Veterinary Assistant Certification and Diploma Programs
Discover certificate programs available for aspiring veterinary assistants. Learn about education prerequisites, program coursework, employment information and continuing education possibilities.
Veterinary assistants clean and maintain examination rooms, take animal vitals, administer wound care and assist with medical procedures. Oftentimes, veterinary assistants do not have formal education and learn their trade on the job. Those interested in gaining an educational background can enroll in a certificate program, which usually requires 24 credits for completion. Diploma and certification programs do not exist in this field. Courses offered in certificate programs include animal health terminology, handling techniques, animal anatomy and physiology and front office procedures.
Applicants to a veterinary assistant certificate program generally need a high school diploma or GED. They should be capable of lifting a larger size animal. Basic computer skills are also helpful.
Programs are occasionally offered online. However, many programs are offered on-site because lab work is an important component of veterinary assisting programs. A practicum may be required. Classes often include:
- Animal health vocabulary
- Office procedures and financial collection techniques
- Grooming basics
- Lizard, snake and bird physiologies
- Methods of animal restraint
- Animal nutrition
- Veterinary pharmacology
- Animal injury care
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
As of 2012, veterinary assistants across the U.S. earned an average annual salary of $24,740, notes the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). Veterinary assistants work in animal shelters, clinics, grooming shops and kennels. From 2010 to 2020, the BLS anticipates a 14% rise in the employment of vet assistants, which is equivalent to the average for all other jobs.
Individuals who have earned a veterinary assistant certificate can stay abreast of industry changes and relevant topics through various programs offered by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America, www.navta.net. Additionally, individuals with an undergraduate certificate in veterinary assisting may decide to pursue a 2- or 4-year program in veterinary technology.
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