Veterinary Practice Management

Student holding a kitten inside a Veterinary Practice

What can you expect from this program/course?

All course work in this certificate program is assignment, quiz and interactive forum based. Assignments have been designed to allow you to create working documents that you can implement in the clinic immediately to improve business results. Although this is an online program, each course is led by an instructor with years of hands-on experience working as a Veterinary Practice Manager. You will receive coaching, feedback, and have the opportunity to interact with other course participants and your instructor via online forums framed to further your learning.

This program is ideal for those actively working in a veterinary clinic and interested in leading best business practices:

  • Veterinarians
  • Animal health technologists
  • Veterinary medical receptionists
  • Business managers
  • Clinic administrators

What will you learn?

This fully online certificate is comprised of six courses:

  • Veterinary Marketing
  • Veterinary Financial Management
  • Veterinary Communications
  • Veterinary Systems & Operating Procedures
  • Computer Applications for Industry
  • Veterinary Human Resources

***Please note that all of these courses can be taken on a stand alone basis. It is not necessary to register for the entire certificate. Completion of the certificate also fulfills the formal education requirements necessary to apply for the Certified Veterinary Practice Manager Designation offered through the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association.

Each course is approved by the AAVSB RACE to offer a total of 50.0 CE Credits (50.0 max) being available to any one veterinarian: and/or 50.00 Veterinary Technician CE Credits (50.00 max).-Course must have been completed after September 2018 to be eligible

 Following completion of the program, the learner will be able to:

  • Demonstrate effective communication and personal management skills in the veterinary clinic setting
  • Apply management skills in the supervision of employees
  • Support business success by developing a strategic marketing plan
  • Adhere to legal and ethical obligations for veterinary clinic operations
  • Manage the human resource requirements of the veterinary practice
  • Confidently manage and report the financial aspects of a veterinary clinic
  • Manage the daily operations of the veterinary clinic

Program at a glance

Prerequisites: None, although a minimum one year experience working in a veterinary setting is strongly encouraged

Certification: Non-credit Certificate

Length of Program: 10 Weeks/Course

Delivery: Online

Dates: Course start dates vary

Tuition: $799/course

Registration Deadline: 14-days prior to course start date. Registrations received after the deadline will be charged a $75 late fee.

Required Text & Materials: Practice Made Perfect - A Complete Guide to Veterinary Practice Management, 2nd Edition, Heinke, Marsha L., McCarthy, John B. (2012). Published in Lakewood, Colorado. American Animal Hospital Express.

*Please note that this is the only textbook required for this certificate program, and it is required for all courses. The non-member price is $104.95, however if you work for a clinic that is a member, you may be able to purchase the text for a reduced price.

Purchase this textbook through AAHA: or call 1-800-252-2242 ask for the ‘member service centre’.

Course Details

Courses can be taken individually and in any order 

Veterinary Communications  |  January 6 – March 27, 2020

Learn the art of actively addressing situations to obtain the best possible outcome. Gain a greater understanding of the importance of effective communication to your success as a practice manager. Acquire the knowledge, skills and strategies that will assist you to utilize appropriate written, verbal, intrapersonal and interpersonal communications to facilitate success with clients, staff, and other stakeholders. During this course, you will have the opportunity to apply the skills that will make you a more effective team leader within your team, and build your confidence handling a variety of situations that arise, including those that require conflict resolution skills.

Veterinary Marketing  |  March 30 – June 19, 2020

Support business success by developing a strategic marketing plan for a veterinary clinic. Analyze factors that affect clients' perceptions, develop a client retention program, and identify your options for external marketing, including the use of social media. Learn how marketing is part of every client interaction and how to evaluate marketing efforts to generate the greatest value for your dollar.

Veterinary Systems and Operating Procedures  |  March 30 – June 19, 2020

Acquire the skills to evaluate the business systems and operation procedures in a clinic and support positive changes that improve business outcomes. Become familiar with all types of documents, agreements and contracts that are utilized within the veterinary business. Positively impact the clinic you work in through a comprehensive understanding of the legislative, compliance, and reporting requirements, as well as the ethical implications of various policies.

Veterinary Human Resources  |  January 6 – March 27, 2020

Learn how to effectively develop and manage the clinic's most important resource - the staff. Determine staffing requirements, create job descriptions, interview and recruit, coach and mentor your team effectively. Examine best practices for negotiation, performance evaluation and improvement, and successful team leadership.

Veterinary Financial Management  | September 21 – December 11, 2020

Confidently manage all financial aspects of a veterinary practice. Gain an understanding of accounting principles, the ability to evaluate Key Performance Indicators and overall financial performance, as well as select the appropriate tools to control clinic expenses and monitor clinic financials. Choose the most appropriate strategies to manage cashflow, develop internal protections to avoid embezzlement, and successfully compose a concise financial summary for presentation to your supervisor.

Computer Applications for Industry  | September 21 – December 11, 2020

Students will improve upon computer application skill sets, including varied operations in the Microsoft Office suite. Students learn how to integrate the various components and use available technology for efficient, effective, and creative business management and marketing purposes. Students will also become more confident in sharing this knowledge with the rest of their industry team. Materials and instruction are supported for both the Windows and Mac platforms, so this course is effective for all those utilizing computer systems in the workplace.

What is the time commitment required to complete each course?

The time commitment does vary by person given the different speeds of reading and navigating online, but a good range would be approx. 6-12 hours/week. There are assignments, as well as required forum posts, and the average would be approx. 1 assignment every 1.5 weeks, and a couple of forum posts each week.

How many courses can I take at one time?

Most people only take one course at a time, although if you like it is possible to take 2 at one time as long as your personal and work commitments allow you enough time each week.

Can I complete the certificate over a couple of years?

Yes – you are not required to register for the ‘certificate’, you just register for the courses as you want to complete them & then when you have completed all 6, you will receive the certificate. We encourage people to take only one course at a time unless they have a good deal of free time for the coursework.

Do I have to apply to take this program?

This is a certificate program consisting of 6 courses. There is no requirement to register for the 'certificate program', but rather you register for each course as like, and they can be taken in any order.

Would this be valuable if I work in a boarding facility instead of a vet clinic?

Yes - the courses in this program contain valuable information and will help you gain the skillset that you would need in order to successfully manage a boarding facility or animal shelter. The content is specifically geared towards veterinary clinics, however all 3 types of facilities deal with similar challenges: financial, human resource, volunteers, communications, effective policies and procedures etc.

Can I complete the certificate from an international location?

Yes - we are pleased to accept students from international locations for this online program. As long as you have adequate reliable Internet, and are able to pay your tuition via credit card, all will work out well for you. The course materials for each course are all delivered through our online learning platform, and the instruction is asynchronous, meaning that although you need to follow due dates for assignments and forum postings, there is no specific time that you are ever required to be online, so timezone differences would have no impact on your ability to successfully complete the courses in this certificate.  You are required to order your own textbook for this program (the one text is all that is used for all 6 courses), and this book must be purchased from the United States, so you would want to order the text with enough time in advance that shipping to your home country you will receive it prior to the start of your first class.

Are the courses completed at your own pace or are there set submission deadlines?

The courses are instructor led, so although you can work on the assignments & forum posts at any time that is convenient for you (there will never be a specific time you are required to be online or engaged), there are set timeframes within which to complete all components, and you will receive feedback from your instructor  on both your assignments and forum posts.