For most people nowadays pets became members of their families, meaning that their welfare is of crucial importance.
That makes veterinary vocation even more demanding and requires a higher level of knowledge in dealing with animals.
If you consider yourself an absolute pet lover ready to dedicate your life to animal welfare then a bright career as a veterinary assistant awaits you, but you need to have in mind the fact that veterinary assistants play a crucial role in helping out veterinarians.
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A veterinary assistant is a person who performs tasks about taking care of both big and small animals.
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Every pet hospital relies on contributions from its veterinary assistants.
Each day in an animal hospital hides a myriad of work-related responsibilities that a veterinary assistant has to face with.
They are examining injured or ill animals, provide comfort and support to pet owners when their beloved animals undergo surgical procedures and keep records updated.
Although veterinary assistants assist veterinarians and other veterinary care staff, some responsibilities are left to them and they have to deal with it alone.
Becoming a Veterinary Assistant in Missouri
Those eager to become veterinary assistants should take into consideration the fact that some kind of education is necessary to be ready to act in emergencies.
Even though you might learn many things while working with a veterinarian, there are training programs that offer license or certification and at the same time prepare you to be a good and competent veterinary assistant.
With having passed the training program, you get acquainted with all the demands that this vocation can put in front of you.
The curriculum covers issues related to basic animal health, care for pets when they are in the surgery and routine examinations and procedures that veterinary assistants are often asked to help with.
You learn to understand how the body functions normally, some basic anatomy and physiology of animals and to understand the areas of reproduction and genes.
Possible colleges where all this can be learned in Missouri are:
- Midwest Institute
- Metropolitan Community College
- Jefferson College
Veterinary assistants do not have to worry about solving problems since they work alongside veterinarians.
Nevertheless, there are emergencies when a veterinarian is not available and everything is in the hands of an assistant.
That is when knowledge and education come into play.
Veterinary assistant certificate programs offer students experience working with animals through hands-on experiences.
The best education can be achieved by enrolling in some of NAVTA certified programs.
Some of the NAVTA programs offered online are:
Both online programs and regular programs at schools, institutes, and colleges are designed to suit both employed veterinary assistants and newcomers.
Courses often offered to include animal health vocabulary, veterinary pharmacology, animal injury care, and front-office procedures.
Getting a Job
Veterinary assistants usually look for jobs in laboratories, animal hospitals, and clinics, depending on the level of education they have.
Since facilities often stay open around the clock, so veterinary assistants may have to work irregular hours, part-time, full-time, night shifts and even during holidays.
Veterinary assistant job opportunities are expected to be even more attractive than they are now because the number of job openings is expected to exceed the number of new graduates.
Demand for veterinary care also has grown throughout the recent years, as animals’ medical care is an important priority for most owners.
What is more important is the fact that the number of veterinary assistant positions should continue to increase.
Here is the list of potential employers in Missouri:
- VCA All Creatures Animal Hospital
- VCA Bal-Coeur Animal Hospital
- VCA Cloud Animal Hospital
- VCA Parkcrest Animal Hospital and Pet Lodge
- Banfield Pet Hospital
- Manchester Highland
- South Mehlville
- Vetco Wellness Centers and Vaccination Clinics inside PETCO
- Located in St. Louis Petco
- Located in Fairview Heights Petco
- Located in Florissant Petco
- Located in Arnold Petco
Once deciding to become a veterinary assistant, you should not expect to have a high salary.
Also, those who are not licensed cannot be paid equally with some other assistants who got educational training to become veterinary assistants at community colleges, technical schools or online courses.
Employment of veterinary assistants is projected to grow which might cause the increment of annual salary.
The salary varies from city to city, depending on numerous factors.
When it comes to Missouri, the lowest salary is in Joplin estimated at $28,353, while the highest is in Florissant $ 29,144.
There is not a significant difference among cities as it is present in other states.Annual Salary Range: Annual Salary by Location:
|Location||Avg. Annual Salary|
Regional Salary in Missouri
|Region||Employed||Avg. Annual Salary||Avg. Hourly Pay||Top 10% Annual Salary||Bottom 10% Annual Salary|
|Cape Girardeau, MO-IL||30||$28,900||$13.89||$36,270||$23,650|
|Jefferson City, MO||50||$29,060||$13.97||$37,220||$23,530|
|Kansas City, MO-KS||690||$32,080||$15.43||$43,310||$26,260|
|St. Louis, MO-IL||1,070||$32,410||$15.58||$37,150||$27,840|
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.
Veterinary assistants typically do the following:
- Feed, bathe and exercise animals
- Clean and disinfect cages,
- Make sure that everything is sterilized in examination and operation rooms
- Restrain animals
- Take care of animals after surgery
- provide first aid to sick and injured animals
- Give medication
- Assist in the collection of blood, urine, and tissue samples.
All these are daily duties, but depending on the education and talents of each assistant, some of them may be asked to even perform minor surgery and intervention.
Working without the supervision of a veterinarian makes him/her a valuable member of an animal healthcare team.
The easiest duty of all is providing customer-service skills as they will work with animal owners and collaborate with other facilities.
The veterinary assistant job may be rewarding and satisfying only for those people who would not mind spending all working day working not only with animals but cooperating with people as well.
Being a veterinary assistant means combining your love of animals with what you do for a living.
Future possible candidates for this vocation should take into consideration the various roles that a veterinary assistant performs in a veterinary clinic or animal shelter and all the obligations and responsibilities that go with this job.
And what is even more important is to understand that you will have to handle the unpleasant side of this job.