Veterinary assistant jobs are a great way to enter the field of veterinary medicine.
As the first point of contact for clients, you get the insider’s knowledge of what it really is like working in veterinary science and support on a daily basis. As a veterinary assistant, you can choose to work in small private clinics, or in large animal research facilities, hospitals, and universities. While working, you might also be assigned to different locations that may allow you to encounter exciting breeds of animals, specific to a region or climate. Whichever institution you choose to work for, your main job is to ensure a safe, sanitary, and happy environment in the workplace.
So, is working as a veterinary assistant the right job for you? Don’t worry; we’ve done all the research below to help you decide…
Veterinary assistants are part of the Paraveterinary Work Force that includes the veterinary nurse, veterinary technician, and veterinary technologist as other members. These people aid the veterinarian / veterinary physician in performing various duties, and believe in the highest quality of animal healthcare.
The fundamental responsibilities of a veterinary assistant include, but are not limited to:
• Preparing the treatment room and all necessary medical items and supplies for the examination of animals.
• Performing in-house laboratory procedures as allowed by state rules and regulations.
• Monitoring animals under surgery, post-surgery, and those undergoing medical treatment.
• Updating patient charts and filing medical records.
• Performing housekeeping duties such as cage cleaning, mopping, trash cleaning and removal as outlined by institution protocols.
• Bathing, cleaning, and feeding common animal companions.
• Filling out prescriptions and administering vaccines under the guidance of a Veterinarian.
As with most veterinary assistant jobs, commitment and dedication are essential. You must have the ability to multi-task, problem solve, and organize in an efficient manner. You must also aspire to become a professional with a service-oriented attitude and positive outlook—someone who takes satisfaction in a job well done.
Veterinary assistant jobs vary throughout the world. In most countries, you can volunteer as a veterinary assistant right after finishing High School and passing your GEs (general education requirements). Some countries would prefer you to have at least 1 year of veterinary experience, while others may simply have a minimum age requirement of 18 or 21 years old. Usually, there are more jobs than there are qualified people to fill them in, so a prior volunteer experience in veterinary medicine can sometimes be enough to get you hired for an entry-level position immediately.
Recently however, the need for a standardized formal education and training for aspiring veterinary assistants in the United States, has paved the way for the NAVTA (National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America) to set up a veterinary assistant program to ensure the quality of workers in this profession. Graduates of this program will have the necessary hands-on training and additional knowledge in animal healthcare which some employers require upfront.
You may not feel like going back to school, but trust me, completing this 1 year program will give you more career opportunities that will be beneficial to you in the long run.
Searching for a veterinary assistant job can either be easy or difficult, depending on the number of jobs available in your area.
You could start by calling different clinics to ask for any job openings or vacant positions. Or you could also walk-in the office and hand over your resume. Without prior experience though, you may have to work as a volunteer for the first few months. Only after careful evaluation of your performance will the employer then decide whether to hire you or not.
Some veterinary institutions offer retirement benefits, continuing education classes, generous vacation / personal time off, uniforms, and even service discounts for your own pets. So sometimes, you might find the need to move out of state to find the best veterinary assistant job that is suitable for you.
Another option would be to search the internet and send in your resume by email. Here are some helpful directories that post veterinary assistant jobs:
• AVMA Jobs http://jobs.avma.org/jobs/occupation/vet-tech-assistant
• Career Builder http://www.careerbuilder.com/Jobs/Keyword/Veterinary-Assistant/
• Indeed http://www.indeed.com/q-Veterinary-Assistant-jobs.html
It may take awhile to get interviewed or for employers to reply back to you, but don’t give up or get frustrated. They say that good things happen to those who wait.
Most veterinary assistant jobs require you to have the ability to work well with others and communicate effectively with clients. Since you will be around animals a lot on a daily basis, there are special working conditions that you should be aware of.
These include, but are not limited to:
• Routine encounters with animals that could bite, scratch, or have infectious diseases.
• Possible exposure to unpleasant odors, radiation (from XRAY machines), biomedical hazards, and chemical substances.
• Moderately high noise level in the work environment.
• Physical work that can include lifting, moving, and carrying heavy equipment or animals.
• Long periods of time using a computer to update patient medical records.
As a veterinary assistant, your primary task is to create a positive, low-stress environment for both the animals and their owners while also providing the best medical care.
Establishing a warm, happy, and welcoming atmosphere in the workplace will influence clients to return and refer their friends and family members.
According to the 2013-2014 statistics from the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy in the United States, the number of pets have dramatically increased from a mere 67 million in 1970, to an incredible number of 164 million in 2013.
That number is about half of the current population of the United States!
Analysts at the US Bureau of Labor Statistics predict a steady rise of employment rates for Veterinary Assistants. This means that as the human population continues to rise, more and more animal companions will be added into households that would need the services of the veterinary medical team. So a shortage of vet assistant jobs seem less worrisome.
There is no denying that veterinary assistants fill a vital role in providing high quality humane care for animals.
If you do end up loving the work as much as the animals, then you can use your experience as a stepping stone to become a veterinary technician or a doctor of veterinary medicine. These positions will provide you with more medical knowledge and more job opportunities.
Your experience working as a veterinary assistant will also be a great milestone to put in your resume that can offer you a huge advantage in the future.
Despite the physically and emotionally demanding nature of the job, a great veterinary assistant believes in providing the highest quality of animal care and compassion.
You can be that person!
Always go beyond expectations and you will surely enjoy a rewarding and successful career in veterinary science and support.