Healthcare Topics

A Closer Look at Veterinary Assistant Career Path Options

Ready to help animals?

A career in veterinary assisting allows you to do that every day. As a veterinary assistant, you work alongside veterinarians and veterinary technicians to care for animals who are sick, injured, or need examination.

Most veterinary assistants start out working in veterinarian offices or emergency animal care clinics, but there are other areas of specialty.

There are opportunities to explore several areas in the animal welfare world like working with exotic animals or even in a zoo. As with most experiences in life, you don’t know if you’ll enjoy a specialization in vet assisting until you try it.

If you wish to pursue a specialty, you may be required to take additional veterinary assistant courses, though.

Curious? Here’s some insight into the career paths you may take as a veterinary assistant.

First Step: How to Be a Veterinary Assistant

If you dream of puppy kisses and kitty snuggles, then a veterinary assistant career could be your real-life dream. While it isn’t always a walk in the park — you work with many sick and injured animals — veterinary assistants often find their careers in animal welfare rewarding.

Here’s what you need to know about how to be a veterinary assistant:

Consider Your Career Options

If you choose to receive additional training and education, you’ll find your career options open up much wider. While many veterinary assistants work in a veterinarian's office, you may find you'd like a different setting.

Here’s a look at some of your other veterinary assistant career options:

Surgical Facilities

These care facilities offer a chance to dive deeper into specialties within the animal welfare world. For example, you might work at an eye center for animals that is exclusively focused on the treatment and surgery of the eyes for household pets, wildlife, exotic animals, and larger animals.

Rehab Facilities

veterinary assistants working in rehab facilities have the opportunity to watch injured animals thrive with rehab exercises. You might exclusively work with dogs, depending on the rehab facility. Or, you might work in a holistic vet clinic where you’ll work next to acupuncturists, nutritionists, and veterinarians looking for a different approach to animal healing. If you prefer to see natural ways of healing for animals, this is a great specialization to consider.

Animal Sanctuaries

For animal lovers, these facilities are extremely rewarding to work in. Animal sanctuaries care for animals that need to be rehomed for various reasons. Animals of all shapes and sizes — from monkeys to tigers — live out the rest of their lives in these protected sanctuaries. Observing health, cleaning out cages, reporting animal behavior, and daily welfare checks are just a few of the tasks a veterinary assistant can do in this setting.

Higher Education

This opportunity usually presents itself after you've had a few years of on-the-job experience or certification through an accredited veterinary assistant program. You may work at an on-site veterinary clinic on campus or work as an instructor teaching others about vet assisting.

Tips for Finding Your Ideal Veterinary Assistant Career Path

Choose Your Own Path

It’s important to recognize and value your own talents and wishes when it comes to choosing your career path. You may already have friends or family in the veterinary world who may persuade you to pick a particular way. While you can always listen to their guidance and experience, you’ll ultimately want to follow the route you enjoy most.

It may look a little different from someone else’s experience, but it’s your own to enjoy and thrive in. You’re more likely to stick with your career choice if it’s developed the way you envisioned it — not the way a friend, advisor, mentor, or family member pictured it.

Interested in a veterinary assistant program? Reach out to one of our education consultants today to learn more!


Seraine Page

Seraine Page is a freelance writer based out of Florida with over a decade of writing experience. As an award-winning journalist, she loves creating content to engage, educate, and entertain MedCerts readers.

Written July 19, 2019

Share This Article

Do you want to discuss your career path?

Request a FREE consultation with one of our Education Consultants.

  • Fully online training
  • One-on-one orientation and support
  • Career services
  • Exam fees included
  • Short-term programs

Financial assistance

If you are a military spouse or your training is provided through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), you may be eligible for financial assistance to cover all or some of your tuition.

“This decision is a no brainer!” —Kara B.

Read Our Reviews

Newest Articles