How to Become a Veterinary Assistant
Veterinary Assistant Job Duties
Skills and Qualities of Veterinary Assistants
Veterinary Assistant Salary
Influential Professionals in the Veterinary Assistant Field
Leading Veterinary Assistant Organizations
Top Cities for Veterinary Assistant Jobs
Other Careers of Interest
Most veterinary assistants gain experience from on-the-job training, volunteer opportunities, or via veterinary assistant internet courses. Distant learning courses over the internet can lead to certifications, which provide an overview of the career, including: animal handling procedures, medical procedures, treatment techniques, business transactions and pharmacology. Training usually takes 6 months or less.
Inexperienced veterinary assistants may want to start out in a small clinic with hopes of participating in all areas of training. In larger settings, such as hospitals there is less opportunity for hands on training. After becoming a veterinary assistant one could choose to work at clinics, zoos, animal shelters and ranches or farms.
The demand for professional veterinary technicians will rise 26% by year 2012. Some common job titles are: Veterinary Assistant, Veterinary Technician, Groomer, Kennel Assistant, Animal Care Provider, Kennel Attendant, Kennel Technician, Veterinarian Assistant, Veterinary Surgery Technician and Kennel Worker.
Veterinary Assistants may also monitor animals recovering from surgery, give anesthetics during surgery, provide emergency first aid to sick or injured animals, hold or restrain animals during veterinary procedures, fill medication prescriptions, perform routine laboratory test or diagnostics test such as x-rays, examine animals to check for behavior or symptoms that could indicate a hidden injury or an illness, assist veterinarians in examining animals, and perform many other tasks such as giving enemas and dealing with intravenous feeding, to name just two.
Working as a Veterinary Assistant can be an excellent way for those interested in becoming a veterinarian to gain experience and decide whether they want to become a veterinarian. Opportunities for advancement within a veterinary assistant career are slim to none, unless they choose to go back to school to pursue a career as a veterinary technician or a veterinarian. The Occupational Information Network projects the United States will need an additional 21,000 veterinary assistants between 2006 and 2016, a projected growth of 14% to 20%.
Veterinary assistants should also be dependable, cooperative, pay attention to detail, have high tolerance for stress, be honest and ethical, able to maintain self control, have concern for others, and willingness to take responsibilities and challenges. A veterinary assistant is usually of a realistic, social, and investigative nature.
Veterinary assistants usually need anywhere from a few months to 1 year of training with experienced employees.
The top paying states for veterinary assistants are Massachusetts, District of Columbia, California, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. The top paying metropolitan areas for veterinary assistants are San Diego and Carlsbad, California ($32,980), Bethesda, Gaithersburg, and Frederick, Maryland ($32,630), Salinas, California ($32,350), Boston, Cambridge, and Quincy, Massachusetts ($32,330), and San Francisco, San Mateo, and Redwood City, California ($31,730).
While many Veterinary Assistants get on-the-job training, they start with a higher salary and more employment opportunities if they become certified.
Dr. James K. Payne of Tarpon Springs, Florida, received the AVMA Public Service Award for outstanding contributions to public health and regulatory veterinary medicine. He has assisted U.S. Congress with developing vital language used in the Wholesome Meat Act of 1967 and the Wholesome Poultry Act of 1968. He was a founding member of the American Association of Food Hygiene Veterinarians. He is also a diplomat of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine (www.avma.org).
The American Veterinary Medical Foundation is the national foundation for veterinary medicine and animal health. It is designed to promote animal well-being and enhance medicine research efforts.
Metropolitan areas with the highest concentration of Veterinary Assistants are Kalamazoo and Portage, Missouri, College Station and Bryan, Texas, Ithaca, New York, Auburn and Opelika, Alabama, and Hot Springs, Arkansas.
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