So You Wanna Be a ...

Veterinary Assistant

(aka: Veterinary Nurse, Veterinary Technician)

Animal lovers won't find a more enjoyable work setting than a veterinarian's office, but dissuade yourself of any notion that you'll be playing fetch with a slow loris all day. Pet owners who bring in their injured animals are often a nervous wreck, and veterinarians and their staff must offer responsible medical care underscored by compassion and empathy. Veterinary Assistants assist vets with animal examinations, treatments, and surgical procedures, and are responsible for keeping the space clean and sanitary.

Show me schools in my area!

What do Veterinary Assistants do?

  • Assist veterinarians during examinations and procedures. Animals often don't want to be in a doctor's office any more than we do, and occasionally need to be restrained or moved while an examination or surgical procedure is being conducted.
  • Clean, sterilize, and organize the veterinary facility. Cleanliness is just as important to maintaining a sanitary setting in the veterinary setting as it is in a traditional hospital. Veterinary assistants clean cages, sweep surfaces, and sterilize tools to reduce the risk of cross-contamination.
  • Monitoring and caring for animals after medical treatment. Animals need to be monitored closely for adverse reactions or infection following surgeries, especially since they're unable to verbally communicate symptoms as humans are.
  • Communicate with pet owners regarding routine questions about at-home monitoring and treatment. Veterinary assistants must possess a compassionate but professional 'bedside manner' in communicating with owners, both when animals are brought in for treatment, and for any routine follow-up questions of a nature they're qualified to answer.

How much do Veterinary Assistants make?

In 2012, the median annual salary was $23,100, with the top 10% of veterinary assistants earning more than $35,500.

How do I become a Veterinary Assistant?

Education Requirements. Most entry-level veterinary assistants possess a high school education, and receive the bulk of their training on-the-job. Various certifications are available (though typically not required for employment) that may accelerate an assistant's learning curve, exposre him/her to a wider range of situations, or provide additional opportunity for career advancement.

Find a program in your area. Use the CampusExplorer search tool below to find a program at a school near you or online.

Dream of a career as a Veterinary Assistant?

Find schools and get info on the program that's right for YOU!

Powered by Campus Explorer

Where can I read more about working as a Veterinary Assistant?

Below are Jobstr's hand-selected recommendations from