For animal lovers, a veterinary hospital is a place of greater importance than the regular hospital for humans.
Pet holders completely rely on all the staff working there, thus making them as important as veterinarians themselves.
A visit to the vet for pets and pet owners is a stressful situation, where veterinary assistants play a crucial role in terms of both animal care and answering all the questions and concerns.
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Daily activities of a veterinary assistant might include various jobs related not only to the animals but also numerous customer service jobs such as scheduling appointments, keeping and updating records, cooperating with other veterinary facilities among many others.
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Besides all this, their basic tasks are to feed and keep animals clean, sterilize operating rooms and the equipment before and after the surgery and lab work, meaning drawing blood and collecting urine samples.
Becoming a Veterinary Assistant in Alabama
When Alabama is in question, becoming a veterinary assistant does not require specific education, but the applicants with a diploma always have priority.
The education can be achieved at Alabama high schools or through certificate programs.
There is a training program educating people on necessary skills, to become a decent veterinary assistant.
Some of the campus and programs that offer this kind of education in Alabama are :
- Calhoun Community College in Decatur,
- Jefferson State Community College in Birmingham or
- Selma Innovation Technology Training Institute in Selma.
Once you have passed all their exams, you become a trained and prepared veterinary assistant who will be a successful and important part of animal healthcare teams within the state of Alabama.
When it comes to the requirements to become a veterinary assistant, there is no determined obligation in Alabama, except the desire to help animals.
Usually, the advantage is given to people who already possess a high school diploma or GED equivalency.
Some of Alabama high schools give introductory classes to train students with the basics of becoming a veterinary assistant.
Furthermore, the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) has organized 35 approved programs in the USA and various online programs, to create high quality and skillful veterinary assistants.
The programs offered online are:
There are programs in high school campus such as :
- Beaver County Career and Technology Center,
- Louisville Central High Magnet Career Academy,
- Penta Career Center, Small Animal Care Program and
- Dauphin County Technical School to mention just a few.
Adult Campus Programs offered are :
- Brookdale Community College,
- Ross Medical Education Centers,
- Mountain’s Edge Veterinary Assistant Program among many others.
Three options of getting a certification are offered by NAVTA and those are:
- Externship Option for people who do not work in a veterinary practice, but want to find a job in that field,
- Experiential Learner for people who are already veterinary assistants and
- Veterinary Assistant Program for Alabama veterinary assistants working a full-service veterinary practice.
For those who are already working as veterinary assistants in Alabama but have no certification, there is a chance of achieving a veterinary assistant certification, which will improve their position among the appreciated members of the veterinary field in Alabama.
The programs typically last from six months to a year.
Some of the classes that will be taken throughout the program are:
- Animal Life Stages Nutrition and Husbandry,
- Animal Nursing and Diagnostic Imaging,
- Pharmacology and Principles of Anesthesia and
- Surgical Assisting.
Getting a Job
After finishing the courses, the certified veterinary assistant gets offers from:
- Alabama Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) with the listings of veterinary jobs,
- VCA (Veterinary Centers of America) which has the facilities in Alabama,
- Carriage Hills Animal Hospital and Pet Resort in Montgomery and
- Riverview Animal Clinic which deals with the complete animal health care services.
Who will be hired and the criteria on which the employers decide who of the candidates fulfills the conditions it is up to the individuals.
Nevertheless, those who have certifications will be in a better position and will reach higher places among the competitors.
Getting the job is one problem, but earning a decent salary is another one.
The veterinary assistant salary ranges from $23,889 to $35,762 annually.
Nevertheless, it depends on various factors and obligations.
The usual factors which affect the amount earned are experience, work setting, meaning that successful clinics can pay their assistants higher wages, certification and location since some areas have higher pay rates than the others.
The table below shows the average veterinary assistant salary in the state of Alabama annually since it varies from one place to another.Annual Salary Range: Annual Salary by Location:
|Location||Avg. Annual Salary|
Regional Salary in Alabama
|Region||Employed||Avg. Annual Salary||Avg. Hourly Pay||Top 10% Annual Salary||Bottom 10% Annual Salary|
|Florence-Muscle Shoals, AL||50||$26,250||$12.62||$29,950||$21,170|
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.
The collected data is analyzed by the Certified Compensation Professionals at animal clinics and pet hospitals of all sizes, to present this range of annual salaries.
Veterinary assistants are there to help veterinarians as well as doing some not so demanding tasks such as teeth cleaning, bandaging, wound cleaning, etc.
In Alabama, veterinary assistants do not perform surgery or prescribe medications since no college degree is needed to work as a veterinary assistant.
What is even better is that a veterinary assistant does not have to work only in clinics, but in zoos, rescue centers, feedlots, pharmaceutical companies, and animal rehabilitation centers.
Being responsible for pets and other animals that have symptoms of disease or injury, veterinary assistants perform a great number of serious tasks in animal clinics and hospitals.
Even though many people think that they only feed, water and clean animals, that is not all they do, and their job is not naïve at all.
Some of their duties are taking care of medication, pre and post-operation care of animals and working in a laboratory, which means that they are seriously involved in the medical care and curing process.
After finishing schools or courses, Alabama veterinary assistants are fully specialized to work in animal hospitals and research labs and properly deal with clients.
The certificate gives them not only priority over others but self-esteem and self-confidence when performing the job which is certainly more important.