Choosing a fulfilling career path involves matching your particular interests and natural affinities with an occupation that values those qualities. If you are looking for a career that requires both a friendly, calming, dependable nature and a certain measure of physical endurance then becoming a veterinary assistant might be a good fit for you, especially if you have a passion for animals.
Despite what the job title might lead you to believe, becoming a veterinary assistant does not limit you to working solely in a veterinary clinic. Someone with a veterinary assistant certificate may find employment in animal shelters, zoos, universities, or any other facility that works with animals. All of these places value employees with an animal science background.
A Veterinary Assistant Wears Many Hats
A veterinary assistant learns multiple aspects of the field. From administrative tasks to medical duties, the job demands a varying skill set. Veterinary assistants must learn the clerical side of their facility, but they also support the veterinarians and veterinary technicians in their work with their animal patients.
Veterinary assistants become adept at calming and restraining anxious animals in an unfamiliar setting. They clean and sanitize examination rooms and surgical areas. Among other tasks, veterinary assistants prepare prescriptions, monitor vital signs, and assist with pre-operative care and post-operative care.
For a Veterinary Assistant, No Two Days Are Alike!
For many facilities, a veterinary assistant is the person who answers the phone and who greets
patients and their humans at the door. Obviously a friendly manner is important, but a calm steady demeanor and compassion are vital. You never know what need you might be called to fulfill.
You will assist people running the gamut of emotions. On any given day you might gush over someone’s new kitten or comfort someone saying goodbye to a beloved old friend. You may have to assist an owner in restraining an animal over-stimulated by a strange environment full of unfamiliar smells. And yes, you might have to learn how to safely handle something unfamiliar yourself, like a pet skunk!
The Journey to Becoming a Veterinary Assistant
The decision to become a veterinary assistant means that you will enter a steady job market. Similar to the medical field for humans, there is always a need for veterinary care, and veterinary assistants are invaluable. The path to a veterinary assistant certificate, however, does not require years of study. The ability to take a course of study online means that you can receive certification and be employed in a matter of a 12 months or less.
A veterinary assistant can expect a reasonably good starting salary at around $27,000. Should you desire, there are further certifications in the veterinary field that can boost your pay scale and add to your skills.
If this career has peaked your interest, explore our NAVTA- (National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America) approved veterinary assistant program.