Working Dog Certificate Program

VET222 and VET223 represent a certificate program offered jointly by the Veterinary Technology Program of Harcum College and the University of Pennsylvania's PennVet Working Dog Center. This 10-credit program provides a strong foundation of knowledge about our canine friends, and the opportunity to work with the dogs and trainers of the PennVet Working Dog Center.

Credit: Working Dog Center

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About the Harcum College Veterinary Technology Program
Harcum's Veterinary Technician program is fully accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association. It prepares individuals to enter a career as a veterinary technician in private veterinary practice, zoo/wildlife medicine, biomedical research, pharmaceutical sales, teaching, humane societies, raising livestock, or anywhere the health and welfare of animals is a concern. 

About the Working Dog Center
Established in 2007, the PennVet Working Dog Center, is part of the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine and serves as a national research and development center for detection dogs. With the United States national security under constant threat from attacks, detection dogs are still the best tool that we have to detect and mitigate potential threats. Search dogs are also critical for the detection of victims of natural and man-made disasters.The goal of the Working Dog Center is to increase collaborative research, scientific assessment, and shared knowledge and application of the newest scientific findings and veterinary expertise to optimize production of valuable detection dogs. 

More About this Certificate Program
This certificate is ideal for adults with a serious interest in working dogs, who may or may not have prior college-level instruction in veterinary technology. VET222 presents an opportunity to gain the knowledge to apply for a practical hands-on experience (VET223), which covers all aspects of training detection dogs for law enforcement, search and rescue, and medical detection while helping the Center achieve their mission of developing a detection dog breeding/training program.

VET222 – Canine Care and Training (online)
4 credits
Description:  The 4-credit online component provides the individuals with an understanding of basic canine anatomy and physiology, general health care and first aid, terminology used in both veterinary medicine and canine training, fundamentals of dog law, canine nutrition, the human-animal bond, and also deals with the issue of pet loss and grief.  

Note: (Completion of the 4-credit online component does not guarantee acceptance to the 6-credit clinical experience offered at the PennVet Working Dog Center. Students must apply directly to the Working Dog Center for acceptance into the practicum.)  

Tuition: $725/credit

VET223 - Canine Care and Training Practicum
6 credits
360 contact hours


More about the PennVet Working Dog Center

The PennVet Working Dog Center serves as a national research and development center and training facility for scent detection dogs.  Their dogs are trained to find victims of disasters, detect explosives and narcotics, apprehend criminals, and conduct search & rescue missions. Some dogs are Diabetic Alert Dogs and others are trained for ovarian cancer detection. These dogs literally save lives!

Credit: Working Dog CenterDescription: The Canine Care and Training Practicum provides the student with hands-on basic canine handling skills including training commands, basic elements of obedience, puppy development, marker training, operant conditioning training methods, basic components of canine fitness program, impact of training on the human animal bond, canine behavior, and body language.  

Pre-requisites: Successful completion of Canine Care & Training, VET222 at Harcum College

Application Process

  • Successfully complete Vet 222, Canine Care & Training with 73 or better at Harcum College
  • Penn Vet Working Dog Center:  Transcript of VET222 from Harcum College, cover letter, resume, 1 Letter of Recommendation, interview Penn Vet Working Dog Center, Tour & Orientation of WDC – all of which need to be completed before Harcum’s course ends;  limited enrollment – 15; provisional acceptance available within first 4 weeks of Harcum’s course VET222;  accepted students must register through Harcum College.

Students responsible for:

  • Healthcare coverage
  • Tetanus Shot
  • Housing
  • Transportation

Tuition: $725/credit