Veterinary assistants are the right hand employee to both the vet tech and veterinarian. You’ll work in animal hospitals and clinics alongside veterinarians, vet technicians, and vet technologists as support and care staff. You face a higher than average risk for animal attacks, but you’re okay with that because of how much you love those furry creatures.
What vet assistants do
Must love dogs. And cats. And small cage animals. Because you’re a big part of the veterinarian team, your duties will involve taking care of fuzzy friends and their humans.
What veterinarian assistants do:
- Hands-on animal care: feeding, bathing, walking
- Take care of the cages and examination rooms
- Hold and calm animals before, during, and after exams and procedures
- Make sure equipment is sterilized
- Help take blood, stool, and other samples for check ups and exams
- Give meds and immunizations to the animal
- Assist during procedures and surgeries depending on the veterinarian
- Handle some ugly situations including animal abuse and death
Become a veterinary assistant
If you have strong listening and critical thinking skills, along with a strong desire to help people, then you may make a great veterinary assistant. To become one, you must:
- Have a high school diploma or equivalent
- Find a veterinarian clinic that will train you on the job
- Go through a certificate program at a trade school or community college
- Do an internship or volunteer to help at a shelter or clinic
- Get a job
- Consider going back to school for your two-year vet technician associate’s degree or a four-year bachelor’s degree to become a vet technologist
How much will I make?
“The median annual wage for veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers was $26,140 in May 2017. … The lowest 10 percent earned less than $19,110, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $38,300”
Will I be able to find a job?
A massive employment outlook is projected through 2026, with an additional 16,300 jobs needing to be filled. Pet parents are spending more on keeping their animals healthy, so vet clinics and hospitals are busy places. This means there is a growing need for support staff such as veterinarian assistants. Also, because there is huge turnover rate, many positions will be open.