The Veterinary Assistant Program is a great way to begin your career in animal healthcare.
Upon graduating from this two-semester program, you will be able to learn a wide variety of skills and techniques needed to become a globally-competitive veterinary assistant. Becoming a true veterinary assistant goes beyond the love of animals. While most of the actual work involves on-the-job training, most employers nowadays prefer potential hires to have prior experience in order to be considered for employment. Graduating from an accredited program for veterinary assistants will definitely give you the edge above the rest.
Wondering what’s in store in the vet assistant program? Read on to find out what you need to know before making that important decision…
To be eligible to apply to a veterinary assistant program, you must first pass all your General Education courses. You must also be at least 18 years of age to qualify in some schools. On top of that, a solid GPA (Grade Point Average) and a flair for maths and sciences would also come in handy.
Studying for the program involves a lot of self-discipline and hard work. Competition can be fierce but by utilizing good study habits such as paying attention in class and taking down notes, you will be able to complete the program in no time.
An accredited veterinary assistant program may cost anywhere from $800 to $1600 per semester, with textbooks amounting up to $500. Other factors such as transportation, allowance, and lodging fees should also be considered.
Let’s face it, school tuition fees can get expensive—and even more so if you decide to study abroad.
But the good news is that many schools now offer scholarship programs and financial assistance to enrolled students. For the school of your choice, you can check their official website or call the admin office to ask for more information.
Full-time students who take 15 credits per semester can expect to finish the program in a year. For working students, there is an option to enroll in the program on a part-time basis, with a minimum requirement of 9 credits per semester to stay in the program. The veterinary assistant program could also be used as a stepping stone to become a veterinary technician or veterinarian should you chose to pursue a higher level of learning in the future.
For those who have been practising as a veterinary assistant with at least 5 years of experience, the VetMedTeam offers an Experential Learner Option.
Prospective students of this program must be working as a veterinary assistant for at least 20 hours a week in order to be qualified.
This is the only veterinary assistant program that has been approved by the NAVTA (National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America) education committee for assistant training.
Upon successful completion of a veterinary assistant program, graduates are able to:
• Accurately take vital signs and weights, administer medications, and reconstitute vaccines.
• Build a working knowledge of common animal diseases and their medical treatments.
• Carefully collect blood and tissue samples for diagnostic laboratory testing.
• Efficiently communicate with clients and obtain patient histories.
• Perform emergency treatment procedures such as first aid and wound-management.
• Meticulously transact business operations and maintain patient and facility records.
• Assist with physical exams and minor interpretation of XRAY films.
• Identify common animal companion breeds, their nutritional requirements and husbandry needs.
A veterinary assistant works with a veterinary technician under the guidance of a veterinarian, thus good oral and written communication is essential to ensure a smooth flow in the workplace.
Because a day’s work can be physically and mentally demanding, a sharp attention to detail and the ability to multi-task are also vital qualities that you must possess.
In the end, it all comes down to what your priorities are. If you’re still unsure about taking a veterinary assistant program, why not try volunteering at local shelters, rescue centers, clinics and hospitals?
That way you can start getting your experience in the animal care industry and learn from those around you. The experience will hopefully help you decide if becoming a veterinary assistant is really the path you want to take.
Completing a veterinary assistant program is definitely worthwhile and beneficial in the long run. The additional knowledge and training you obtain will give you the confidence you need on the job, making you a more valuable and indispensable member of the veterinary medical team.