How many years does it take to become a veterinary assistant?
Unlike becoming a veterinary technician, which requires a two-year associate's degree or a four-year Bachelor’s degree in veterinary technology, earning a veterinary assistant certificate takes as little as 10 to 14 months. In fact ABC’s veterinary assistant program combines the best of all worlds, with a self-paced online component, and a hands-on externship in the field. With the online program, the length of time can vary from student to student, depending on the amount of time that can be dedicated to coursework. Self-motivated students who follow the exam schedule should be able to complete the certification process in twelve months.
What qualifications do I need to be a veterinary assistant?
No state or national requirements or licensing programs exist for veterinary assistants, but a high school diploma or equivalency is necessary. Earning a veterinary assistant certificate helps make you more marketable and provides a solid foundation of knowledge, skills and hands-on experience and contacts at the hospital you apprentice in. Love of all kinds of animals is important, but vet assistants must have good communication skills and be able to compassionately work with people under stressful conditions. A lot of a vet assistant’s tasks revolve around animal care, such as feeding, taking lab samples, bathing, and sterilizing exam rooms. There may also be front office requirements like filing paperwork and making appointments, so good organizational skills and attention to detail are helpful qualities for a veterinary assistant.
Do veterinary assistants need a degree?
No, but the better prepared you are, the greater the chances of your success in this field. Because a degree isn’t required some people wonder whether they can simply walk into a veterinary hospital with little or no experience and apply for a veterinary assistant job! While there is nothing to prevent you from trying, applicants will be far better qualified if they have a working knowledge of such things as hospital procedures, animal restraint, pharmacy & pharmacology, surgical preparation, small animal nursing, laboratory procedures, radiology & ultrasound imaging and more.
Can a vet assistant become a vet tech?
Absolutely! Being a veterinary assistant is a great introduction to the veterinary world, allowing you to see what it’s like to work in a veterinary clinic, research lab, or other workplace involving caring for animals. Vet assistants work closely with animals, performing tasks such as feeding, calming or restraining, exercising, bathing, or caring for them after surgery. Properly educated and experienced veterinary assistants understand such topics as animal restraint, pharmacy & pharmacology, surgical preparation, small animal nursing, laboratory procedures, radiology & ultrasound imaging and more Veterinary technicians, however, function more like nurses, performing medically-related tasks under a veterinarian’s supervision. Veterinary assistants who want to become veterinary technicians must be prepared for a rigorous education; which is why having the foundation understanding mentioned above can help. Veterinary technicians have to complete a two- or four-year degree and pass a credentialing exam.
Can I become a vet assistant online?
Yes, although a simple online program with no hands-on experience will probably not be the best choice you can make. There are really 3 components you need to look at when considering a veterinary assistant program. 1) Academic foundation. Does the program thoroughly cover the topics relevant to being a veterinary assistant? These should include animal restraint, pharmacy & pharmacology, surgical preparation, small animal nursing, laboratory procedures, radiology & ultrasound imaging and more 2) Experience. OK, you have a theoretical understanding of the aforementioned topics. That’s a start. What about seeing these topics performed in a working veterinary hospital, clinic or laboratory? This is where strict online programs fall short and why programs that offer some hands-on experience should be considered. 3) Networking. Taking an online program without actually interacting with a meeting working veterinarians and veterinary team members in a working hospital means you don’t have the same opportunities to make these connections before applying for a job there. None of this means you can’t become a veterinary assistant by taking an online course, just that it might not be the best choice to set you on the path to success in this field.
Can I become a vet assistant without college?
Yes, there is no degree required to be a veterinary assistant so no college is required. The question to ask yourself if whether you can become a veterinary assistant without attending a veterinary assistant program. The answer to this question is also yes, but the path to doing so might be much harder and it might take you longer to really be successful. Generally veterinary hospitals will first look to hire experienced veterinary assistants. If none are available, they will look to hire applicants with a certification from a veterinary assistant school. Schools approved by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians (NAVTA) are often respected and/or recognized by veterinary hospitals and clinics. Hospitals usually prefer graduates from a veterinary assistant program over those with no experience and without the academic foundation in veterinary science.