How to Become a Veterinary Assistant in Massachusetts

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How to Become a Veterinary Assistant in Massachusetts

A veterinary assistant job is rewarding and satisfying only for those people who would not mind spending all working days around animals and cooperating with people as well.

If you think that your love for hugging cats and patting dogs can earn you a decent salary, you can try becoming a veterinary assistant.

What you need to know is that it is not the only skill that you need to have and playing and caring for animals would not be your only task.

You need to take into consideration the various roles that a veterinary assistant has in a typical veterinary clinic and all the obligations and responsibilities that go with this job.

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Job Description

First of all, a veterinary assistant is a person who works in a veterinary hospital, shelter or clinic.

The veterinary team considers those places of equal significance as the human hospitals since animals deserve equal treatment as humans.

A veterinary assistant’s everyday tasks are supporting veterinarians, providing basic care for pets and non-farm animals, feeding and bathing animals, disinfecting exam rooms, giving medications or vaccinations among many others.

The amount of daily work and their obligations depend on the location of the veterinarian and his/her reputation.

If a veterinary clinic offers that animals can stay in its premises, veterinary assistants have to work night shifts.

They can also have some fieldwork and might work on holidays and weekends.

Becoming a Veterinary Assistant in Massachusetts

For those people interested in becoming veterinary assistants, a good thing to know is that the state of Massachusetts does to require any kind of formal education for a veterinary assistant vocation, but a high school diploma or GED equivalency is obligatory.

Because they work under the supervision of a veterinarian, many veterinary assistants decide to stop their further education and focus on the work in a veterinary clinic.

Once they are hired, they realize that just a part of the whole job there is entrusted to veterinarians themselves and that all the staff working there has its role in dealing with pets and pet owners.

Finding out that they need to possess some kind of knowledge related to that field, they decide to get further education and become certified individuals.

It is good that both experienced and newcomers can enter some of the organized courses and programs which will prepare them to work with vets, and care for sick and injured animals.

These courses include subjects related to a veterinary workplace, care and advice about sick or injured animals and a range of medical, surgical and dental nursing procedures.

What is even more important is the training in the real environment which learn students how to adequately perform their responsibilities once hired.

Some of the campus and programs that offer this kind of education in Massachusetts are:

  • Ethos Health Veterinary Assistant Program
  • Worcester Technical High School
  • Massasoit Community College


Since the requirements are not rigorous, people with a high school diploma get the job, but the priority is given to those that have a license.

For those students who take veterinary assistant classes during their high school, there is the opportunity to take the NAVTA certification exam upon graduation.

Several other programs across the country offer training and practice for the veterinary assistant profession.

NAVTA’s programs are not compulsory but are present since 2010 to help both experienced and inexperienced people enthusiastic about working with animals.

Today, there are 35 approved programs, with locations in the United States and Canada, as well as four accredited online programs.

Three different options can be taken to become an approved  Massachusetts veterinary assistant offered by NAVTA:

  • Externship Option
  • Experiential Learner
  • Veterinary Assistant Program.

However, once you get you AVA, you will need to renew it every 2 years, by earning 10 continuing education credits.

Getting a Job

Once you learn how to identify the causes of disease, lab procedures, and treatment methods, you can start searching for a job.

You can potentially work in animal shelters, veterinary hospitals, and clinics and zoos.

Massachusetts has to offer clinics and hospitals where future veterinary assistants can work, such as:

These well-known and respected clinics have achieved numerous awards for the great care of all kinds of pets.

The chances of getting a job here are equal for all the candidates, and the staff decides who will be hired, but the participants with the certificate will have better chances for sure.


The salary of a veterinary assistant is relatively low, but Massachusetts belongs to that group of states that has higher salaries in comparison with some other states.

The approximate salary of a veterinary assistant ranges between $30,000 and $33,000, depending on your location in Massachusetts.

The difference among the major cities is not so significant, but it still exists, and that is caused by the advancement of the area and social situation.

The number of working hours and the workload also affect the salary of individual veterinary assistant.

The table below shows the salary of a veterinary assistant in the state of Massachusetts annually since it varies from one place to another.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Arlington,MA $33,725
Attleboro,MA $31,397
Barnstable,MA $31,265
Boston,MA $33,725
Brockton,MA $32,109
Brookline,MA $33,725
Cambridge,MA $33,725
Chicopee,MA $30,982
Fall River,MA $31,249
Fitchburg,MA $31,705
Framingham,MA $32,383
Haverhill,MA $31,427
Holyoke,MA $30,982
Hyannis,MA $31,152
Lawrence,MA $31,427
Leominster,MA $31,150
Lowell,MA $32,316
Lynn,MA $33,725
Malden,MA $33,725
Medford,MA $33,725
Methuen,MA $31,427
New Bedford,MA $31,249
Newton,MA $33,725
Peabody,MA $33,685
Pittsfield,MA $30,203
Plymouth,MA $31,930
Quincy,MA $33,725
Revere,MA $33,725
Salem,MA $33,680
Somerville,MA $33,725
Springfield,MA $30,982
Taunton,MA $32,079
Waltham,MA $33,725
Westfield,MA $30,982
Weymouth,MA $32,109
Worcester,MA $31,219

Regional Salary in Massachusetts

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Barnstable Town, MA80$38,890$18.7$46,500$34,520
Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH1,640$44,020$21.17$58,860$31,820
Springfield, MA-CT140$38,020$18.28$46,300$29,640
Worcester, MA-CT210$40,560$19.5$51,900$31,850
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers, OCC Code 31-9096, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.


The everyday duties of a veterinary assistant include not only administrative work but also health care.

Many people believe that their job is not demanding at all because they do not become acquainted with the difficulties that a veterinary assistant has to face.

The duties of a veterinary assistant are huge and all animal health care clinics trust them and rely on them.

They provide animals with food and water; take x-rays; hold animals during treatment and assist with surgery.

Furthermore, that veterinary assistant who works in rescue centers and animal rehabilitation centers have higher and more serious responsibilities which make their work even more significant.

USA Veterinary Assisting by State

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