In the USA, the average veterinary assistant makes more than $30,000 per year. That’s a good salary for a position that doesn’t require a postgraduate degree.
Working as a vet assistant can be rewarding, both financially and spiritually. But many people aren’t sure how to break into this wonderful career. They may not know about the education or experience requirements, or perhaps they aren’t sure about the details of the job role.
Want to learn more about the job and how you can get in on the action? We aim to please. Read on for some handy tips!
Understand the Role of Veterinary Assistant
Before diving into the role of vet assistant, it’s important to understand what the role entails. You need to know what you’d be doing day to day, and how the job differs from others in the veterinary industry.
Firstly, you ought to know the difference between a vet assistant and a vet tech.
Vet assistants provide basic but vital pet care, such as feeding, and changing bandages, while vet techs take part in more advanced procedures, like inducing anesthetics and extracting teeth. Becoming a vet assistant is easier than becoming a vet tech, so it’s the perfect role for those looking to dive right in.
On an average day as a vet assistant, you might:
- Take X-rays
- Feed recovering pets
- Observe animal behavior
But the role is so varied that things will be a little different every day. This is another reason working as a vet tech is so appealing. It’s an interesting role that will always keep you on your toes!
Get Some Experience
A vet assistant is an important job. Some say this role is the backbone of the veterinary industry, since these workers carry out many of the tasks required for a practice to run smoothly and for animals to become healthy. That’s why a vet is unlikely to hire an assistant without a good deal of experience.
The best way to build up your skills and prove yourself to future employers is to get some hands-on experience. Consider volunteering or finding an internship with animals. You’ll learn so much from just a few weeks and it will look great on your resume.
You could consider looking for experience at a local veterinary practice. But you could consider working at other places with animals, like a zoo or animal shelter. Many of these organizations are charities and have lots of opportunities for people to gain experience.
The key is to get the most varied experience possible. If you can work with lots of different kinds of animals and carry out lots of different tasks, you’ll learn more than by doing the same thing every day.
Talk With Potential Employers
Although there are a few things you ought to do to give yourself the best chance of future employment, every vet will have their own ideas about what makes a great assistant.
That’s why you should check out prospective employers in your area. Take a look at their websites or give them a call to get an idea of what qualifications and experience their vet assistants have.
Some vet practices may give you the chance to come and shadow a vet assistant for a day or two. This is a great way to get some hands-on experience, along with learning more about the role and whether it’s right for you.
Get the Right Qualifications
Once you’ve got some experience, it’s time to get some qualifications. This will help you get the technical knowledge you need and prove to future employers that you can get the job done.
The best vet assistant qualification is a NAVTA Approved Veterinary Assistant Program. Many vets won’t hire an assistant without one of these qualifications. Lots of community colleges offer these qualifications, and you can use the NAVTA website to find nearby institutions running a program.
NAVTA is the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America. This organization has been around for many years and they regulate and advise on various issues within the veterinary world. Their approval is trusted by most vets across the country and ensures they are getting the quality they need.
Make a Great Application
Once you’ve gained plenty of experience and qualifications, it’s time to start your job hunt. There’s a lot of competition for good jobs in the veterinary industry, so you’ll have to be at your best to get the role of your dreams. That’s why you must prepare well to give yourself the best chance of finding the perfect job.
You may need to spend a day or two getting your documents in order and doing some research. A job hunt is a daunting process, but the right preparation will help things run more smoothly.
Be sure to tailor your application to each employer, and put lots of effort into providing any extras, like a cover letter. There’s lots of help available for free online. Take a look around and you’ll find websites offering templates for cover letters and resumes.
We Wish You the Best!
A career working with animals is one of the most valuable things you can do in life. You can help vulnerable creatures and send them back on the road to good health. We wish you all the best in your career in the veterinary world!
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