Becoming a Certified Vet Assistant Has Its Benefits
High school graduation season has come to a close, and many new grads are thinking about what is next. Additionally, those already in the workforce are looking to make a career change that is a little more in line with their passions. For the animal lovers among both groups, a career helping animals is probably on their minds.
Animal medicine is a popular choice because it provides the ability to assist in the well-being of animals of various species. Whether you’re a new graduate or someone looking to make a career change, getting certified as a veterinary assistant is the perfect first step toward a rewarding career in the veterinary field.
Why start as a veterinary assistant?
As an entry-level position, becoming a certified veterinary assistant takes less time than other roles in the veterinary field. Yet, vet assistants have a variety of job responsibilities. Working as a vet assistant could help you decide which aspect of animal medicine you’d like to focus on pursuing. The job duties of a veterinary assistant include, but are not limited to:
- Administrative work: Checking patients in and out, filing paperwork, taking calls and scheduling appointments.
- Animal handling: Restraining and calming animals during appointments, basic grooming (i.e. nail trimming, ear cleaning), administering oral medicines, caring for in-house patients (i.e. exercising, feeding, etc.) and assessing changes in animal health status.
- Prep and cleanup: Sanitizing checkup rooms and making sure they’re fully stocked, preparing and sterilizing surgical tools, and maintaining holding areas for in-house patients and ensuring they’re clean and disinfected.
Getting a chance to work in several different areas of the veterinary office is the best way to decide what you enjoy most and what career in animal medicine or animal care you should pursue. Do you want to become a lab technician, veterinary technician or veterinarian? Working as a veterinary assistant will help you choose a specific path, so you can work toward those goals while also getting valuable in-clinic experience that is important to any career in the veterinary field.
This experience is especially vital to those hoping to become a veterinarian and get their doctorate in animal medicine. Not only will working and learning in a clinic early on give you a leg up in veterinary school with medical terminology, but it will also give you real world context for what is being taught in class. As a bonus to all this invaluable experience, you will be making money while pursuing your degree, helping aid in school costs and living expenses.
Why you should become certified
There are many reasons why seeking a veterinary assistant certification is important. The knowledge and experience you gain is going to prepare you for almost any animal job environment you find yourself working in. Whether it’s in an animal shelter, a private clinic or an emergency animal hospital, you’ll be able to quickly acclimate to the job.
Get your foot in the door
Being certified as a veterinary assistant is also a great way to get your foot in the door. Working with animals is a popular career choice, so there is a bit of competition when it comes to applying for animal jobs. Having a certification can give you the proof you need to show that you are experienced and won’t need intensive training to function at your job. Employers are more likely to welcome your knowledge of animal behavior and medical terminology, and won’t have to worry so much about teaching you everything.
Flexible online programs
Acquiring certification is more accessible than ever before with the availability of online veterinary assistant programs. These types of programs allow you to take classes and study around your schedule. Online classes are mostly self-paced too, allowing you to take the time you need to complete the course. You will take classes online and also get real world experience through externship hours in an animal hospital setting.
Enjoy a rewarding career with animals
Becoming a veterinary assistant is a start to a rewarding career working with animals. The benefits are endless, regardless if you stay an assistant or plan on pursuing a clinical degree, as you’re working for the ultimate goal of healing our animal friends. Whether this is your first career choice, or you’re making a drastic change, it is bound to be a career you can be proud of.