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Distance Learning FAQ

Program Specifics

The program is essentially split into two parts – the online didactic courses and the clinical mentorships. There are 27 online courses and these are what constitutes the "book knowledge" and consists of completing assigned readings, homework assignments, paper/projects, exams, etc. The clinical mentorships are where you demonstrate to the VNDL faculty and staff that you have mastered all of the hands-on skills required of an entry-level veterinary nurse. All VNDL graduates must document acquisition of basic skills, typically by submission of video documentation that will be assessed against a standard set of performance criteria. You can access an overview of the VNDL curriculum by clicking here.

The online didactic courses are all asynchronous. This means that there are no specific times or days of the week when you are required to be logged into a course. The lecture videos within the courses are recorded and the majority of interaction takes place on electronic discussion boards. This gives students the ability to access the course material, complete assignments and exams, and interact with classmates at times when it is convenient for them.

The mentorships are task-based, rather than time-based and are intended to be completed at a veterinary facility at which you are working or volunteering. There are 18 clinical mentorships that must be completed and each one has a specific list of hands-on tasks that you must complete as opposed to spending a certain number of hours working at a practice. Each clinical mentorship has a logbook that lists all of the tasks associated with that mentorship, along with the standardized criteria that must be met to successfully perform each task. Please view the logbooks by clicking here.

The program may be completed in as little as three years of continuous enrollment (nine consecutive semesters).

The Veterinary Nursing Distance Learning (VNDL) program was designed to be taken on a part time-time basis. Many of our students are working full-time and cannot take a large credit load in any given semester. The program was developed by taking the on-campus courses and creating smaller courses for the VNDL. This was done to make it easier to take a smaller credit load per semester.

Students should expect to spend a minimum of three hours a week studying for each credit hour they take in a semester. So, if you enroll in five credit hours in a semester, you should expect to spend a minimum of 15 hours a week studying.

Yes, many of the courses will require you to purchase textbooks.

Yes. Once you are admitted to Purdue University, you will receive the information you will need to set up your Purdue email address.

Purdue University has switched to mobile student IDs.  Physical ID cards are no longer issued to students.  Instructions for creating your Purdue mobile ID can be found here.

The VTNE (Veterinary Technician National Exam) is used to evaluate entry-level veterinary technicians’ competency to practice and to be credentialed. Most states and provinces require a passing score on the VTNE as one criterion for credentialing. The AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) requires that all veterinary technology programs make available on their website the 3 year VTNE pass rate. For further information, please refer to the AAVSB website.

Graduates can sit for the VTNE during three windows throughout the year.  The average three-year pass rate for Purdue's VNDL program generally fluctuates between 92-97%.  

No, the VNDL program does not require students to be vaccinated for rabies. Our program strongly encourages all students to receive the rabies pre-exposure vaccine, but it is not a requirement. The one exception to this is for any students who elect to participate in workshops on the West Lafayette, IN campus or any other off-campus fast-track labs. Students participating in these activities must be vaccinated for rabies, as we cannot guarantee that the animals used will be rabies vaccinated. Participation in fast-track labs or on-campus workshops is NOT required for program completion. Students in the VNDL program who are not rabies vaccinated will not able to work with unvaccinated animals when completing clinical mentorship tasks.

Learn more about rabies pre-exposure vaccines and working with unvaccinated animals


Yes, Purdue University’s Veterinary Nursing Distance Learning (VNDL) program is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Graduates of the VNDL program are eligible to take the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE), which leads to a professional credential as a Veterinary Technician/Nurse in all 50 states.

Learn more

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is a national professional organization representing over 88,000 veterinarians in the United States. The AVMA is a not-for-profit association that helps to provide a collective voice for its members and the profession.


This link will take you to a page that guides you through the admissions procedure for the VNDL. Along with completing the online application for admission, you will need to submit all high school and college transcripts directly to the Office of Admissions.

If you have questions about the admissions process, requirements, or transcripts, please contact the Office of Admissions ( or you can go directly to the Office of Admissions website for more information.

Yes. Any student who meets Purdue's admissions requirements and has access to the Internet can take courses in the program.

Yes. We currently have students in the program who are in the military and stationed outside the United States.

Credit Transfer

In most instances, the only credits you would have an opportunity to transfer to Purdue towards an Associate in Applied Science degree in Veterinary Nursing would be the three-credit English course and the two-credit elective.

If the credits are from courses in veterinary technology, they probably will not transfer to Purdue's veterinary nursing program. While the AVMA dictates the subject matter that must be taught in a veterinary technology/nursing program, each school determines how they deliver the content. This results in each veterinary technology/nursing program setting up their courses differently. For example, many programs combine topics like microbiology and parasitology together in a "clinical pathology" course. Purdue's program has three separate courses for clinical pathology, microbiology and parasitology.

While having experience working in a veterinary practice will most certainly be helpful to you while you work your way through the program, neither Purdue nor the AVMA allows the program to award college credit for life experiences.

This depends on the other institution – it is their decision when it comes to accepting credits earned in other veterinary technology programs. Purdue University's Veterinary Nursing program is fully accredited by the AVMA and the University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, which may be beneficial when attempting to transfer credits from Purdue to another institution. However, in order to answer this question, you will need contact the institution you are interested in attending.

Tuition/Financial Aid

Currently, tuition is $270/credit hour and is the same for all VNDL students, regardless of whether or not you live in the state of Indiana.

View full tuition and fee rates

Yes. Unlike some other schools that offer an online degree in veterinary technology/nursing, students enrolled in the program may be eligible for student aid. However, in order for most students to qualify for federal financial aid, they must be enrolled in at least six credit hours.

Yes!  The VNDL program does offer a Partner Tuition rate that is a 16% discount off the normal tuition rate resulting in a per credit hour rate of $227 (normal tuition is $270/credit hour).

Learn more about how to qualify for the VNDL Partner Tuition Rate.

Working with a Veterinary Practice

You may start the program even if you are not currently working or volunteering at a veterinary practice. However, at some point, you will need to establish a relationship with a veterinary practice (either as a paid employee or a volunteer). This is required for completion of the clinical mentorship part of the program during which you will complete your hands-on skills.

Yes. In order to complete your clinical mentorships (hands-on skills), you will need to be either working or volunteering at a veterinary practice.

Yes. The AVMA/CVTEA requires students in all accredited veterinary technology programs to learn about and work with companion animals (dogs and cats), food animals (cows, pigs, etc.), horses, and laboratory/exotic animals (rodents, birds, etc.).

Hands-On Skills

You complete the hands-on skills in the clinical mentorship part of the program. All of the hands-on skills that are required in the program are completed at a veterinary facility where you work or volunteer.

No. There is no requirement to come to Purdue's campus in order to complete the program.

The program offers workshops in May/June each year. The workshops allow for a limited number of students to come to campus for the opportunity to complete hands-on skills related to large animal and laboratory animal.

There is no requirement that you come to campus to attend these workshops. However, many students who only work with small animals have taken advantage of the workshops in order to complete their large animal and laboratory animal tasks.

Due to limited space, supplies, and faculty/staff, the program does not offer any other opportunities to come to campus to complete hands-on skills.


All exams in VNDL courses will be proctored using Respondus Lockdown Browser (RLB) and Respondus Monitor.


For the VNDL, a mentor is either a licensed veterinarian or a credentialed (RVT, LVT, CVT) veterinary technician/nurse who can guide/coach you when you are completing your hands-on skills. You can find out more about the mentor's role here.

If you are currently working in a veterinary practice, we recommend that you ask a licensed veterinarian or credentialed (RVT, CVT, LVT) veterinary technician/nurse to act as your mentor. If you are not currently working at a veterinary practice, the first place we usually recommend a student look for a mentor is at the practice to which the student takes their pets.

Technical Requirements

To enroll and participate in classes online, you must use a desktop or laptop computer (PC or Mac) with at least:

  • CPU processor to support the Operating System (OS) and applications
  • Internal or external webcam with integrated microphone
  • Audio output device to play sound
  • Headset or earbuds with microphone (recommended)

Because Brightspace, the Learning Management System (LMS) that Purdue University uses is mobile responsive, students may use mobile devices such as tablets (e.g., iPad), mobile phones, and notebook computers (e.g., Chromebooks) to perform some academic activities and thereby supplement the use of a desktop or laptop computer. However, a desktop or laptop computer must remain your primary device for completing VNDL courses.  A high-speed internet connection with a minimum bandwidth of 8 Mbps upload/download speed is also required.

The VNDL program does not recommend using the Brightspace Pulse app to complete entire courses. The tool is limited in its uses, and our program does not have control or the ability to change anything within the app. The Pulse app is meant to be a quick and easy mobile reference and is not intended to be an outlet for completing an entire course.

We recommend using either Chrome or Firefox as the browser to navigate Brightspace.

All students are required to have Microsoft Office 2013 or a more recent version such as Microsoft Office 365, which is available for free for enrolled students at Purdue University.  Students can install Microsoft Office 365 from the by accessing the following website:

Students must also have a current version of Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available as a free download from the following website:


The student may add anyone as a TouchNet Authorized User. Once added, you may pay your student's bill.

Please contact the Veterinary Nursing Office at or 765-496-6579.

Please contact the Veterinary Nursing Office at or 765-496-6579.

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