Our pets and other animals around us form one of the most important parts of our environment. Taking care of these animals is as much a responsibility of ours as taking care of the environment is. The folks who dedicate their lives to helping animals overcome illnesses are veterinarians or vets for short. Vets are assisted in their daily routine by veterinary assistants, who perform a large number of tasks every day.
While vets are mainly involved in surgeries and other complicated procedures for animals, veterinary assistants are involved hands on in the care of animals at every stage. From checking in pets and other injured animals to calming them down, taking care of their basic needs, and preparing them for treatment, veterinary assistants form the very backbone of the pet healthcare system.
Career as a Veterinary Assistant:
If you enjoy the company of animals, a career as a veterinary assistant is something you should seriously look into. People who love animals, have empathy for their pain, and work well with them are the perfect choice for this job.
It is important to add that when injured, animals are agitated and upset, and need an emotionally strong and calming presence. Most of the work in this sector is done directly at private animal care clinics and hospitals. A limited amount of opportunities are available at universities, zoos and other public attractions, and research facilities.
Becoming a Veterinary Assistant:
The minimum requirement in order to become a veterinary assistant is a high school diploma or equivalent. Beyond that, requirements may vary from state to state, and some facilities may require additional training or experience. Both the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) and the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) offer training courses. Upon successful completion, applicants are required to take an exam before being awarded the Approved Veterinary Assistant (AVA) or other related designation. Additional training and experience are usually gained through on the job training with a veterinary care service provider. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a growth of around 9 percent in the demand for qualified veterinary services specialists over the next 8 years; ensuring job security and future growth prospects for those who join this highly rewarding field.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average veterinary salary is expected to increase as the number of pet owners grows. A veterinarian salary on average stands at $88,490 per year with the lower end at $53,210 per year and top vets earning around $158,000 annually. On the other hand, a vet assistant salary generally depends on their area of expertise and the size of the animal health care provider they work with.
Vet assistants who specialize in trauma support, animal husbandry, health and welfare, and general administration may be paid higher than their counterparts. The Bureau of Labor Statistics currently places the average veterinary salary at $24,360 per year. New entrants in the field may be paid around $18,000 annually, while the yearly wage for more experience veterinary assistants exceeds $36,000.