What are veterinary assistants?
Veterinary assistants are the right hand (wo)man 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 do they 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
How do I become one?
Find: veterinarian assistant program. 🙂
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?
Two out of every five veterinary assistants work full time, which makes it a perfect job for a student. You may also be required to work nights, weekends, and holidays. The median annual salary for vet assistants is a little over $25K, and those in the top 10 percent earn close to $38K. Entry-level salary is a bit over $18K but will go up as you gain experience. Vet assistants in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Jersey, and Rhode Island enjoy a higher than average median salary.
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.