Clinical Requirements

An approved Off-Campus Clinical Instruction (OCCI) site is a facility located in the student’s geographical location which enters into an agreement with San Juan College to provide the student with the hands-on clinical experience and oversight required for completion of an A.A.S. degree in the Veterinary Technology Distance Learning Program (VTDLP).

  • Every student is responsible for securing a facility willing to serve as a Companion Animal (aka Small Animal) OCCI site
  • Students not attending the Fast Track Labs in Waco, Texas will also be required to secure a Food and Farm Animal (aka Large Animal) OCCI site, which will be needed in tier 4 in conjunction with taking VETT 233 and 235
  • Each approved facility must have one approved designated primary preceptor and may also have an unlimited number of additional approved preceptors
  • Final approval by the San Juan College Veterinary Technology Distance Learning Program is required before students will be allowed to register for upper tier courses (tier 2-4)
  • Students should allow 90 days from the time formal application is made by the facility to the time of final approval of the facility
  • Students may have more than one approved OCCI facility


All students are required to have an approved Companion Animal (aka Small Animal) OCCI site and approved preceptor prior to registering for upper-tier courses (tiers 2-4).  Students must have access to and be able to utilize the most common species of companion animals, most commonly dogs and cats.  In addition, the student must have access to the equipment necessary to perform the required clinical tasks.  Facilities that do not have all of the necessary equipment, such as local animal shelters or specialty clinics, may be approved with concerns and with the understanding that students may need to secure a second facility to complete the remainder of their clinical tasks. Although students are encouraged to seek paid employment at their OCCI sites, it is not mandatory, and many students have served as volunteers while completing their clinical requirements.

Courses requiring companion animal OCCI sites:  VETT 130, 132, 133, 134, 135, 136, 137, 210, 212, 213, 214, 215, 216, 219, 221, 222, 223, 230, 232, 236

LARGE ANIMAL (aka Food and Farm Animal)

A Large Animal OCCI facility is only required of tier 4 students who elect not to attend the Fast Track Labs in Waco, Texas. In addition to the companion animal OCCI requirements, tier 4 students are also required to complete clinical tasks on food and farm animals. Students have two options for completing this portion of their clinical requirements.  Students may either attend a 3-day Fast Track Lab in Waco, Texas or have a local large animal facility apply for Large Animal OCCI approval. Students in large animal OCCI facilities will be required to perform general equine anesthesia, including the induction of anesthesia, monitoring of the patient, and successful recovery from anesthesia using either injectable or inhalant anesthesia. The student will be required to do an additional video when taking VETT 233 to meet the course requirements.

VETT 233 and 235 require either a large animal OCCI site (option 1) or participation in Fast Track Labs (option 2)

Students may attend a Fast Track Lab (FTL) offered in Waco, Texas, each semester, which will satisfy the program requirements for large animal clinical experience and the required laboratory animal tasks.  No video is required for this option, making FTL the most popular option with students.  Watch the YouTube presentation below for additional details on the Fast Track Labs.

To be approved as an off‐campus clinical instruction (OCCI) site for the San Juan College Veterinary Technology Distance Learning Program, veterinary care facilities must meet certain minimum standards regarding hospital staff, equipment, and practice quality. Each OCCI site must agree to follow these standards in order to be approved.  These minimum standards must be met in order to assure that students receive adequate exposure to quality veterinary medical practices and equipment.

Medical Records

  1. There must be an established system of medical record-keeping within the practice.
  2. Medical records must be legible.
  3. Medical records must clearly reflect the date, initial problem, pertinent history, examination findings, and plan for treatment and care.
  4. Each patient must be properly identified. The following identification must be recorded accurately on each patient’s medical record: patient’s name (ID number if applicable), species, breed, date of birth, sex, color, and/or markings.
  5. Each client must be identified properly. The owner’s name, address, home, and alternate telephone numbers are recorded accurately.
  6. A report of all physical examinations must be made. All patients must be given an appropriate physical examination prior to all medical or surgical procedures. A systematic procedure of examination must be followed.
  7. Records of treatment, both medical and surgical, should reflect all procedures performed in chronological order and in the context of the medical or surgical problem to which they pertain.

Examination Facilities

  1. Appropriate and suitable examination facilities must be provided to demonstrate tasks to students.
  2. Each examination room must be supplied with cleaning materials, disinfectant, disposable towels, and a waste receptacle.
  3. A sink should be located in or convenient to each examination room to facilitate handwashing between each patient. 


  1. All logs should not be stored in the locked cabinet used to store those drugs to which it applies.
  2. Documentation must be retained for the full statute of limitations as established by federal, state, or provincial regulations.
  3. Adequate supplies of drugs and supplies must be available at all times.
  4. All outdated drugs must be returned or disposed of in accordance with federal, state, or provincial regulations.
  5. When dispensing medication, each label must:
    1. be typed or printed (clear tape placed over the label to preserve it)
    2. be permanently affixed to the container
    3. include expiration, if appropriate
    4. include warning labels, if appropriate
  6. Each label must record:
    1. Client’s name
    2. Patient’s name
    3. Date
    4. Name of drug
    5. Usage directions, including the route of administration
    6. Quantity dispensed
    7. Hospital’s name, address, and phone number (including area code)
    8. Veterinarian dispensing the drug
  7. Drugs must only be dispensed or administered on the order of a licensed veterinarian.
  8. Drugs used in euthanasia procedures must be stored in a locked cabinet.
  9. Each dose of any medication administered, dispensed, or prescribed must be recorded in the medical record, including usage directions, quantity, and the number of refills.
  10. Hazardous medications (e.g., chemotherapeutic medications) must be handled in accordance with federal, state, or provincial regulations.
  11. All dispensed or repackaged medications must be in approved, child‐resistant containers unless otherwise requested by the client or if the drug is in a form that precludes it from being dispensed in such a container.
  12. The container must in no way alter the drugs being dispensed and must be moisture resistant.
  13. Each pharmacy must contain at least one reference text or compendium of pharmaceuticals which is current (within three years) and must provide the necessary information on drugs, chemicals, and biologics in use within the hospital or dispensed for use by the client.
  14. Current antidote information must be readily available for emergency reference in addition to the telephone number of the nearest poison control center.
  15. Facilities must provide for storage, safekeeping, and use of drugs in accordance with federal, state, or provincial regulations.
  16. Controlled drugs must be stored in a securely locked, substantially constructed cabinet or safe as required by federal, state, or provincial regulations.


  1. Each specimen must be identified with the identification of the patient.
  2. Each necropsy procedure and record thereof should be thorough and detailed.
  3. Reference range values must be available for all laboratory tests performed.
  4. Adequate space must be provided for the performance of services and proper storage of reagents.
  5. Laboratory countertops should be impervious and stain-resistant with adequate lighting in all work areas.
  6. Restrictions must be in place to prohibit eating/drinking/makeup in lab areas.
  7. Food or drink items must not be stored in refrigerators where lab specimens are routinely kept.

Diagnostic Imaging

  1. Radiographic equipment must be operated only by persons aware of all hazards, actual and potential, to themselves, assisting personnel, patients, and other nearby individuals in order to eliminate or reduce hazards to minimum acceptable levels.
  2. Educational information must be available to all staff concerning radiation safety.
  3. Documentation of a radiation safety program must be on file.
  4. Radiation safety procedures must comply with all federal, state, provincial, or local regulations.
  5. Dosimeter monitoring of exposure levels should be provided for all personnel working with or near an X-ray generator, dependent on state regulations.
  6. The individual dosimeter badge should be worn near the collar on the outside of the leaded apron if one is used.
  7. Records of dosimetry results must be maintained indefinitely and readily available if applicable.
  8. Exposure results, if applicable, must be communicated to the staff.
  9. Machines should be inspected in accordance with federal, state, or provincial regulations and results posted.
  10. Images of patients must be identified properly and filed for easy location and retrieval.
  11. Loaded cassettes, if applicable, should be stored in a manner to protect from unintended exposure.
  12. Radio‐opaque characters must be used to identify the patient's right (R) and left (L) sides.
  13. There must be permanent identification of each image.
  14. All personnel must wear required protective apparel while in the room during exposure, if applicable.
  15. If applicable, proper safelight(s) with lamps of correct wattage should be mounted at the recommended distance from the work areas.


  1. Anesthesia procedures must include the performance of routine pre-anesthetic examination and the exercise of proper safeguards in the selection and use of anesthetics.
  2. Anesthetic agents must be administered by a veterinarian or persons trained in their administrations and then only under the supervision of a veterinarian on the premises.
  3. Some methods of respiratory monitoring must be utilized.
  4. When endotracheal tubes are used, they should remain in place during recovery from anesthesia until appropriate protective reflexes have returned.
  5. All equipment needed for the administration of local and general anesthesia must be readily available and in good repair.
  6. The anesthetic area should have emergency lighting available.
  7. Some means of assisting ventilation must be readily available, either manual or mechanical, during general anesthesia.
  8. The facility should contain a dedicated area for the administration of general anesthesia.
  9. There should be a recovery area outside the operating room, or a recovery room where the patient can be observed closely until appropriate protective reflexes have returned is available.


  1. A routine examination of any animal should include the examination of the teeth, gums, oral cavity, and other structures and tissues associated with the teeth.
  2. Only properly trained personnel should perform dental procedures. Such performance must be in compliance with state or provincial licensing bodies.
  3. Personnel operating dental equipment should wear masks, eye protection, gloves or other protective equipment to prevent nosocomial infection.
  4. The decision to extract teeth must be made by the veterinarian.
  5. Dental prophylaxis must not be done in the operating room except in the case of oral surgery.


  1. All surgery rooms at off-campus clinical sites must emulate contemporary veterinary standards, including the ability to sterilize or appropriately disinfect any equipment or supplies in the surgery room.
  2. All surgeries must be performed by a licensed veterinarian.
  3. Surgical assistants and the surgeon should be properly attired with a cap, mask, sterile gown, and sterile gloves during major surgery.
  4. Surgeons, surgical assistants, and operating room attendants should wear a surgical cap and mask while in the surgical suite and when a sterile field exists therein. All scalp and facial hair should be completely covered by the cap and mask. Operating room attendants should remain outside of the sterile field.
  5. Surgical procedures must adhere to the use of sterilized instruments, gowns, towels, drapes, and gloves as well as clean caps and masks.
  6. A regular maintenance program for autoclaves and other sterilizing equipment should be present.
  7. Surgical packs for major procedures must be steamed or gas sterilized.
  8. Sterile surgical packs must be used for each patient for major surgical procedures.
  9. When gas or steam sterilization procedures are used, sterility indicators must be in evidence on the exterior surface of each unit.
  10. When large surgical bundles are sterilized, monitors should verify the appropriate steam temperature and time used in the center of each pack.
  11. The drapes, laparotomy sheets, towels, gauze sponges, suture materials, and gowns to be sterilized must be properly wrapped.
  12. Surgical packs must be dated with the date on which they were sterilized. If not used within 30 days, packs should be re‐sterilized prior to use.
  13. Single‐use sterile surgical gloves must be used for surgical procedures.
  14. Any cold sterilization chemicals should be changed in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  15. The use of cold sterilization must be limited to those instruments used in minor surgical procedures or those that cannot be steam-sterilized.
  16. Preoperative preparations must be performed outside the operating room. The preparation room should be a separate room convenient to the operating room and well-lit. The surgery room's floors, walls, and countertops should be smooth, impervious material that is easily cleaned.
  17. The operating room should be a separate, closed, single‐purpose room for the performance of only aseptic surgical procedures.
  18. The operating room should be constructed and equipped so that cleanliness can be easily maintained.
  19. If applicable, any laser equipment must be stored and maintained according to federal, state, local, and provincial regulations.
  20. If applicable, all protective gear must be worn when laser equipment is in use according to the manufacturer’s instructions and maintained according to federal, state, local, and provincial regulations.

Nursing care

  1. Nursing care should include the provision of diagnostic, pre‐surgical, surgical, and recovery procedures, as well as custodial care.
  2. All patient care should be provided by the nursing staff under the supervision of a veterinarian.
  3. Assignments should be made so that one person is responsible for the proper observation of each anesthetized patient.
  4. All patients must be positively and properly identified during their hospital stay.
  5. Each administered medication must be entered on the patient’s medical record, showing the date, the name of the drug, type, dose, route of administration, and frequency of administration.
  6. The practice staff must demonstrate and maintain the humane care of animals. The facility must provide for the prevention of animal abuse and neglect of patients.
  7. Nursing personnel should ensure that all animals are individually housed unless otherwise requested by the owner and approved by the veterinarian.
  8. All personnel performing therapeutic bathing and dipping must wear proper protective apparel.
  9. The nursing staff must be familiar with properly handling and disposing of all waste materials and cleaning and disinfection compartments, exercise areas, and runs.

Housekeeping and Maintenance

  1. The facility and staff should present a professional appearance reflective of contemporary veterinary medicine.
    1. Walls
    2. Ceilings
    3. Windows
    4. Floors and carpets
    5. Furniture and draperies
    6. Equipment and appliances
    7. Fixtures, including light and plumbing fixtures
  2. All cleaning supplies must be used in accordance with manufacturers’ instructions and in compliance with federal, state, local, and provincial regulations.
  3. Linens must be stored in such a way as to minimize contamination from surface contact or airborne sources.
  4. Soiled or contaminated linens should be handled in such a way as to prevent cross-contamination of the areas of the hospital.
  5. Faucets and drains should be inspected regularly and maintained in proper working order.
  6. Tanks containing compressed gasses must be stored and securely fastened according to federal, state, and local/provincial regulations.
  7. Compressed gas tank valves, regulators, lines, and washers should be checked periodically for leakage.
  8. Mechanical and electrical systems throughout the hospital should be maintained in accordance with written preventive maintenance programs.
  9. Waste disposal must be carried out in accordance with good public health practice and federal, state, provincial, and local regulations.
  10. Biomedical waste, such as culture plates, tubes, contaminated sponges, swabs, biologicals, blood-borne pathogens, needles, syringes, and blades, must be disposed of according to federal, state, local, and provincial regulations.
  11. Adequate safety precautions must be used for disposing of animal carcasses and tissue specimens; Disposal must be according to federal, state, local, and provincial regulations.
  12. Deceased animals not disposed of within 24 hours should be sealed in heavy plastic bags and refrigerated or frozen.
  13. If an incinerator is used, it must be installed and maintained according to federal, state, local, and provincial regulations.
  14. Grounds surrounding an animal hospital should always be neat, attractive, and in a safe condition.
  15. Rubbish, papers, and fecal material from animals should be picked up from lawns, sidewalks, and parking areas on a daily schedule.
  16. The hospital must be equipped to operate under safe and sanitary conditions.
  17. Waste anesthetic gas systems, ventilation and heating systems, and air conditioning and heating equipment must be installed in accordance with applicable codes and appropriate standards and maintained according to federal, state, local, and provincial regulations.
  18. The ventilation system should ensure a controlled and regularly filtered air supply in critical areas, such as surgical suites, preparation areas, special care units, and ward areas.
  19. Water must be safe for use by employees, patients, and clients in accordance with federal, state, local, and provincial regulations.


  1. Adherence to all OSHA safety regulations must be maintained, and documentation of inspections (self and external) should be readily available.
  2. An appropriate eyewash station must be available, clearly marked, and maintained.
  3. Fire protection/policies and procedures should be inspected yearly, and documentation should be readily available.
  4. Flammable and combustible materials must be stored and secured according to federal, state, local, and provincial regulations.
  5. All Material Safety Data Sheets must be strategically placed throughout the facility and available upon request.
  6. All secondary containers must be labeled appropriately according to federal, state, local, and provincial regulations.
  7. All OSHA ergonomic and noise regulations must be adhered to.
  8. Impervious containers for needles and other sharps must be readily available and disposed of according to federal, state, local, and provincial regulations.
  9. Educational information and warnings must be available to all staff concerning safety and reporting of non‐compliance. 
  10. If utilized, all chemical hoods and ethylene oxide exhaust ventilation must be installed and maintained according to federal, state, local, and provincial regulations.

  1. Review the information above regarding the types of facility approval available to determine which type of approval you will be applying for.
  2. A Practice Owner or Practice Manager must complete the OCCI Site Application Form. If the SJC Student is the Practice Manager, then the Practice Owner or a person with the authority to sign the Student Clinical Experience Agreement must complete the OCCI Site Application Form. The person listed in the OCCI Site Application as the Primary Preceptor must be able to sign the Student Clinical Experience Agreement on behalf of the facility.
  3. Please note that a preceptor must be a doctor of veterinary medicine (licensed DVM or VMD), a credentialed veterinary technician (RVT, LVT, CVT), or a graduate of an AVMA-approved veterinary technology program.
  4. If your preceptor is not the person signing the Student Clinical Experience Agreement, your preceptor must complete an Additional Preceptor Application form.
  5. If there will be more than one preceptor at your facility, the additional preceptors will need to complete the one-page Additional Preceptor Application Form
  6. All veterinary technician applicants will be required to submit a copy of their current state CVT, RVT, or LVT credentials or proof of graduation from an AVMA-approved veterinary technology program.  DVMs are not required to submit copies of their licenses unless requested by the program director.  
  7. Previously approved facilities with a current Student Clinical Experience Agreement need not submit an OCCI Site Application when adding preceptors or students.  If you are unsure whether or not your facility has been previously approved, please call (505) 566-4047 or email with the name and address of the facility.
  8. Proof of Veterinary Technician credentials may be emailed to ,  faxed tp 505-566-3570 or mailed to:
    San Juan College
    Veterinary Technology Program
    4601 College Blvd.
    Farmington, NM  87402
  9. Upon receipt of the OCCI Site Application and proof of technician credentials (if the preceptor is a veterinary technician), the file will be forwarded to the program director for preliminary approval.
  10. Once preliminary approval is obtained, a Student Clinical Experience Agreement will be generated and emailed to the attention of the primary preceptor at the email address on file. The primary preceptor's email address must go directly to the preceptor.  We can no longer use a general facility email address due to FERPA requirements. A status update email will be sent to the primary preceptor and student(s), notifying them that the agreement has been emailed.
  11. The primary preceptor must sign and return the original copy of the agreement by email, along with the requested insurance information.  When the signed agreement is received by the Veterinary Technology Program office, it will be forwarded to our Risk Management department for review and sent to our Dean of Health Sciences for signature. Risk Management will retain an electronic copy and return the original to the facility.
  12. Final approval will be given once the above agreement is signed by both the primary preceptor and the Dean of Health Sciences.  The primary preceptor, students, and program advisor will be notified by email when the contract is fully executed, and the students are cleared for registration into upper-tier courses.
  13. Please note the Student Clinical Experience Agreement expires every four (4) years and must be renewed upon expiration.

Prior to the final approval of an OCCI facility, a Student Clinical Experience Agreement must be signed by the facility and San Juan College.  Upon receipt of the OCCI site application and preliminary approval by the VTDLP program director, a copy of the agreement will be emailed to the primary preceptor listed in the application. The primary preceptor must then sign the agreement and email the original back to the college for signature by the school dean.  Please note that delays in the primary preceptor’s return of the signed agreement will result in the student’s inability to register for needed upper-tier courses.  The primary preceptor is therefore encouraged to review the sample agreement below to ensure that he or she is aware of the terms contained within.

The applications must be completed by an authorized person of the facility applying to act as the primary preceptor for the facility. The form must be completed and submitted online.

Companion animal OCCI sites are required for all students registering for tiers 2-4.  This application should be made early in Tier 1, as only students with an approved OCCI facility will be allowed to register for Tier 2 courses.  Processing time varies but may take up to 90 days, depending on the volume of applications received, scheduled campus closings, and the speed of the facility in providing veterinary technician credential documentation (when applicable) and the signed Student Clinical Experience Agreement.

Companion Animal OCCI Application

Large animal OCCI sites are only required of tier 4 students who elect not to attend the Fast Track Labs in Waco, Texas. This application should be completed when the student is in tier 3 of the program requirements.

Large Animal OCCI Application

Upon submission, an email verifying that the application was received will be sent to the primary preceptor at the email address provided in the application.  

The Role of Preceptors

Students are also required to have one or more preceptors in their practice to guide them through their studies. The preceptor(s) must be a veterinarian or a credentialed veterinary technician.  The preceptor serves as the student's mentor and as an instructor in clinical exercises.

Preceptor Responsibilities

  1. An approved preceptor must monitor all course-required clinical hands-on tasks.
  2. Preceptors are encouraged to obtain feedback from all practice personnel as to the student's progress and performance during the course, but only preceptors should directly monitor and evaluate the required Course Task Checklists in upper-tier classes.
  3. Preceptors are encouraged to monitor the students’ grade books to ensure that the student is on schedule and completing assignments and exams at the required time intervals.
  4. Preceptors are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the course guide, preceptor handbook, and course requirements to prevent any delay in the progress of the student through the course assignments.
  5. Preceptors should maintain the strictest standards of academic honesty and integrity.
  6. Many assignments are based on video or text reading assignments. Preceptors should feel free to assist students in these activities. Preceptors can help clarify the material, answer specific questions, or offer personal insights into the functions of a veterinary practice.
  7. Preceptors should be willing to dedicate the time required to accomplish their responsibilities to help ensure the success of the student. It will usually take two hours per week per class of general clinical time to complete preceptor duties.
  8. Preceptors are encouraged to contact the student’s course instructor if they have any questions or concerns and to facilitate good communication.

Preceptor Requirements

Preceptors must possess one of the following credentials:

  • A DVM/VMD degree from an AVMA-accredited institution
  • Be licensed to practice veterinary medicine in their state
  • Be a graduate of an AVMA/CVTEA accredited program of veterinary technology
  • Be credentialed as an R.V.T or its equivalent
  • All foreign credentials will be considered on a case-by-case basis

In addition to the primary preceptor, facilities may apply to have additional preceptors approved. The requirements for approval as an additional preceptor are the same as those for primary preceptors. A preceptor must be a doctor of veterinary medicine (licensed DVM or VMD), a credentialed veterinary technician (RVT, LVT, CVT, or a graduate of an AVMA-approved veterinary technology program). Furthermore, all veterinary technician applicants will be required to submit a copy of their current state licensure or proof of graduation from an approved veterinary technology program.

There is no limit to the number of qualified applicants that may be approved. It is important to note that facility approval does not extend automatic approval to all DVMs and veterinary technicians at that facility.  Only those DVMs and veterinary technicians who have made applications and been formally approved by the program are allowed to sign off on student course task checklists (CTCs), and only after they have personally observed the student performing the required tasks.

The primary preceptor who submitted the facility OCCI Site Application is not required to complete this form.  Conversely, persons applying to be added to a facility that has been previously approved or is currently in the process of being approved should not submit another facility application form.

Below is the link to the Additional Preceptor Application.

Additional Preceptor Application (PDF) 

A Health Risk and Liability Acknowledgment form must be on file for each student prior to registering for upper-tier courses. The student must sign the form in front of a notary public and have a visible seal or notary stamp for it to be accepted.  The student need only complete this form one time. Students may mail, fax, or email the completed form using the information in the contact form on the right side of this page.

Health Risk Acknowledgment and Release of Liability (PDF)

To inform students of the physical and mental standards required to successfully complete the veterinary technology AAS degree program. Instructions should be reviewed before submitting an application. Click here for complete instructions.


Sherry Hair
Phone: (888) 313-3838

Audrey Hendriks
Phone: (505) 566-3880

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