What to Expect
Students receive theoretical and clinical training in laboratory work, radiology, surgical assisting, anesthesiology, nursing care and management of the veterinary hospital. A number of course hours are completed off campus and involve weekend and shift work.
Classroom & Study Hours
Students can expect to spend, on average:
- 30 hours per week attending classes over the course of a semester.
- 8 to 10 hours per week studying and completing class assignments.
Students get hands-on experience in the NAIT Animal Health Clinic, which provides basic veterinary services for dogs and cats owned by NAIT staff and students, including spays and neuters, vaccinations and teeth cleaning. The clinic is inspected and approved by the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association and all radiographic and anesthetic equipment is inspected regularly to meet veterinary facility standards. Animal Health Technology students provide the services under instructor supervision.
All Animal Health students complete shifts at NAIT’s Canadian Animal Blood Bank clinic, and AHT students gain large animal experience through a local stable and ranch and the University of Alberta farm.
In the Animal Health Care lab, students study anatomy samples and practice restraint of small animals, birds and pocket pets (e.g., rodents and rabbits). Labs feature:
- dental and veterinary radiograph units
- a portable digital radiograph unit used on horses
- Phantoms (task trainers that can be X-rayed) to train students in radiographic placement and technique
- Biosafety Course Requirement - Biosafety is mandatory for all students in the AHT program to ensure compliance with the Human Pathogens and Toxins Act. A biosafety course will be delivered online using Moodle. Students will be directed on deadlines and completion requirements during program specific orientation. Failure to complete the course will result in no access to laboratories.
Is This Program For You?
Prospective students must be highly motivated and have a genuine interest in animals and their welfare. AHTs must handle ill or injured animals, and physical demands involve lifting, bending and the restraint of animals. AHTs require excellent interpersonal skills and strong oral and written communication abilities to interact effectively with people to be successful in this program and the career field.
The successful graduate should have the ability to remain calm under pressure, be a self-starter and have strong leadership attributes and sound decision-making skills. Animal health technologists are also physically active. A typical day involves lifting, bending and the restraint of animals.
Learn more about what it's like to be a student in the School of Health and Life Sciences, and how it prepares you for a successful career.
- Alumni profiles – hear what our grads have to say about their NAIT education and how it has contributed to their careers.
- Student profiles – why do students choose NAIT? What's it like to be a student in the Health and Life Sciences programs? Find out from the students themselves.
- Clubs – a NAIT education extends well beyond the classroom. Find out how the Dental Assisting Club is making a real difference in our community.
- Awards and recognition – the quality of our programs and instruction shows! Our students and graduates excel at all levels.
- Video galleries – watch our students at work, see what they do and listen to why they've chosen the School of Health and Life Sciences.
- Photo galleries – get a view of our classrooms, facilities, equipment and laboratories.
Students in Animal Health Technology assist Dr. Jocelyn Forseille (in lab coat) in the canine blood donor clinic on campus, the only animal blood bank in Alberta. Blood samples taken here help dogs under veterinary care across Canada. Dr. Forseille was recognized by the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association as the 2010 Veterinarian of the Year for her work in starting the blood bank and other volunteer projects.