There’s nothing more comforting to a pet owner than a veterinary staff that treats their animals with compassion and respect. Skilled veterinary assistants help form a priceless bond between the humans and the animals involved in veterinary care.
What’s more, the American Veterinary Medicine Association reports that veterinary visits decline considerably during the holidays, only to spike again after New Year’s as pet owners attend to their animals’ needs.
If you love animals and your New Year’s plans include exploring new career options, this may be a perfect time to study for your veterinary assistant certificate.
What are a veterinary assistant’s duties?
Veterinary assistants are responsible to see that the veterinary facility runs smoothly. They handle many of the logistical and operating duties that can make a visit to the veterinarian a little more pleasant.
Veterinary assistants may groom, bathe and feed animals. They may make sure the animal cages, exam rooms and treatment areas are clean and disinfected.
They also oversee the veterinarian’s equipment and surgical instruments. For example, veterinary assistants often maintain the inventory of medical supplies, stock the supply closets or shelves and ensure supplies are available for procedures and surgeries.
Veterinary assistants also take part in aspects of treatment or surgery like preparing and monitoring patients or helping restrain animals during procedures. They may also administer medications to patients.
Difference between veterinary assistant and veterinary tech
While veterinary assistants and veterinary techs have similar titles and usually work together, their responsibilities are quite different.
Where veterinary assistants are mainly responsible for the smooth running of a veterinarian’s facility, veterinary techs are qualified to perform more hands-on clinical procedures. Their tasks can be more advanced and may include diagnosis and treatment of patients.
Working under the veterinarian’s supervision, they may take medical histories, administer anesthesia or provide emergency first aid.
Education requirements for the two jobs differ as well. Due to their more advanced tasks, veterinary techs generally need to complete a 2 or 4 year college degree program. Veterinary assistants often complete certificate programs that prepare them to work with animals much sooner and at less cost.
How much do veterinary assistants make?
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists veterinary assistant among its most promising jobs. The BLS reports average wages for veterinary assistants at $27, 540 per year, or around $13.24 per hour.
Top veterinary assistants can make around $39,000 per year, with specialized lab-based animal caretakers making well over $40,000.
In addition, the BLS expects veterinary assistant job openings to increase at a rate of 19 percent per year for the next decade. This rate of growth is much faster than average for overall employment.
How to become a veterinary assistant
Most veterinary assistants are drawn to the profession because they love animals. In fact, many have experience with animals at their homes or farms, or in other settings where they care for and help raise animals.
Most veterinary assistant jobs require a high school diploma or GED, some formal training or certification and experience with animals. The best way to achieve that formal training and experience may be to enroll in a veterinary assistant training program.
Veterinary assistants need to be prepared in three areas:
1. Animal care
A solid study course will help prepare future veterinary assistants in animal anatomy and physiology. More so, it will also help you learn about animal care procedures such as animal restraint, lab samples, surgery and dentistry, prescriptions radiography.
2. Human communication and compassion
A high-quality veterinary assistant course will help you supplement your natural love for animals with training. So, you’ll need to develop your communication skills, detail orientation, and dexterity.
3. Veterinary office operations
Finally, to be ready to work with both animal and human clients and patients, the best veterinary assistant courses will help you learn to balance compassion with professionalism as you interact with animals and people.
Start your veterinary assistant training today!
Click the link below to learn more about our veterinary assistant program that covers all of the items above. It even includes an Externship Starter Kit to help you get experience in the marketplace right away.