Veterinary Assistant Job Profile

A veterinary assistant job involves working closely with animals. Veterinary assistant job seekers should be able to take care of animals while remaining gentle. Depending on the type of job and the size of the animals, some veterinary assistant positions may require a great deal of physical strength. The difference between a veterinary assistant job can be slight in some cases. Veterinary assistants generally have less training and education than veterinary technicians and are not required to perform technical or laboratory duties like blood testing and other responsibilities shared by veterinarians and veterinary technicians. Advancement in this career path requires education. Prepare early on for education veterinary science by working the type of animal you are planning to study. For instance, a career as a small animal veterinarian could begin as a small animal veterinary assistant.

Veterinary Assistant Job Description

Veterinary assistants are responsible for maintaining the health of animals in a given facility by taking care of their food and water, cleaning the animals and their lodging areas and giving them any prescribed medications, among other general duties. Veterinary assistants work closely with veterinarians and animals trainers on protecting and monitoring the physical, mental and social health of the animals being overseen.

Types of Veterinary Assistant Jobs

Veterinary assistants work in different settings, from petting zoos to scientific laboratories. Veterinary assistants may work with large or small animals. Examples of typical work environments include veterinary offices, animal training facilities, zoos, animal hospitals, petting zoos and farms. Specific duties depend on the work environment.

Veterinary Assistant Education

Veterinary assistant jobs require at least a high school diploma or GED. Some employers may require a two- or four-year degree or equivalent education and experience, but this is not usually the case. Veterinary assistants should have a good working knowledge of caring for animals, as well as the way they behave. Since veterinary assistants often spend more direct time with the animals during the day than their superiors, they should be familiar enough with animals to notice any behavioral irregularities. Strange or atypical behavior in an animal can indicate a health problem.

Veterinary Assistant Salary

Veterinary assistants may earn anywhere from about $25,000 to $30,000 per year, depending on education and experience. This career field generally as a good employment outlook. Veterinary assistants generally make about the same salary as veterinary technicians.

Career Path Options

Veterinary assistants, with further training, may become veterinary technicians. Pursuing the career choice and educational commitment required for veterinary technician positions, while not necessarily making a financial difference immediately, may prepare the ambitious veterinary assistant to pursue further study as a veterinarian. Veterinarians choose an area of specialization during their professional studies, preparing them to work with specific types of animals.

Professional Studies

Veterinary assistants who plan to advance to graduate study in veterinary science should start specialization early in their careers, if possible, to facilitate focused graduate study. Veterinarians need to have a solid foundation in the sciences, which should be taken into consideration when choosing an undergraduate major. If a pre-veterinary focus is unavailable, consider a life science like biology.