The Complete Guide
How to Become a Veterinary Assistant
Saving time and money on your certification online
Why We Love Vet Assistants
Have you ever thought about a rewarding career taking care of animals, looking after their health and well-being, but this doesn’t involve the need or expense of going to a school for 8 years?
Vet Assistants can enjoy the benefits of a career in veterinary medicine but become trained and certified in far less time and without the need for prior experience or a college degree.
If you love science and medicine and have a big heart for animals, then keep reading to find out what a career as a Veterinary Assistant offers in 2023!
What do Veterinary Assistants Do?
Veterinary Assistants typically work wherever licensed veterinarians work, assisting them, such as in private practices, hospitals, research labs, and zoos. These professionals are responsible for taking care of technical tasks so the veterinarian can focus on treating patients.
Critical Role In Animal Care
On any given day, a vet assistant may perform a range of tasks such as drawing blood, placing catheters, assisting in surgery, managing anaesthesia and giving medications or emergency first aid. This is only a partial list of what these medical professionals do, and their role is invaluable within the veterinary profession. There is a lot that vet assistants do and it’s all great work, helping animals and keeping them safe.
Let’s take a look at what a vet assistant might do in a private practice setting: When Mrs. Burns comes in with her 12-year-old Boxer Louie, who hasn’t been eating, the VA will take her and Louie into an exam room and begin to record information for the doctor. The tech will ask Mrs. Burns questions about Louie’s behavior and any other recent changes she has noticed regarding his health.
The VA will then weigh Louie and take his temperature and record this information in Louie’s chart. Later, once the vet has examined Louie, the vet assistant will be involved in his treatment plan. For instance, if the vet has recommended x-rays or blood tests, the tech will be involved to implement the plan and administer care. The vet assistant may also be required in preparing any medications the vet has prescribed.
VAs are clearly an important part of the professional veterinary team today, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise to see that the demand for these professionals is increasing! Also, there aren’t many vet techs in the market and the demand is quite high, which gives fully prepared young professionals an advantage.
Top 7 Reasons to Become a Vet Assistant
We present the top 7 reasons you should consider for a career as a VA:
1. No Prior Experience is Needed
The best part is you don’t need any prior experience or degree to start on this journey and begin your certification program – you could start towards a career as a veterinary assistant/tech in just 5 months to two years. This is a very attractive quality of this field, especially for those who cannot afford to invest as much time and funds into starting a position in the field of healthcare.
2. Strong Demand
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that the job market for veterinary technicians will expand at a rate of more than 20% over the decade from 2021 to 2031. This is nearly triple the average for all other occupations! This means certified vet techs may have no trouble finding employment and the job market is going to be very stable with plenty of opportunities.
3. Many Specialty Areas to Choose From
When it comes to certification, there are many specialties you can choose from including clinical practice, clinical pathology, emergency and critical care, equine, zoo, behavioral and many more. You will never run out of great options and work places to start your career.
4. There’s Never a Dull Moment
No two days are ever alike in this field. You will be part of treating a range of animals and a range of injuries using a variety of diagnostic tools. Every day will bring something new and add more to your experience. Plus, it’s treating and looking after animals, and that’s a joy in itself. You also get to see a so many different animals and learn something new about them every day.
5. Varied Responsibilities
If you are someone that likes to stay busy and perform a range of tasks instead of doing the same kind of work every day, then this career may be exactly what you are looking for! Your duties will include everything from preparing animals for surgery, cleaning and organizing surgical tools, collecting samples, running lab tests, taking x-rays, administering anaesthesia, performing dental cleanings, and much, much more! Besides all the responsibilities, you will also love to caress the animals and help them have a restful time during their stay at the hospital.
6. Room for Advancement and Growth
Once you have been certified as a vet tech and have gotten some experience, you may easily transition into a variety of roles within vet pharma sales companies, laboratories, public health organizations, animal production facilities and more. In other words, once on it, your career path becomes wide open. A certification, training and real-world experience can help meet people, hear from them and see many veterinary career opportunities without a lot of investment of your time.
7. You Get to Spend Time with Animals All Day!!!
If you are one of those people that would rather spend time with animals than humans, you get your wish on this job! And the humans you do interact with, such as vets and clients, are also animal lovers, so you are always surrounded by people who share your interests – that’s an added bonus. Also, with animals admitted to the hospitals you get to spend a lot of time with them – a tiny session of animal therapy every day.
How to Get a Veterinary Assistant Certification
Whether you work in a zoo, a private practice or an emergency clinic, employers typically require candidates to hold a Veterinary Assistant certification and demonstrate their abilities to land a job in the field. So a certification may be the best way to get started in this exciting new career.
We recommend you take our certification savings quiz to get started.Take the Quiz! >
5 Things to Look for In A Certification Program
1. Find an online program from a licensed school or accredited university
Without question, gaining the proper education is the most important step you can take toward your new career. In addition to education and training, you’ll also have something great to go on your wall, which you can feel proud of every day.
2. Look for a discount, and a low monthly payment plan
It’s not easy to find discounts and we understand that. We also understand how discounts and savings can be important for learners, and managing families, especially during these tough COVID times. That’s why at OnlineDegree.com, we have made it our mission to help adult learners get huge discounts toward their certification! We aim for the students to focus on their education while we help and connect them with universities that offer affordable programs that lead to rewarding careers.
3. Make sure an externship placement is included
Hands-on experience is what will set you would need to stand out from other candidates in the pool. This will make you more marketable for the best job opportunities.
4. Look for an online, mentor supported course you can take at your own pace
We’re all busy with our daily lives and don’t want to drive to a campus every day. Why not get an education that you can complete online, at your own pace and on your own schedule, all while getting the help and support you need? Sounds great, doesn’t it!
5. Find out if textbooks are included in the cost of the program
Textbooks can be expensive! Make sure to find a program that doesn’t charge extra for books.
6. (Bonus!) Use our free quiz to find a certification program that meets all of these criteria
We’ve done the research for you! Save time by using our healthcare quiz to get matched with the best certification programs. All programs meet these criteria and are chosen for you based on your career goals and life situation.
Vet Assistant Salary Data
How much do VAs make? Here is the salary and growth data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
The median annual wage for veterinary technologists and technicians was $36,850 or $17.72 per hour in 2021. This number can vary depending on the industry you work in. For instance, a vet tech working in junior colleges, universities, and professional schools according to the BLS, earned $46,780 in 2021. Vet techs working in research positions often earn more than in any other field, something to keep in mind.
Veterinary Assistant Job Growth Projections and Forecast
How fast is the vet tech field growing? Employment of veterinary technicians is projected to grow 20% from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations.
This is due in part to the number of households with pets continuing to increase.
According to the BLS, job prospects will be the best for those with certification training. Luckily we can help you find the right program that offers this training with a discount and help kick-start your journey as a vet tech as fast as possible.
How to Find a Job as a Veterinary Assistant
Your first step toward your career as a vet tech is to complete the certification training program through a licensed school or accredited university. Employers consider certifications and you should capitalise on this advantage. This will ensure a solid educational foundation and get you ready to enter the job market.
Next, you’ll want to determine what setting you’d like to work in. You’ll have your choice of settings such as:
Private Practice – This is the most common setting for vet techs to work in and there appear to be no shortages of job opportunities here in the foreseeable future.
Emergency Animal Hospital – If you don’t mind working irregular hours, typically on nights and weekends when regular vet offices aren’t open, there are plenty of jobs to be found in an animal ER hospital.
Research Labs – Animals that are used for research purposes require vet techs to ensure they are properly and humanely cared for.
Animal Shelters – Animal shelters care for hundreds if not thousands of animals each year. Vet techs are needed to help deal with a variety of medical issues.
Zoos – If you love the idea of helping to take care of exotic animals from around the world, then you may want to go for a position at a zoo.
Once you’ve determined your preferred work setting, your next step should be to gain some critical hands-on experience before starting your job search. A real-world practice of skills and training makes people better competent at their jobs as well as more valuable than those without any experience in the eyes of the employer. The good news is a quality certification program will include an externship so you can gain some hands-on experience!
Frequently Asked Questions
Additional questions and answers you may have about Veterinary Assistants.
Q: What Does a Veterinary Assistant Do Every Day?
A: VAs perform a variety of tasks including:
- Assist veterinarians
- Monitor vital signs
- Take x-rays
- Prepare animals for surgery
- Perform dental procedures
- Emergency first aid
- Restrain animals during exams
- Administer anesthesia
- Administer medications and vaccines
- Obtain blood, stool, and other samples
- Test blood, stool, and other samples
Q: What is a Veterinary Assistant Certification?
A: A vet assistant Certification is a valuable asset to have as it shows prospective employers that you have taken the time to learn the fundamentals. This certification will help you stand apart from the crowd and hopefully get your resume to the top of the pile!
Q: What Skills Will I Learn in Veterinary Assistant Training?
A: When you pursue certification in this field you will focus on laboratory and clinical work with live animals and also learn medical terminology, anatomy and much more!
Q: What Are the Prerequisites for Enrollment in a Veterinary Assistant Certificate Program?
A: The only requirement for enrollment in these programs is a high school diploma or equivalent.
How to Start Towards a Vet Assistant Career In 5 Months
Even if you don’t have any prior experience or degree – you could start towards a career as a vet tech in just 5 months! That’s one of the greatest advantages of this profession.
So here’s what we recommend you do to get started: Take this quiz to see if you qualify for an online certification program.
A veterinary technician certification is required or preferred by most employers. Plus, taking a certification program could be the best way to get your foot in the door, build your network, get training you need, and work experience.
Take this quiz to see if you qualify for:
- 10% Off A Certification Program
- An Externship For Real Work Experience
- Affordable Program and Low Monthly Payments
- A FREE Laptop To Take The Course If You Don’t Have One
- No Extra Cost For Textbooks – All Included and Shipped To Your Door
- Online, Mentor Supported Courses You Can Take 24/7 At Your Own Pace
If you are ready to get started on an exciting and rewarding career taking care of animals, then take this short quiz to get started toward your dream!