around coats (blue)

Information on other required textbooks and any further supplies will be provided as you attend each class. All books and supplies will be available during the first few weeks of classes in the College Campus Store.

Textbook Order Form

Other Important Information:

  • Dress Code: You are required to adhere to a dress code that includes wearing scrubs and wraps in the hospital areas and laboratories, coveralls on the farm, and no revealing, torn, or dirty clothes worn during classes.
  • Time Requirements: As this programs involves learning with animals, you will be actively involved in the animal care throughout the program. This requires you to perform duties in the evenings and on weekends and holidays. You will be involved in the chores and day to day care of the animals that are required for the program. Students are scheduled to complete animal care rotations on a weekly (Wednesday to Tuesday) rotational basis (including weekends).
  • Physical Program Requirements: The AHT program is physically demanding and students must be in good health and be physically capable of performing the program requirements. This includes week long rotations in teams (including weekends) caring for our cats, dogs, exotics, horses, and cattle. Examples include lifting up to 25 lb dogs onto examination tables, jogging beside haltered horses, moving quickly in cattle and sheep pens and being able to scale a fence, walking medium to large size dogs in all weather conditions, and looking into a microscope for 1-3 hour labs.
  • Student Clubs: Animal Health Club
  • Immunization Requirements: This program requires specific immunization requirements. Learn More

Student Membership

Special requirements for students registered in an Animal Health Technology Program within the Province of Alberta now require that all students have an active student membership with the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association (ABVMA) under the Province of Alberta’s Veterinary Act and General Regulation.

Ready to apply?

Visit our Admissions page for more info or go to Apply Alberta to submit an online application!

For More Information

Our Admissions office can help navigate you through the admissions process and answer any questions you have about your program of study. 

☎ 403.556.8281
☎ 1.800.661.6537

How do I submit my 40 hours of job shadowing and/or employment?

Verification of Job Shadowing/Employment 

The Verification Form must be signed by the Veterinarian, AHT, or person who most closely supervised the applicant in the location where the job shadowing and/or employment hours were gained. This form may only be signed and submitted after the minimum of 40 hours of job shadowing and/or employment hours have been completed. 

Job Shadowing/Employment Verification Form

Applicants to the Olds College Animal Health Technology (AHT) accelerated diploma program are required to complete a minimum of 40 hours of job shadowing and/or employment in a single Canadian veterinary clinic. More information is available on the verification form. 

Industry Partners/Clinics

How to host/confirm placement for a practicum student?

Hosting a Practicum Student

Olds College AHT and VMR programs are looking for locations to host students to complete their industry practicums!

Confirming Practicum Placement

Have you been contacted by an Olds College student and would like to confirm practicum placement?