People who like working with animals might consider becoming a veterinary assistant.
It might sound like an easy job, but veterinary assistants might face with more tasks than you might think.
The veterinary assistant world is not only about helping clients understand that their pet is in good hands but be involved in the process of intervention or surgery.
It requires much more than just providing compassion to the animals and their owners.
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They must provide effective, high-quality care and to be continually inspired for new knowledge and improvement throughout their whole career.
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Veterinary assistants play a pivotal role since their help allows other team members to perform their tasks and responsibilities.
These activities include assisting the veterinarian during surgery, collecting and preparing samples for laboratory testing.
Other minor but not less important tasks are documenting and maintaining animal patient records, helping to fill scripts or cooperate with other veterinary facilities.
So, there are more things that veterinary assistants daily do than most people realize.
Becoming a Veterinary Assistant in Michigan
When hiring, veterinary institutions determine the criteria on which they will decide who to employ.
The state of Michigan does not have a set of education and training requirements for becoming a veterinary assistant since some clinics require a potential employee to have at least a high school diploma or GED (General Educational Development).
However, this minimum prerequisite might not be enough for more prominent and recognized clinics.
They might prefer someone who has relevant coursework provided by an accredited Veterinary Assistant Program or any kind of license or certification.
The possible colleges and courses organized in Michigan can be found in:
- Ross Medical Education Center
- Baker College
- Ross Medical Education Center
The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) has created the Approved Veterinary Assistant (AVA) designation with licensed courses available throughout the USA and Canada.
These courses can be attended by anyone interested in getting a certificate in the veterinary field.
These are the different options that can be taken to become an approved veterinary assistant offered by NAVTA.
- Externship Option includes the practical training required by the veterinarians when hiring.
- Experiential Learner for those veterinary assistants that are working a 20-hour weekly minimum.
- Veterinary Assistant Program is also designed for currently employed veterinary assistants.
The curriculum comprises lectures and training which prepare you for a successful veterinary assistant job, meaning that these programs focus both on practical and theoretical knowledge.
The things that you learn here are diagnostic processes, causes of diseases, animal anatomy and physiology and parasitology, among many other things.
After all the lectures, you are obliged to sit an exam and get a passing grade, to receive a documenting certificate.
However, once you get you AVA, you will need to renew it every 2 years, by earning 10 continuing education credits.
If you cannot start working immediately after getting a certification, it is wise to volunteer or intern at various animal shelters to gain experience, as every job prefers that their employees have previous work experience.
Getting a Job
Everybody is eager to start working instantly after finishing the studies, but that might not be always the case.
The need for veterinary assistants is increasing and the places where they can look for a job are various.
They can choose to work at a wildlife refuge, veterinary clinic, zoo, animal shelter or a nonprofit organization.
Some of the veterinary assistant employers in Michigan are:
- Michigan Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA)
- VCA (Veterinary Centers of America)
- Vetco Wellness Centers and Vaccination Clinics inside PETCO
- Located in Sterling Heights Petco
- Located in Lake Orion Petco
- Located in Ann Arbor Petco
- Located in Detroit Petco
When we take into consideration all the responsibilities that a veterinary assistant has during a day, since he/she needs to prepare everything for the veterinarian, then we can say that their salaries are not sufficient and satisfactory.
The average annual veterinary assistant salary was approximately $24,740.
Those areas which have higher standards of living are more likely to pay higher salaries
When it comes to Michigan, there is a difference between the salaries in major cities, starting from the lowest one in Flint which is $27 422 up to the highest one in Ann Arbor reaching $31 120.
Here is the table of annual salaries of veterinary assistants in various cities in the state of Michigan.Annual Salary Range: Annual Salary by Location:
|Location||Avg. Annual Salary|
Regional Salary in Michigan
|Region||Employed||Avg. Annual Salary||Avg. Hourly Pay||Top 10% Annual Salary||Bottom 10% Annual Salary|
|Ann Arbor, MI||170||$33,860||$16.28||$38,620||$29,400|
|Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI||380||$32,740||$15.74||$37,370||$28,620|
|Lansing-East Lansing, MI||230||$33,150||$15.94||$38,290||$29,080|
|Niles-Benton Harbor, MI||30||$32,780||$15.76||$38,140||$28,920|
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.
A veterinary assistant has to deal with numerous daily challenges.
As an animal lover, you should also know that your first part of the job will be dealing with people.
Interaction with pet owners and providing consolation is your daily duty.
Be ready to work long hours, double shifts or last-minute shifts, depending on the amount of work that the facility has.
Helping animals can be rewarding but at the same time, you need to be prepared for the worse possible outcome.
A veterinary assistant usually works under the supervision of a veterinarian, but sometimes, talented and qualified assistants might be left without supervision.
They need to provide basic care for pets, administer medicine or even do a minor intervention, meaning that they always need to strive to achieve more knowledge to be able to manage emergencies.
For an animal lover, dealing with animals and helping them all day might sound like a dream job. But it’s important to understand both the positive and negative sides that this dream has for you.
You will need to be physically strong to stand a wide range of tasks on a typical day.
You need to find pleasure and fulfillment in the job itself since the vet assistant salary is not so satisfying.
On the other hand, there will always be a demand for veterinary assistants worldwide, so your chances of getting a job are great.
All in all, this occupation should be more respected because veterinary assistants are seriously involved in the medical care and curing process of wounded or ill animals.