How to Become a Veterinary Assistant in Pennsylvania

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How to Become a Veterinary Assistant in Pennsylvania

If you consider yourself a person who would not mind spending all day around animals then a veterinary science and medicine might have a perfect job for you.

To become a veterinarian, higher education is required and a lot of studying and practice.

Unless you can afford it, then you might dedicate yourself to the veterinary assistant profession which is less demanding but not at all negligible.

However, you need to have in mind that hugging cats and patting dogs can is not the only skill that you need to possess to become a veterinary assistant, even though it is inevitable.

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You should recognize and accept the various roles you might have in a typical veterinary clinic and all the obligations and responsibilities that this job is followed with.

Job Description

There are more and more people who consider that animals deserve equal treatment as humans.

Whether they are pet owners or veterinarians, they are all worried about animal welfare and health.

If you decide to try your luck with a veterinary assistant job, you should know that their tasks are to support veterinarians, provide basic care for pets and non-farm animals, feed and bathe animals, administer medications or vaccinations among many others.

They also help to maintain a clean and safe work environment, since that is the basis for animal recovery.

The location of the veterinarian determines where they will work, but some clinics might have fieldwork, so they might have to travel.

In those clinics where pets stay in after the intervention, veterinary assistants have night work and they have to work on holidays and weekends.

Becoming a Veterinary Assistant in Pennsylvania

Even though veterinarians are the most responsible people in a veterinary clinic, since they deal with serious illnesses and injuries, the facility would not be able to function without the other veterinary personnel.

Each of the staff working there has its role and requirements, and only if they manage to cooperate and work synchronously the daily issues will be solved effectively.

Besides the fact that veterinary assistant can be the person without any kind of formal education related to veterinary medicine because they work under the supervision of a veterinarian, a person who possesses some kind of knowledge would represent a more appropriate candidate for that job.

Veterinarians highly rely on them and that explains their request for educated and certified individuals when choosing their future employee.

Numerous programs across the country offer training and practice for both employed and unemployed veterinary assistants.

Some veterinary assistant campus in Pennsylvania are:

  • Dauphin County Technical School
  • Parkway West Technology Center
  • Lancaster County Career and Technology Center


People with a high school diploma should apply for the job of a veterinary assistant and might get it, but the priority is given to those that have a license.

Many students take the opportunity to enter the NAVTA certification exam upon graduation.

NAVTA offers online programs for veterinary assistants, including Penn Foster, Animal Behavior College and VetMedTeam where you can learn at your own pace, from the comfort of your home, or you can go to colleges and universities to practice your skills and achieve necessary education to be a successful veterinary assistant.

The programs usually take six months to a year and you learn how to identify the causes of disease, lab procedures and treatment methods among many other things.

Getting a Job

When it comes to job offerings and opportunities, the larger clinic, the greater are demands and duties of a veterinary assistant.

You can search for an appropriate job as a veterinary assistant whether you have a license or not, but it is important to think about whether you are an appropriate person for that job and whether you can fulfill duties that the work demands.

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

The clinics are well known and respected with numerous awards achieved for the great care of all kinds of pets and that is why it is more likely that they will elect candidates with the certificate.

Potential veterinary assistant employers in Pennsylvania are:


The average salary of a veterinary assistant in the USA is relatively low.

It is estimated to be between $23,000 and $35,000, depending on the veterinary clinic location.

When it comes to Pennsylvania, the annual salary of a veterinary assistant differs and it depends on numerous factors.

The lowest salary is given to veterinary assistants in Wilkes Barre $ 27294 while the highest is in Levittown $ 33 502.

The table below shows the salary of a veterinary assistant in the state of Pennsylvania annually since it varies from one place to another and the difference is not insignificant.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Allentown,PA $29,559
Altoona,PA $27,929
Bethlehem,PA $29,559
Doylestown,PA $33,404
Easton,PA $29,512
Erie,PA $27,386
Greensburg,PA $28,246
Harrisburg,PA $28,865
Johnstown,PA $27,383
Lancaster,PA $29,046
Lebanon,PA $29,026
Levittown,PA $33,502
Philadelphia,PA $31,901
Pittsburgh,PA $29,132
Reading,PA $29,319
Scranton,PA $27,365
State College,PA $27,751
Stroudsburg,PA $29,920
West Chester,PA $31,635
Wilkes Barre,PA $27,294
Williamsport,PA $28,241
York,PA $28,916

Regional Salary in Pennsylvania

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ270$32,600$15.67$37,000$26,970
Bloomsburg-Berwick, PA30$30,880$14.85$35,430$28,290
Chambersburg-Waynesboro, PA50$30,960$14.88$36,490$23,870
East Stroudsburg, PA60$31,330$15.06$36,730$24,430
Erie, PA70$29,440$14.15$35,710$22,530
Gettysburg, PA30$31,750$15.26$35,580$23,190
Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA170$32,280$15.52$36,630$26,890
Johnstown, PA30$27,390$13.17$34,820$20,940
Lancaster, PA190$32,590$15.67$36,250$27,620
Lebanon, PA30$30,300$14.57$36,720$23,040
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD1,920$35,010$16.83$43,690$28,510
Pittsburgh, PA870$32,820$15.78$38,380$27,620
Scranton--Wilkes-Barre--Hazleton, PA100$32,400$15.58$38,160$24,100
State College, PA90$31,290$15.04$37,380$23,070
Williamsport, PA40$29,120$14$36,660$20,300
* 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.


A veterinary assistant has duties related to both administrative work and animal health care.

Their easiest job is scheduling appointments, making the first contact with clients and providing animals with food and water.

All the other duties are challenging and responsible.

They need to take x-rays; hold animals during treatment and assist the veterinarian with surgery.

Veterinary assistant skills are so diverse that they can complete a wide array of duties and all animal health care clinic staff trust them and rely on them.

When it comes to that veterinary assistant who works in rescue centers and animal rehabilitation centers, they have much higher and more serious responsibilities, making their job even more significant.


The average salary is proof that the veterinary assistant profession is underestimated.

They do not only help animals but put their life at risk of being bitten or hurt during the examination process or get some kind of infection.

Veterinary assistants are seriously involved in the medical care and curing process of wounded or ill animals.

The public awareness of their importance should be raised and they should be more respected.

USA Veterinary Assisting by State

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