For the love of dogs or cats, rabbits, and other little critters, becoming a Veterinary Assistant just might be the ticket you’re looking for. Presently there are no formal educational requirements beyond a high school diploma or GED. But considering what a veterinary assistant does, it could be very helpful to get a little knowledge base to work from. If you really want to impress your first employer, having formal training under your belt is a big plus! It could go a long way to building a good referral base as you move up the ladder of the profession.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2012 Veterinary Assistant jobs accounted for about 75,000 jobs in the United States. The field is projected to see a 10% job growth demand (as fast as average) continuing through 2022. The median annual wage earnings showed hovering at about $21,700 a year in 2009. In 2012 that figure had grown to $23,130 or $11.12 per hour.
It’s possible to land a job as a veterinary assistant without any previous experience. But with the job seeker pool being flooded with recent high school grads, it would become a huge advantage to have some level of experience or knowledgeable background in the field when going up against the number of applicants for a single position available.
There are several opportunities to gain such knowledge and experience. Starting with the basics of becoming a veterinary assistant to gaining practical skills and learning about canine reproduction is all available online. Even if you feel like you lack computer skills for the workplace, that can be taken care of as well.
Completing a course on any level as a veterinary assistant is a great way at announcing and establishing your desire to care for animals. Demonstrating your level of competency in the field comes with on the job training. But a great way to get your foot in the door for that first job can be accomplished by instilling confidence in your would-be hire by having some level of educated knowledge. The fact that you took the time and made the effort in taking a veterinary assistant course shows a willingness and desire to learn about the profession.
If you have the physical strength to restrain an animal as needed or handle an animal while moving it around the clinic, you satisfy one of the more important qualities a clinic typically looks for when considering an applicant as a veterinary assistant. Dexterity comes into play when handling animals. But when it comes to handling instruments and laboratory equipment, it is an essential quality as well.
Compassion for both animals and their owners is also a highly sought after quality. A veterinary assistant without compassion would be more of a potential liability than an asset to the clinic. The patients are not only the animal, but the emotionally attached owner as well. And on this note, an effective veterinary assistant is someone who is detailed oriented.
Typically, a veterinary assistant is given instructions that must be strictly followed. Monitoring animals, sterilizing surgical tools, and giving medications are critical steps that any veterinary clinic needs to have effectively and strictly performed.