How To Become A Veterinary Assistant

Veterinary positions are highly sought after by animal lovers, which is why lots of people want to know how to become a veterinary assistant.  Veterinary assistants get lots of hands on time with the animals.  They are often responsible for restraining the animal and performing some basic tasks such as filling out paperwork, doing physical exams, asking questions, answering phones, cleaning, administering medication, etc.

  1. Get certified.  Although it is possible to get a veterinary assisting job without certification, you are much more likely to get a job and a higher pay rate if you're certified.  You will also be much more knowledgeable and prepared for your job.  Getting certified is not difficult.  There are a number of online courses and some on-campus courses for getting certified.  If you're still young, there are increasing numbers of veterinary assistant courses available at high schools.  Tarpon Springs High School in Florida was one of the first of its kind in the country.  They offer double certification as veterinary assistants.
  2. Get experience.  Whether it's volunteer work or on the job training, it's important to receive experience.  There's no better way to learn restraint, safety, or other assisting techniques than by putting them into practice.  If you can't get a volunteer position at a clinic, you can always try animal shelters.  They are usually more than willing to accept volunteers and you still get to work hands on with the animals.  As a veterinary assistant, you will have to be prepared to work with all different kinds of animals with all different kinds of temperaments, from loving to aggressive.  You'll also have to be prepared to see some gruesome and possibly sad things.  For instance, you may be required to help with a euthanasia.
  3. Apply for jobs.  Having your certification and experience will prove extremely helpful when looking for a job as a veterinary assistant.  Try applying at jobs at all your local veterinary clinics.  Keep in mind that there are multiple types of clinics from emergency clinics, from small animal to large animal and even exotics.  Keep your options open and remember that there are lots of jobs in the animal industry if vet assisting doesn't turn out to be your thing.