Veterinary Receptionist

Becoming a veterinary receptionist can be quite challenging, but it can also be rewarding, especially for the person who is passionate about animals.

The best part of the job is that there is never a dull moment in the workplace. There are literally many cats and dogs that will walk through the door and really brighten up your day. This alone is priceless, and makes the job worth waking up and coming to everyday. Do keep in mind though that this career is not just for anyone. It takes a special kind of person who can walk the walk and talk the talk. Not only do you need to be friendly and smart, you also need to be witty. You need to be a creative talker who knows how to deal with clients from all walks of life.

The ideal receptionist is a team player—someone who works well with others and is reliable. As the first point-of-contact with clients and their pets, knowing how to assess the patient needing special attention, and the timely notification of the Veterinarian, is critical in emergency situations. In times like this, the Vet Receptionist must stay calm and have presence of mind.

So do you think you have what it takes to become one? Read on and find out!


What is the role of a veterinary receptionist?

veterinary receptionist

A typical day begins upon coming into the clinic 15 minutes early. This is recommended, as it is your job to make sure the workplace is clean and ready for business before clients start coming in.

As a Vet Receptionist, you are the first person a client sees when they come in the clinic, and that first impression will actually determine whether or not they come back. So it’s important to keep them engaged and make them feel welcomed the moment they walk through the door.

Communication plays a big role in this job and you will be expected to respond in a prompt and courteous manner. Carry yourself professionally, but still have a warm and friendly demeanor towards the clients. In a day’s work, you will encounter many different kinds of personality types that you never know what you’re going to get. So it’s important that you know how to handle stress and unreasonable clients.

Another role of a Veterinary Receptionist is to cater to a client’s needs. You will be answering phone calls, checking emails, and assisting clients with scheduling an appointment. You will be tasked to prepare patient charts with relevant information for the Veterinarian to read through ahead of time.

Make timely confirmation calls to make sure clients are reminded about the time they need to bring their pets in to the clinic. As an added service, you may also do follow-up calls to clients coming in the previous day to check and ensure their pets are doing well and have no further concerns.

You might also be required to count money inside cash drawers to make sure the right amount of money is there. Therefore, honesty is a quality you should also have.

Great attention to detail is a must. As someone who records patients’ medical histories and checks vaccines, there is absolutely no room for errors.

The ability to multi-task is also an indispensable trait. Having many things going on at the same time is inevitable, so your overall goal is to have a systematic way of working to ensure a smooth flow throughout the entire clinic.


How do I become a veterinary receptionist?

There aren’t any technical requirements needed to land a job as a Veterinary Receptionist. If you’re personable and can learn quickly, you can even get hired immediately after High School. However, some institutions and private practices require their front desk help to be at least knowledgeable in medical billing, basic veterinary terminology, and basic pharmacology. 

The good news is that the AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association) offers a receptionist program on their website with information on pertinent courses needed to obtain a certificate. The topics covered will enhance understanding of animal health care concepts and improve client communication skills.

As an alternative, there are also other schools offering accredited college programs that can prepare interested candidates for the career. These programs can usually be completed in 3 semesters and don’t really cost a fortune.

There is always something new to learn every day, and you’ll be surprised at how much knowledge you can accumulate over the years.


What can I expect on the job as a veterinary receptionist?

Man Making Appointment At Reception Of Veterinary SurgeryLanding your first job as a vet receptionist is exciting! Each veterinary office will brief you about the types of animals being seen, and detail your responsibilities and duties pertinent to the job.

Best part of the job is the relationships you build with clients and patients. There is no greater satisfaction than knowing your patients are happy and well, and that you have played a role in helping them achieve a higher quality of life.

Worst part of the job, unfortunately, would definitely be dealing with death. It is a sad reality. Euthanasia is something you can expect to deal with on a very regular basis in the veterinary field. A lot of times, the client has to be faced with making the decision to let go of their pet to end their suffering. This is a difficult thing to have to handle. As a veterinary receptionist, you act as support to these grief-stricken clients as they go through this process.

Some days, you will encounter clients who are having a bad day and feel the need to take it all out on you. You could do nothing wrong at all but someone would always want to say something negative. Co-workers who bring their problems to work and tend to breakdown can also be complicated to deal with. In situations like these, you need to be ready emotionally and physically as to not breakdown yourself.


How much can I earn as a veterinary receptionist?

Veterinary receptionists still fall under the category of administrative workers, although they have a more specialized field of concentration. Based on the data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary has increased in the last two years.

Data taken from May 2011 showed that on average, a vet receptionist earned $ 24, 980 per year. However, latest data taken from November 2013 showed the average annual salary has now increased to around $ 26,000.

Analysts at the Bureau of Labor Statistics project a 24% growth in job opportunities until the year 2020. This is because a vet receptionist’s job requires human contact and people skills that cannot be easily automated. Thus, there is less need to worry about shortage of jobs when you choose this career.

There are several factors that determine the amount of money you can earn. Pay rates will vary based on such things as education and experience, while wages may also vary depending on whether the job is found within the private, public, or non-profit sectors.

For an entry level veterinary receptionist, you can earn an estimated $9.00 per hour. Those who are more experienced in the field can expect to earn around $13.00 or more per hour. So if money is the only motivation in pursuing this career, you might have better luck looking elsewhere.


Final advice on becoming a veterinary receptionist

veterinary assistant

Don’t be misled into thinking that just because you love and / or enjoy being around animals means that you can do this job. In the veterinary field, working with animals is a bonus. It is the people who you are working for that comes first, and the pets come second.

With this job, communication and enthusiasm is very important. If you feel down or stressed out, you can’t let your clients see that. Sometimes, you need to make small talk with waiting clients when the wait takes longer than usual. On top of that, you should be able to maintain a balanced routine with daily maintenance. This way, you make yourself a valuable member to the veterinary healthcare team.

Start young. Begin by calling Veterinary clinics in your area. Go in with ambition and train your way up the scale. Market yourself according to the position that you are seeking. If you go in for an interview, remember to dress professionally or wear something that is considered business-casual. Always bring a resume with you, not just an application letter.

A career as a Veterinary Receptionist can be hectic, sad at times, and even dangerous when exposed to animals that could bite or may have infectious diseases. In any case, it is a satisfying career that always comes with room for advancement for the person who is compassionate, motivated, and truly dedicated to providing animals the highest quality of healthcare.