Find veterinary assistant schools below to get started. Do you have a genuine love for all types of animals? Do you consider yourself to not be a squeamish individual? Then perhaps you should consider becoming a veterinary assistant. If you haven't ever truly considered this as a possible career for you, then you have come to the right place to learn all about this career path. First of all, you will probably want to begin by earning your degree as a veterinary technician or veterinary assistant. This is a two year program that is offered at most community colleges or vocational schools.
In addition, you may want to consider taking courses in animal handling procedures, treatment techniques, medical procedures, pharmacology, and business transactions. A course in billing and collecting will also be an added benefit to your resume. Although certification is not required by many employers, it will definitely help you start out at a higher rate of pay. Furthermore, a degree will also open up more employment opportunities. Keep in mind, your level of certification may influence your responsibilities once on the job. However, generally your responsibilities will be greater in a small clinic setting as opposed to larger vet hospitals, which are likely to limit your job duties. If you are employed by a smaller animal clinic you are likely to get more on the job practice, which could also be an appealing addition to your resume.
In your new job as a veterinary assistant, you may find yourself handling animal type tasks as well as managerial type tasks. For instance, as a veterinary assistant you will likely be in charge of all record keeping and invoicing. You will probably also be in charge of cleaning the exam rooms in between animal visits, as well as preparing necessary equipment and administering medications. It will be extremely important that you are comfortable around all sorts of animals. This will include, but not be limited to, exotic animals, animals that have been seriously injured, scared animals, or aggressive animals. It will also require you to work with animals of varying sizes.
As a veterinary assistant, you will be working side by side with the primary vet. You will likely be aiding the vet during clinic visits, asking general questions of the pet's owner, recording basic information in the pet's file, and taking the animal's vital information (such as temperature and pulse). It will be important that you can be patient with the animals that visit your employer's clinic. Remember, these pets are a part of someone's family, so it will be extremely important that you can exercise good bedside manner with them no matter the situation.
With your successful completion of a veterinary assistant degree, you could also decide to pursue a career as a veterinary technologist, laboratory animal health technician, or small animal laboratory supervisor. As a laboratory supervisor, you will need at least five years field experience and will also need to be certified by the American Association for Laboratory for Animal Sciences. If you decide to become a laboratory animal health technician you will likely spend your days acquiring test data from research and experiments. You will also be responsible for daily observations of the animals to monitor their health status. If you need that veterinary assistant college to get started then find everything you need below.
Your training as a veterinary assistant is exciting and you’ll cover so many different areas. Below are just some of the things you’ll learn about.
Laboratory Specimens – Lab work is one of the main roles for a veterinary assistant. They will be responsible for running tests, gathering samples and making sure things are done timely for the veterinarian.
Sterilization of Equipment – as a vet tech you’ll be responsible for cleaning examination rooms as well as the operation room and its equipment. Keeping things clean will cut down on any diseases or virus so they don’t spread to other animals.
Medical Records – Some veterinary assistants also work in the front office. There you’ll help with pet records but also can assist with booking appointments and working with insurance companies.
Assistant Surgical Procedures – You’ll help the doctor with surgical procedures as well as routine examinations. This can also include post-surgical care. When a pet is released the veterinary assistant typically is the one who goes over how to care for the pet at home as well as go over any medications they need to take.
Blood Work – Just like with humans pets need their blood drawn in order to run tests. You’ll learn how to do this on many different types of animals.
Teeth Cleaning – You’ll assist in the cleaning of teeth on animals. Sometimes you’ll just need to do a light cleaning where other times you’ll need to actually put the animal under in order to perform more advanced cleaning. You can also be taught how to teach clients how to properly brush their pets teeth.
Where Veterinary Assistants Work
- Hospitals and Vet Clinics
- Animal Shelters
- Distribution and Pharmaceutical Facilities
Finding a program has never been easier but you might need to be flexible when looking for either a campus based or online training program. If no schools in your area offer a veterinary assistant program then taking the program online still allows you to take a quality program that can be done at home. Here are some of the top things to look for in a school.
1. Job Placement – No school can ever promise you a job after graduation but many of them have great career services departments where they will help you with your resume and even supply job leads.
2. Costs – Not only is the overall cost of the program something that needs researched but also how you can pay for the overall tuition. Many schools have payment plans, some as low as $50 per month. Some of the larger programs might even offer Financial Aid.
3. Faculty – Who is teaching you is just as important as what they are covering. Take your time after you request information and look up the instructors to see their background. When you talk to your admissions representative they can supply you with this information. Most instructors will be VMD’s and trained in Veterinary Medicine.
Veterinary Assistant Resources:
National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America
Association of Veterinary Technician Educators
American Association of Equine Veterinary Technicians & Assistants