Careers in Agriculture Veterinarian Assistant By: Dr. Frank Flanders and Jennie Simpson Georgia Agricultural Education Curriculum Office Georgia Department of Education June 2005 START
What Is an Veterinarian Assistant? • Veterinarians rely on animal care assistants to keep a constant eye on the conditions of animals in their charge. • Most assistants are a veterinarians’ “right hand person.” • Veterinary assistants work with animals in private clinics, animal hospitals, and laboratories. • They work under the direct supervision of a veterinarian, scientist, or senior technologist.
Duties of Veterinarian Assistants • Give medicine to animals • Feed, brush, and bathe animals and clip hair and nails • Clean cages and wash food and water dishes • Assist with examinations and tests • Maintain treatment records • Assist veterinarians in surgery • Apply bandages and splints • Prepare examination, treatment, and surgical rooms • Holding or restraining animal during procedures • Prepare equipment, and instruments for surgical procedures • Prepare animals for examination by questioning owners, weighing animals, and recording history
Becoming a Veterinarian Assistant • A veterinary assistant needs to have a strong desire to work with animals • Be patient, gentle, and concerned for animals’ well being. • They also need to have a general interest in medical science. • One needs to be able to follow detailed instructions and established procedures. • Due to the uncertain nature of the career, • one needs to be able to remain calm • and controlled in crisis situations. • Good communication skills are also needed • to be capable of speaking with pet • owners who may be upset.
Education • While assistants learn skills on the job there are an increasing number of specialized programs for veterinary assistants available in high schools, regional technical centers, and community colleges. • Although these programs are not required to be a veterinary assistant, training is an advantage when looking for a job. • Take as many courses in biology and math as possible. • Job shadow a veterinary assistant or technician to gain a practical knowledge of the work involved. • Find employment or a voluntary position in an animal care facility where you can gain valuable experience. • Participate in 4-H or FFA or a veterinary technician program offered in your school.
Employment • The beginning range for veterinary assistants is $16,655 to $17,095 and the experienced range is $19,800 to $29,955. • Projected growth for veterinary assistants is good. • It should grow much faster than average for all occupations as treatment options for animals increase and pet owners devote more money to caring for their pets
Related Careers • Animal Trainer • Pet Care Worker • Small Animal Breeder • Wildlife Biologist • Veterinarian • Veterinary Technician • Zoo Keeper
Career Resources American Veterinarian Medical Association 931 N Meacham Rd, Suite 100 Schaumburg, IL 60173 Internet: http://www.avma.org/ National Association of Federal Veterinarians 1101 Vermont Avenue NW Suite 710, Washington DC 20005 Internet: http://www.nafv.org American Animal Hospital Association P.O. Box 150899 Denver, Colorado 80215-0899 Internet: http://www.healthypet.com Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges 1101 Vermont Ave. NW Suite 301 Washington, DC 20005 Internet: http://www.aavmc.org