What does a Veterinary Assistant do?
Veterinary Assistants work at animal hospitals and veterinary clinics to support supervising veterinary staff as they administer care to animals. Their role is to assist in providing high-quality care for animals and making sure they are comfortable and safe. They perform a combination of hands-on care and administrative tasks to make sure that the Vet can work in a sterile, clean environment and easily access accurate records about the animals in their care. Veterinary Assistants monitor the condition of animals and accompany them to various tests, following direct instructions from their supervisor about how they can facilitate a procedure.
Veterinary Assistant skills and qualifications
A Veterinary Assistant uses various soft skills and technical abilities to care for animal patients and educate their owners, including:
- Effective communication skills, including writing, speaking and active listening
- Excellent customer service and interpersonal skills
- Ability to collaborate with Veterinarians, Veterinary Technicians and animal owners
- Advanced time management and organization skills
- Critical thinking and data analysis
- Problem-solving and decision-making
- Dexterity, physical strength and stamina
- Compassion and empathy for both animals and pet owners
- Passion for animals
Veterinary Assistant salary expectations
A Veterinary Assistant makes an average of $13.16 per hour. Pay rate depends on level of education, experience and geographical location.
Veterinary Assistant education and training requirements
A minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent and specialized training is often required to become a Veterinary Assistant. Some Veterinary Assistants may become certified or complete a certification course at a technical school. Certifications are available through the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA). Veterinary Assistants who want to work with animals in a laboratory setting can earn three levels of certification through the American Association for Laboratory Science (AALS). Other Veterinary Assistants may complete on-the-job training, learning from other Veterinary Assistants and the Veterinarian. Some roles may require certification upon being hired.
Veterinary Assistant experience requirements
Entry-level candidates may have gained some practical experience during their technical education or certification training. Other candidates may have served in administrative support roles in an animal care setting. Other relevant previous experiences may include Dog Walker, Pet Sitter or customer service in a pet store. Candidates willing to train within can learn the requirements of the office and match their skills to the needs of the Veterinarian.
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