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.
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:
- Education is Required: A high school diploma or equivalent is required.
- Training is Needed: While you do receive some on-the-job training, bringing prior experience and expertise into a vet assisting role will help you land the job. Most employers prefer working with an experienced veterinary assistant who can easily walk into the job with little coaching. Becoming an Approved Veterinary Assistant (AVA) can work to your benefit when it comes to this.
- Credentialing Helps: Licensing isn’t necessary in this field, but the special designation AVA (Approved Veterinary Assistant) offered by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) can help. NAVTA is the entity responsible for offering Approved Veterinary Assistant designations. This designation helps veterinary assistant job applicants stand out during the hiring process due to the intensive training and exam component required.
Tips for Finding Your Ideal Veterinary Assistant Career Path
- Be Open to Learning: With new research comes new knowledge, especially in the veterinary field. As you move through your career, be open to new training opportunities available. Ask peers what training they’re investing in. Keep a curious mind and you’ll find you are never bored when you’re taking in new information!
- Find a Mentor: Whether it's a veterinarian or a veterinary technician, find someone willing to share their knowledge with you. If you're curious about career advancement, look to someone who's already done it successfully. They’ll be able to give you the best insight as to what it took to get there.
- Stay Updated on Industry News: Even the experts don’t know what their industry will look like 10 or 20 years down the road. Keeping up on trends, research, and more will give you an advantage over your peers. Read trade magazines for your industry, and keep an eye on the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Handbook for great insight to industry trends.
Choose Your Path
It’s important to recognize and value your talents and wishes when it comes to choosing your career path. You may already have friends or family in the veterinary profession 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!
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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