If you are a person who loves animals but possesses the ability to stay emotionally strong when working with animals, meaning that you would be able to act calm and professional when you have to work with seriously ill animals, a veterinary assistant profession is a perfect choice for your future job.
Besides the fact that it gives you satisfaction and fulfillment when you finish the case with a positive outcome, you will have to be able to handle the unpleasant side of this job.
Article Table of Contents
A veterinary assistant works alongside veterinarians and other veterinary staff and has several roles.
He/she has a chance of finding employment in veterinary practices, educational institutions, zoos, research labs and more.
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The number of animal hospitals and shelters rises and veterinarians and their staff becomes people of greater significance than the doctors.
A veterinary assistant has communication with animal owners trying to give them consolation in those difficult moments or advising them on how to take care of their pets.
He/she has to pay attention to detail and be extremely precise when recording information and perform diagnostic tests.
Last but not least, a good veterinary assistant needs to possess problem-solving skills.
Knowledge and the ability of quick thinking and acting are of crucial importance in everyday activities.
Becoming a Veterinary Assistant in Maine
To become a veterinary assistant in Maine, as well as in other states, you do not need any kind of formal education.
A finished high school and the desire to help animals is enough.
However, when thinking about the key role that veterinary assistants have in the operation of any veterinary hospital, doing blood tests or taking X-rays, you realize that this is not something that can be performed by any person with only a high school knowledge.
The job can indeed be learned on the spot, during the years of experience, but more and more veterinarians do not want to hire somebody who will need to be thought basics when he/she can have a person with significant knowledge.
Veterinary programs offered have something for anyone with an interest in animals and can provide the skills needed since students in vet programs have training in a real environment and get experience related to basic animal care, lab work and clerical duties. Graduates will serve in client care and vet support.
So, if you want to have priority among the candidates, it is better to have a kind of certificate about the education achieved about veterinary studies.
The colleges that offer this kind of education in Maine are:
- Southern Maine Community College
- Kennebec Valley Community College
- Kittery Adult Education
There are three options available for Maine citizens in association with NAVTA to become an approved veterinary assistant.
Participants can choose among the courses are available online or at certain institutions, and they are even available to both experiences veterinary assistants who are currently working but do not have a certificate and the new ones.
They need to enter and attend courses and pass the approved available options offered by the NAVTA and pass the AVA examination after it.
Once the license is given to you and you can start searching for the appropriate job.
The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) developed 35 approved programs throughout the country and it usually takes six months to a year to become a licensed veterinary assistant.
Getting a Job
As a licensed veterinary assistant, you can seek part-time or full-time employment at a veterinary clinic, animal shelter or zoo.
Maine has an increasing number of animal hospitals and especially animal shelters, meaning that the demand for new veterinary assistants is rising, too.
So, the chances of getting a job quickly and without too many difficulties are great.
The already well-known hospitals and shelters which offer job opportunities in Maine are:
- Maine Veterinary Medical Association
- Maine Pet Hospitals
- Animal Emergency Clinic of Mid-Maine
- Cumberland Animal Clinic
- Eastern Maine Emergency Veterinary Clinic
- New England Animal Hospital
- Woodbrook Animal Clinic
- Maine Animal Shelters
The annual salary of a veterinary assistant depends on both social and individual factors.
Social factors that determine the average salary of any profession are the income of its residents and the development of the region, while individual factors are the level of education, working hours, experience and the value of duties that a veterinary assistant performs.
It varies among the cities around Maine, starting from the lowest one in Bangor estimated at $ 27 095, reaching up to $ 29618 in Westbrook.
The table below shows the salary of a veterinary assistant in the state of Maine annually since it varies from one place to another.
Annual Salary Range:Annual Salary by Location:
|Location||Avg. Annual Salary|
Regional Salary in Maine
|Region||Employed||Avg. Annual Salary||Avg. Hourly Pay||Top 10% Annual Salary||Bottom 10% Annual Salary|
|Portland-South Portland, ME||190||$39,800||$19.14||$45,980||$30,180|
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.
Even though many people are working in an animal hospital, veterinary assistants are those who first meet the upset and frightened pet owner.
Dealing with humans is even more complicated than with animals, especially in this kind of stressful situation.
Other veterinary assistants’ tasks are administration, answering questions, preparing surgery and sterilize the equipment.
They need to encounter a variety of situations that involve caring for and treating animals and must observe the condition and behavior of the animals, prepare the animals and medical instruments for surgery, give anesthesia to animals and monitor their responses or euthanize seriously ill animals.
Their responsibilities are versatile and make their job an excited, but still traumatic experience.
If you ever thought that a veterinary assistant is not doing important tasks, you were completely wrong.
They often have to work long hours and nights, since some animal clinics work 24 hours a day.
So, the mistaken opinions that their job is naïve should immediately be changed, since the difficulties that the veterinary assistant has to face with, regarding both animals and even more concerned owners, are underestimated and should be given more validity and merit.