What is the job of a veterinary assistant like? As with many other positions, the details depend on where the individual works. Depending on the place of employment, one job may involve tasks or even a primary focus that another job lacks entirely. For example, in a vet’s office, an assistant might be responsible for sterilizing surgical equipment, whereas in a kennel, this role doesn’t even exist. Details of the position differ from place to place. One reward of working as a veterinary assistant applies to the position regardless of the place of work—being around animals. In general, one could expect the job to involve some of the following tasks and benefits:
Animal jobs as an assistant at a veterinarian’s office or other location generally involve helping with daily tasks. This might include assisting clients, processing payments, answering the phone, and scheduling appointments. An assistant may also help the veterinary technicians by sterilizing surgical equipment, feeding and caring for animals, or cleaning exam rooms. Assistants may do hands-on tasks, such as bathing animals and trimming nails. In places like a boarding kennel, assistants may walk dogs, feed them, and perform general cleaning. Veterinary assistant schools teach these and other skills, as well as general background about animal behavior and needs.
Many vet assistants work part-time and are paid hourly. A veterinary assistant employed full-time will receive benefits of health insurance, vacation pay, and sometimes a 401(k). As with other lines of work, part-time positions in this field do not typically include benefits. Individuals who have received certification from a veterinary assistant school may be qualified at higher salary scales depending on the place of employment.
Place of Work
Veterinary assistants usually work at clinics and animal hospitals, but can also find jobs at an animal rescue shelter, kennel, or pet store. Location affects pay—work in cities tends to pay more than rural areas, and a large office with many veterinarians and clients is likely to offer higher pay than a small office.
Each year, more people become pet owners and need to find preventive care for their pets. For this reason, demand for vet assistants has been steadily increasing for years. In fact, the United States Department of Labor predicts faster than average growth for veterinary assistant positions through 2016. For individuals who love animals and want to work in a growing field, a vet assistant job may be an excellent choice.