Once you have become a certified veterinary assistant, you may find it difficult getting into your desired job because of the required hours and experience a potential employer may be looking for. Your externship during the certification process may or may not have provided enough time for the “experience” some employers are seeking. If this is the case, volunteering is always welcomed within the veterinary community. Volunteer positions can prove to be very enjoyable and rewarding. These opportunities will also prove to potential employers your passion and devotion to the veterinary community.
Hospitals and clinics may be difficult to volunteer at, due to liability concerns, but are not the only locations available. Some wonderful opportunities can be found within your local Human Society or shelter. Volunteer positions could include nursery caregiver during the kitten season, general caregiver, dog walker, adoptions, foster caregivers, cat socializing, critter care, shelter surgery support, veterinary clinic support, and more. Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association (HSVMA) also has opportunities that can help an entire community, like Pet For Life, serving under-served communities.
Many zoos have volunteer positions needed all around the park. Animal and breed specific rescues are also another avenue that are constantly in need of help in all areas. Some smaller rescues may need unconventional help, such as website design or social media assistance to help advertise available animals, and fundraising. Although you may not be performing your standard veterinary assistant duties, this type of volunteer work still provides potential employers with positive insight into your dedication to the animal industry.
For something totally out of the ordinary, you could also travel abroad and volunteer. Rescuing dogs in Sri Lanka, helping wild animals in Thailand, conservation with big game animals in South Africa, so many opportunities are available and need help of volunteers to continue their very important missions.
For more experience (and hours), you sometimes must think outside the box. You may have a skill that doesn’t exactly pertain to the responsibilities of a veterinary assistant, but it could still be extremely useful in the field. There are plenty of opportunities for people to still contribute to the world of animals that make an impact. Discover what other skills you have and research the possibilities of applying those skills to gain more experience.