Veterinary Assistant Job Description

Veterinary Assistant Job Description, Skills, and Salary

Are you searching for a veterinary assistant job description? Get to know about the duties, responsibilities, qualifications, and skills requirements of a veterinary assistant. Feel free to use our veterinary assistant job description template to produce your own veterinary assistant job description. We also provide you with information about the salary you can earn as a veterinary assistant.


Who is a Veterinary Assistant?

Veterinary assistants aid veterinarians in caring for animals by ensuring that animals are well-fed, bathed, exercised, groomed, and restrained properly.

Additionally, veterinary assistants could be in charge of making food and water bowls, cleaning cages, kennels, and other animal enclosures. They also take notes on animal behavior or health problems and help with surgical procedures. To succeed in this line of work, one must possess a wide range of abilities, including the capacity to handle animals, interact with clients, and carry out simple medical treatments.

Work environments for veterinary assistants include zoos, research labs, animal shelters, and private veterinary practices. Their normal work week is 40 hours, although they may be forced to work on weekends, holidays, and nights. Veterinary assistants who work in private clinics or animal hospitals work extra when animals are brought in for emergency care. When working with research animals, veterinary assistants may be forced to handle potentially dangerous items and may come into contact with zoonotic infections, which are illnesses that can spread from animals to people.


Opportunity for Advancement

A career as a veterinary assistant might serve as a stepping stone to success in the veterinary medical industry. Every day, assistants receive practical experience that is beneficial to the profession of a veterinary assistant, which is the next logical step towards progress and can ultimately result in a much more important position as a practicing veterinarian.

The best method to advance while working in the veterinary industry is through further education. There are possibilities for ongoing education around the nation in schools and also through frequent seminars and workshops. Working as a veterinary assistant can be the beginning of a fulfilling and career-advancing job in the veterinary industry, providing you with the knowledge and expertise you need to advance.

The Job Outlook

As the number of Americans keeping pets rises, this sector is expected to expand as time progresses. In the US, there are reportedly over 75,000 veterinary assistants employed. At the moment, there are 80 million cat owners and 70 million dog owners in the United States. Cat owners spend just under half as much on veterinary care as dog owners do. Dog owners are found to spend up to $400 annually. The American Pet Products Association estimates that Americans spent over $62 billion on pets in 2016. All of these figures imply that there will be an increase in job prospects for veterinary assistants.


Veterinary Assistant Job Description

What is a veterinary assistant job description? A veterinary assistant job description is simply a list of duties and responsibilities of a veterinary assistant in an organization. Below are the veterinary assistant job description examples you can use to develop your resume or write a veterinary assistant job description for your employee. Employers can also use it to sieve out job seekers when choosing candidates for interviews.

The duties and responsibilities of a veterinary assistant include all of the following:

  • Maintain the cleanliness and organization of the treatment spaces, exam rooms, hospital areas, cages, and laboratories.
  • Make sure both customers and pets feel at ease in the waiting area.
  • Help with blood collection, medication administration, and animal dental care.
  • Carry out laboratory and imaging diagnostic tests.
  • Respect the norms, guidelines, and policies of the hospital.
  • Keep up with medical records.
  • Clean and disinfect exam rooms, treatment spaces, and animal cages should all be cleaned and disinfected.
  • Attend to an animal’s everyday needs, such as taking it for a walk and giving it food, drink, and clean bedding.
  • Gather samples of tissue, blood, or urine for testing.
  • Maintain surgical tools and carry out instrument sterilization.
  • Help the veterinarian and the veterinary technician during the procedure by monitoring and assisting with the preparation of the animal.
  • Perform laboratory procedures such as urinalysis setup, automated blood machine operation, bedside “SNAP” testing (for feline leukemia, heartworm, and other conditions), and fecal examinations.
  • Handle record requests and also get in touch with other veterinary clinics.
  • Shave or cut fur, apply antiseptic cream, and wrap bandages to prepare animals for examinations, diagnostic procedures, and surgery.
  • Give injections, tablets, or oral drugs when administering medication to animals.
  • Prepare instruments for examinations by cleaning and sterilizing them, making bandages, and setting up X-ray or ultrasound equipment, among other things.
  • Feed animals by hand, track diets for health issues, and measure food portions.
  • Record animal medical histories, including details on immunizations, previous treatments, and present health.
  • Assist veterinarians with surgery procedures, intravenous fluid administration, disease diagnosis, and physical examinations.
  • Maintain sanitary conditions in kennels, cages, and other animal enclosures for animals receiving medical treatment for ailments or injuries.
  • Inform pet owners of available treatments and the steps in the recovery process.



The education required in this role includes all of the following:

  1. Academic Requirements: Possession of a GED or high school diploma is necessary to work as a veterinary assistant. Candidates with an associate’s degree in veterinary technology are preferred by several veterinary practices. These courses can be completed in roughly two years and are studied in community colleges and technical schools. Anatomy, physiology, animal care, medical terminology, kinesiology, radiology, veterinary ethics, and record-keeping are among the subjects covered in these programs. Although some choose to complete a non-degree program to get a certificate (either online or at a university), certification is not necessary to operate as a veterinary assistant. However, the vast majority of businesses favor hiring assistants with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in animal science (or a similar field like biomedical technology).
  2. Certification: A fantastic approach to proving that you have the abilities needed to operate in the profession is to obtain a veterinary assistant certification. When it comes to finding work and negotiating wages, certificates are ideal.  Companies do like hiring veterinary assistants who have some credentials. However, certifications are not required but it is after a program has been completed that certification is awarded. The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America also offers certification (NAVTA). NAVTA provides a variety of training program choices. Another choice is the 35 certificate programs that have been given approved program distinction by the NAVTA, which offer the Approved Veterinary Assistant (AVA) certification. The United States as a whole accepts this certification.
  3. Experience and training: Candidates must have at least six months of experience working in a veterinary setting to be considered for most veterinary assistant positions. A paid internship or a degree program may include this training. Training frequently includes observing a veterinarian assistant in action and learning how to carry out fundamental duties like cleaning and feeding animals.


Essential Skills

Some of the core competencies required to work as a veterinary assistant are explained below:

  1. Knowledge of Anesthesia Monitoring: The ability to gauge whether a patient needs more or less anesthetic is known as anesthesia monitoring. Veterinary assistants frequently keep an eye on patients while they undergo treatments and may change the anesthetic dosage based on how the animal responds. You can ask the vet to provide more anesthesia, for instance, if your pet feels uncomfortable after getting a particular amount.
  2. Animal Restraint: The capacity to restrain animals prevents them from hurting themselves and humans. As a result, Veterinary assistants frequently use animal restraint when managing pets and other animals in examination rooms, operation rooms, and kennels. Animals may need to be restrained for both the protection of their owners from harm and for the safety of others.
  3. Empathy: The capacity to comprehend and experience another person’s feelings is known as empathy. It’s crucial for veterinary assistants to have compassion for their patients because they frequently work with sick or injured animals. Due to their increased propensity to make an animal feel comfortable, veterinary assistants may be able to treat patients more effectively. When describing treatment plans or processes to customers, veterinary assistants find it easier to connect with them.
  4. Understanding of laboratory techniques: Veterinary assistants should be knowledgeable about laboratory practices, including how to operate tools and equipment. This is crucial since it can enable you to work in a clinic more effectively and safely. Learning how to handle samples that might need to be sent to a lab for testing is also beneficial.
  5. Possession of Physical Stamina:  Veterinary assistants may spend most of the day standing up and working long hours. Physical stamina makes it possible for you to do duties fast, which can help you fulfill production targets and ease employer stress. Physical endurance enables you to exercise frequently and prevents health problems like obesity, which contributes to the maintenance of a healthy lifestyle.
  6. Understanding of vaccinations: A series of injections known as vaccinations aid in the prevention and management of animal diseases. The various immunizations, their uses, and the proper methods of administration should be known to veterinary assistants. This is a crucial ability since it guarantees the well-being of animals and shields clients from illness.
  7. Knowledge of handling animals: As they may be in charge of taking care of animals in kennels and examination rooms, veterinary assistants must possess animal handling abilities. Knowing how to approach an animal safely and how to quiet it down if it’s agitated or hostile are two examples of animal handling abilities. Additionally, veterinary assistants must be familiar with the necessary tools to utilize when treating animals as well as how to restrain animals during procedures.
  8. Dental Prophylaxis: Before a procedure, the patient’s teeth are cleaned as part of dental prophylaxis. This task is frequently carried out by veterinary assistants because it’s crucial to ensuring the health and safety of the patients. Additionally, it guarantees the safety of the veterinarian’s examination of the mouth and any other body parts they might need to inspect throughout the course of the procedure.
  9. Understanding of radiology: Radiology-trained veterinary assistants are capable of reading and interpreting diagnostic images including X-rays and MRIs. This skill set is crucial since it enables you to effectively assess the health status of animals and tell your employer of their condition. It also aids in deciding whether an animal requires more testing or medical attention.
  10. Client Education: Understanding how to communicate treatment alternatives and procedures to clients is known as client education. Veterinary assistants must be able to instruct clients who aren’t aware of animal health issues on matters like pet diet, immunizations, and medical jargon.
  11. Effective Time Management Skills: The capacity to schedule and carry out work in a way that guarantees you meet deadlines is known as time management. Because veterinary assistants may have a variety of duties, it’s critical to be able to focus your work and finish projects on schedule. Additionally, it guarantees that patients receive prompt, high-quality care.
  12. Keen focus on detail: An ability that can aid veterinary assistants in carrying out their responsibilities effectively and completely is attention to detail. This might entail paying great attention to the details provided by vets, like medical records or treatment guidelines. It also entails being knowledgeable about any possible hazards connected to therapies so that they may let clients know about them.
  13. Surgical Preparation: The capacity to get ready for surgeries and make sure operating rooms are pristine, hygienic, and equipped for procedures is known as surgical preparation. Veterinary assistants frequently carry out tasks like sanitizing instruments, preparing surgical tools, and making sure operating rooms are secure for surgery. Strong surgical preparation abilities can facilitate your employment in a veterinary clinic and help you give animals better treatment.
  14. High Levels of Organization: The capacity of an organization is the capacity to monitor several duties and obligations. Veterinary assistants may have a variety of responsibilities, so being organized is crucial to finishing everything on time. Having organizational abilities can help you succeed in this profession because you might also need to manage supplies or files for other staff.
  15. Patience: Since veterinary assistants frequently touch animals, they must have the patience to deal with any potential problems. As an illustration, a pet owner might bring in a sick or hurt animal. Before giving the animal any care, the assistant might need to wait for the veterinarian to conclude their examination. Additionally, they might need to explain processes to an anxious pet or assist in calming it down.
  16. Phlebotomy: The act of taking blood from a patient is known as phlebotomy. Phlebotomy tasks are frequently required of veterinary assistants, thus it’s critical that you are proficient in safe and accurate blood collection techniques. You can gain this ability by enrolling in an online course or a community college course.
  17. Multitasking: Veterinary assistants frequently need to finish several jobs quickly. To efficiently multitask and do all of your chores on time, you must be able to do so. For instance, you can be required to take calls, update patient data, and clean exam rooms simultaneously.
  18. Respect: By paying close attention to what people are saying and constructively reacting with kindness and understanding, you show respect for them. Veterinarian offices can assist worried pet owners who require some guidance as they navigate the process of caring for their animals. Working closely with others necessitates a thorough comprehension of needs and effective communication of those needs.
  19. Integrity: In this situation, it is critical to complete jobs accurately and on schedule. Knowing any changes is crucial, especially when working with sick or hurt animals. Just like in any work, mistakes can occasionally occur, and taking responsibility for them can help a patient succeed and the animal heal.
  20. Resilience: Being able to persevere in the face of difficulties is known as resilience, and it is crucial for veterinary assistants to maintain their composure and resilience in the face of a sometimes stressful and emotional workplace.


How to Become a Veterinary Assistant

Below is a step-by-step guide on how to become a veterinary assistant:

  1. Get a high school diploma: The majority of employers look for a high school diploma or GED, though it is not a requirement. A high school diploma or its equivalent lets an employer know that you have the fundamentals of good written and oral communication. Additionally, as some veterinary assistants are needed to handle some bookkeeping, a high school foundation in biology, chemistry, algebra, and business communications can be useful in this position.
  2. Consider obtaining a certification: Your certification attests to your dedication to the position and supports your credentials. It serves as evidence of your abilities and knowledge and will help you stand out from the crowd.
  1. Secure a position: There are employment prospects in a variety of clinical settings, including kennels, animal hospitals, grooming salons, and laboratories. These offer appropriate on-the-job training and may also call for an assistant or aide to handle secretarial duties including taking phone calls, scheduling appointments, processing payments, and placing supply orders. Writing a strong CV and a thorough cover letter will help you land the job you want.
  2. Consider continuing your education: To further your career as a veterinary assistant, you might wish to pursue an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. These experts carry out a range of laboratory tasks and aid in animal diagnosis.


Where to Work as a Veterinary Assistant

Work environments for veterinary assistants include zoos, research labs, animal hospitals, and private veterinarian practices. Although they may be forced to work nights, weekends, and holidays, their normal work week is 40 hours. When animals are brought in for emergency care, veterinary assistants who work in private clinics or animal shelters may be compelled to work extra. When working with research animals, veterinary assistants may be forced to handle potentially dangerous items and may come into contact with zoonotic infections, which are illnesses that can spread from animals to people.


Veterinary Assistant Salary Scale

In the United States, the average gross pay for a veterinary assistant is $44,752, which equates to a $22 hourly wage. Additionally, they receive a $667 bonus on average. Based on pay survey data obtained from anonymous employees and employers in the United States. A vet assistant with 1-3 years of experience at entry level makes an average income of $34,145. The average pay for senior-level veterinary assistants (8+ years of experience) is $53,494.

In the United Kingdom, the average gross pay for a veterinary assistant is £27,131, or $13 an hour. Additionally, they receive a £404 bonus on average. Wage projections are based on anonymous employee and employer responses to a salary survey conducted in the UK. An entry-level vet assistant makes an average salary of £20,700 (with 1-3 years of experience). The average pay for a senior-level veterinary assistant (8+ years of experience) is £32,431.

In Canada, the average gross pay for a veterinary assistant is $49,500, or $24 an hour. Additionally, they receive a $738 bonus on average. Compensation estimates are based on data from anonymous Canadian employees and employers via salary surveys. A vet assistant with 1-3 years of experience at entry level makes an average income of $37,768. The average compensation for a senior-level vet assistant (8+ years of experience) is $59,170.

In Australia, the average gross pay for a veterinary assistant is $42,473, which works out to $20 an hour. Additionally, they receive a $344 bonus on average. Wage estimates are based on data from anonymous Australian employees and employers via salary surveys. The typical compensation for a veterinary assistant at entry level (1-3 years of experience) is $40,172. The average pay for a senior-level veterinary assistant (8+ years of experience) is $50,290.

In Ireland, the average gross pay for a veterinary assistant is €36,606, which works out to an hourly wage of €18. They also receive an average bonus of €545. Wage projections are based on anonymous employee and employer responses to a salary survey conducted in Ireland. The typical compensation for an entry-level veterinarian assistant (1-3 years of experience) is €27,938. The average pay for a senior-level veterinarian assistant (8+ years of experience) is €43,769.

In Nigeria, veterinary assistants often make between ₦58,197 and ₦100,000 net per month at the beginning of their careers.

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