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Becoming a Veterinary Assistant: What You Didn't Know

Aug 21, 2017 | Harrison College

Becoming a Veterinary Assistant: What You Didn't Know

Do you want to work with animals?

Then you might want to consider becoming a veterinary assistant. This job gives people a great opportunity to get real world experience while helping to care for animals.

It might sound easy, but there's more to this job than meets the eye. Vet assistants might be faced with more tasks than you might think.

Do you know what goes into being a vet assistant? First, you need to understand what the job entails. Here you'll discover what you didn't know about the vet assistant world.

Veterinary Assistant Tasks

Getting to hang out with animals all day might sound like a dream job. But it's important to understand what that means.

Vet assistants play a huge role in veterinary offices. That's because they handle a lot of prep work for doctors. Think of them as nurses at a doctors office.

You might handle a wide range of tasks on a typical day. You should be able to do behind the scenes tasks like clerical work and appointment scheduling. Hands on tasks include cleaning animal teeth, cleaning cages, taking blood samples, administering vaccinations and medications and even assisting with first aid.

Your job is to help vets and vet techs keep up with their daily work. Vet assistants also are paid less than these positions.

Their median salary is around $25,250. However, it requires minimal training and is often a launching point for additional jobs in the field.

Daily Challenges

Every job has its challenges.

A veterinary assistant has to deal with a few things that might be challenging.

First, you have to get your hands dirty. Vet assistants regularly have to deal with feces, urine, blood, drool and other bodily functions. It goes without saying that you'll have to have a strong stomach.

As an animal lover, you might be excited at the prospect of not dealing with people. However, dealing with people is part of the job.

You will interact with pet owners and their families on a daily basis. Pet owners are especially attached to their animals and they can often get emotional - especially when there is bad news.

Patient overload can also lead to long hours and a lack of breaks. Over time, double shifts or last minute shifts are not uncommon. It's important to keep all of this in mind when pursuing this job.

Sick Animals

Helping animals can be rewarding, but it can also be heartbreaking.

One difficult aspect of the veterinary assistant role is dealing with sick animals.

Often times you will have to watch an animal's health deteriorate. Even worse, you have to help assist in euthanasia.

You also have to talk to clients about this difficult process, which can be an emotional experience.

You have to learn to remove emotions and push through your job. However, you can rest easy knowing you helped others in a time of need.

Bottom Line

A veterinary assistant has a difficult job.

You have to juggle tasks, face clients, deal with sick animals and get your hands dirty.

However, it can be a very rewarding position. Not only do you get to work with animals every day, but you get to help them and see the positive influence of your work.

While there may be some drawbacks, a vet assistant is a great position for those looking to get started in the veterinary field.

There are several benefits to being a vet assistant. There is a faster than average job outlook in addition to short training terms and limited work experience requirements. Experienced assistants can also take the next step by pursuing a vet tech degree.

Becoming a vet assistant is the first step to pursuing a lifelong career with animals. So what are you waiting for? 

Are you interested in vet programs? We can help. Research the programs in your area to discover the next steps.

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