This video shows the traditional two-year program. The new hybrid program is three years with a more flexible schedule.

Students from across the state can now pursue a certificate of achievement in veterinary assisting and an associate in science in veterinary technology at Windward Community College through a new hybrid program that combines online instruction and hands-on experience with live animals in a clinical setting.

Windward CC has the only American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)-accredited program for veterinary healthcare paraprofessionals in Hawaiʻi. The new hybrid program has also been accredited by the AVMA.

vets cleaning dog's teeth
Students perform dental cleaning on a dog.

“Students who live on Kauaʻi, Maui, Lānaʻi, Molokaʻi and the Big Island will now have access to this specialized education,” said Veterinary Technology Program Director Jenny Kelly. “Our mission is to increase the quality of veterinary care in Hawaiʻi by providing students with essential skills and knowledge that will enable them to obtain rewarding, living-wage jobs in the animal care field.”

Training includes pharmacology, radiology, anesthesiology, surgical assisting, dentistry, nutrition, exotic and large animal nursing, and veterinary office procedures. Students intern at two of more than 30 independent clinics and shelters, working alongside industry professionals and networking for future employment opportunities.

“The program opens doors for animal care on Molokaʻi and gives me the opportunity to give back to my community,” said Angel Visoria, a current Windward CC student from Molokaʻi. “I am grateful for this amazing opportunity to be with my family and not uproot my entire life. I can stay with my family and still fulfill my dreams.”

For prospective students living on neighbor islands who wish to become veterinary technicians, relocating to Oʻahu may not be possible due to family, work and other obligations. Demand for the hybrid format has also increased from veterinary assistants currently working in veterinary clinics on Oʻahu who want to pursue an associate’s degree in veterinary technology but cannot afford to become a full-time student.

How the hybrid program works

Deedee Crowton and donkey
Windward CC student Deedee Crowton with a donkey.

The eight-semester, three-year program is designed to help students persist and graduate with their AS degree in veterinary technology. Students will receive rigorous coursework in a more relaxed schedule to allow time for work and family.

Lecture classes will be offered in an online format and hands-on laboratory classes in a hybrid format. The hands-on AVMA-Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities essential skills will be completed in labs either at the Windward CC campus or at partner clinical facilities.

Neighbor island students will attend fast-track labs a minimum of three times during a semester. Oʻahu students will attend weekly face-to-face labs. Students enrolled in the hybrid program will work or volunteer part-time under the supervision of a veterinarian.

Enrollment is limited to 12 neighbor island students and 12 Oʻahu students for the Veterinary Assisting certificate, and eight neighbor island students and eight Oʻahu students for the Veterinary Technology AS degree. Students interested in enrolling in the fall are encouraged to attend an information session on June 25 or July 27, via Zoom to learn more about the program and career opportunities. To register for the free information sessions, email vettech@hawaii.edu.

vets checking horse
Students take a horse’s vital signs.