If you are a person who has always dreamt of becoming a professional who practices veterinary medicine by treating diseases, disorders, and injuries in animals, but you did not have the chance of becoming one, you might take into consideration the opportunity of becoming a veterinary assistant.
Being that you possess great communication skills, which will enable you to connect veterinarians, pet owners, and other veterinary facilities and empathy skills to provide comfort and understand the feelings of concerned pet owners, you already have all the qualifications for this job.
If you are also good at organization and time management, then a veterinary assistant vocation is ideal for you.
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Veterinary assistants are the closest and most important helpers of veterinarians.
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Besides the fact that they need to feed, water, and examine pets and other animals, to discover any symptoms of illness or disease and disinfect cages and work areas, they have numerous other significant duties.
They need to sterilize laboratory and surgical equipment, assist during the surgery, provide post-operative care and administer medication.
The development of veterinary medicine makes their role more relevant than ever since the life of animals might depend on their abilities and knowledge.
Becoming a Veterinary Assistant in Montana
Even though many veterinary assistants do not have any kind of knowledge related to veterinary medicine when they start working in an animal hospital or clinic and they learn everything there, more and more veterinarians nowadays are looking for educated assistants, who will know how to use instruments and laboratory equipment with care and to look after animals under treatment.
If you do not possess any kind of veterinary education, you will not be able to advise owners about the diseases and health problems, and explain to them how to better take care of their pets.
That is why many people decide to take courses or programs where they will learn all the necessary facts about becoming a good veterinary assistant.
Even those assistants who already have practice and experience in working in an animal hospital enroll in these programs to advance in their careers with continuing education or certification.
Some veterinary assistant campus in Montana are:
- Pima Medical Institute
- University of Montana Western
- Helena College
Having a high school diploma might be enough qualification for becoming a veterinary assistant. However, the employers who are concerned about the recognition and reputation of their clinic or shelter tend to look for a person with a professional license.
The license confirms that you have passed an oral and written examination process and achieved compulsory knowledge to work individually on all the tasks that veterinary assistant job includes.
The practical part is mandatory, to prove that he/she can work in an animal-filled environment and perform all daily duties successfully.
There are numerous advantages to being a certified veterinary assistant and this can be achieved through programs and online courses offered by NAVTA.
Getting a Job
Bear in mind the fact that those veterinarians who value and appreciate education will give priority to those licensed veterinary assistants.
So, if you want to improve your chances of getting a job, you will need to complete the appropriate program and achieve certification.
This will lead you to a lot of job opportunities and the employers themselves will decide on the criteria for selecting candidates.
Potential veterinary assistant employers in Montana:
- MTVMA (Montana Veterinary Medical Association)
- Montana Veterinary Facilities
- Banfield Pet Hospital
With the constant growth of animal owners, the employment of veterinarians, as well as veterinary assistants, is also growing, and it is estimated that it is growing much faster than the average for all occupations.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics collects the data related to the average annual salary for a Montana veterinary assistant and it is valued to be less paid than in some other states.
As in any other profession, the salaries are not the same in all places throughout the state.
The average salary depends on the location, number of animal clinics and facilities in that area and the development of the region.
The pay rate ranges from $24 504 in Missoula and Butte up to $28 393 in Billings annually.
The table below shows the average annual salary of a veterinary assistant in Montana, based on the city where he/she works:Annual Salary Range: Annual Salary by Location:
|Location||Avg. Annual Salary|
Regional Salary in Montana
|Region||Employed||Avg. Annual Salary||Avg. Hourly Pay||Top 10% Annual Salary||Bottom 10% Annual Salary|
|Great Falls, MT||40||$29,870||$14.36||$34,990||$25,510|
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.
The duties that a veterinary assistant performs daily are versatile, starting from active listening of all the concerns and questions that animal owners have, giving them full attention and understanding, through monitoring the animals and complex problem solving, up to restrain them during testing and other procedures.
Veterinary assistants typically do the following:
- Feed and bathe animals
- Clean and disinfect cages,
- sterilize surgical instruments and equipment
- Take care of animals after surgery
- Provide emergency first aid to sick and injured animals
- Give medication
- Collect blood and urine samples
The more educated and ready to advance in your profession, the more serious tasks you get.
If the veterinarian notices that you are be able to perform minor surgeries and intervention yourself, then you will be a highly respected member of the team and your salary might rise.
But, at the same time, your obligations and responsibilities will be greater.
Even though people only perceive the least important duties of a veterinary assistant, such as administrative work, answering phone calls and making the first contact with the patient and their owner, they need to know that their job is not only that.
The variety of duties that they do include all the difficulties that he/she has to face, regarding both the animal and even more concerned owners.
When you compare the requirements they have and the salary they get for it, you can see that they are not too well paid, but their satisfaction is not only in their income but in the fact that they have helped somebody whose life depended on them.