Even though pet owners usually believe that no one cares more about their beloved animals than they do, they are wrong.
People who devote all their life to help animals when needed are more in love with them than just those who keep them as pets.
Veterinarians and their helpers dedicate both their youth to achieve knowledge and education to be successful as future animal helpers, and their lives working daily with them.
They do not accept that there are situations when they are not capable of giving them the necessary help.
They represent a group of individuals who are passionate about the support of animals and offer veterinary care for our pets.
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Many people dream about becoming veterinarians but do not get a chance, so finding the job of a veterinary assistant might be equally satisfying for them.
Good veterinarians look for great veterinary assistants, dedicated people, reliable, hard-working and responsible to be their right hand in the functioning of the clinic.
Veterinary assistants need to be ready for all kinds of obstacles, difficulties, and issues, because when working in a veterinary clinic where anything can happen.
They are in charge of many things and provide the first aid if necessary, they take x-rays, calm animals during and after an examination or administer prescribed medication.
The job and requirements of a veterinary assistant are greatly depending on the prominence and size of the facility and the amount of work that it has since as a veterinary assistant you might be working with domestic or exotic animals, fieldwork, night shifts and weekends.
Becoming a Veterinary Assistant in West Virginia
Preparing for the career of a veterinary assistant should include the proper education provided by a practicing veterinarian or a college instructor.
There is no formal requirement for starting a veterinary assistant job at the moment, but when veterinarians and their assistants come into play employees might realize that they do not know everything related to the health care of the animal.
Veterinary medicine is in constant development and the needs are greater and more serious that is why constant education related to the veterinary field is necessary.
People with and without veterinary assistant practice enter approved courses which will give all the information regarding the work in an animal hospital.
The animal hospital is not only centered around animals, but also there is daily work with papers, colleges, and marketing.
A veterinary assistant program at an accredited college prepares students for all these possible duties that they might encounter.
Some veterinary assistant campus in West Virginia are:
- Pierpoint Community and Technical College
- Ross Medical Education Center
- BridgeValley Community and Technical College
Since 2010, NAVTA has decided to raise awareness of the importance of veterinary assistant education by creating programs at universities, colleges, and campuses, as well as online, to learn future assistants all the skills required to assist veterinary professionals.
Upon completion of the program, students will be able to perform laboratory work and prepare labels for medication among many other activities.
Some of the NAVTA programs can be found online like the VetMedTeam program, while others are campuses organized in various institutes, centers and hospitals, such as East Valley Institute of Technology or Jessamine Career and Technology Center.
Both experienced veterinary assistants who already possess practice and novice veterinary assistants can take advantage of three options offered by NAVTA:
- Externship Option for unemployed people
- Experiential Learner for full time working veterinary assistants
- Veterinary Assistant Program for employed ones that are working in a full-service veterinary practice.
Getting a Job
As it is already mentioned, a veterinary assistant can be a person with a high school degree passionate to help veterinarians and their clients, but when he/she applies for the job, their prospects are lower than those who possess a license, since eligibility depends on education and experience.
Candidates with a high school education once getting into the clinic will realize that to be more effective, they need to have more education and they might find themselves in an unpleasant situation.
That is why more veterinarians rather choose veterinary assistants who already know everything about animal care, including medical conditions, surgeries, vaccines and more.
Veterinary assistants can look for a job in clinics and hospitals, animal shelters and zoos if they are interested in more demanding premises or in small private facilities where the amount of work is rather lower.
Potential veterinary assistant employers in West Virginia are:
- WVVMA (West Virginia Veterinary Medical Association)
- VCA Dudley Avenue Animal Hospital
- West Virginia Pet Hospitals
- Cheat Lake Animal Hospital
- Town and Country Animal Hospital
- Valley West Veterinary Hospital
The higher spending among pet owners and the greater number of them might lead to higher wages of veterinary assistants in the future and the new job openings.
Nowadays, the salary is modest and among the lowest ones when it comes to similar jobs which are not satisfactory and should be more valued.
The average salary for a West Virginia veterinary assistant, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, varies among the cities, and it is estimated to be $ 26185 in Huntington, while it is the highest in Wheeling and Morgantown where it reaches $ 28 954 per year.
The table below shows the salary of a veterinary assistant in the state of West Virginia annually.Annual Salary Range: Annual Salary by Location:
|Location||Avg. Annual Salary|
The typical day consists of numerous duties and challenges that a veterinary assistant has to face.
Besides discussing with the owners what needs to be done and with the vet about all the cases, they need to get involved in doing treatments, cleaning wounds and cages, x-rays and the anesthetics among many others.
The animal healthcare team depends a lot on the services of veterinary assistants since their responsibilities are:
- Feeding, bathing and exercising hospitalized animals
- Providing animal care
- Providing consolation to owners
- Preparing equipment
- Scheduling appointments
- Record keeping etc.
They need to know a lot about microchipping, parasite prevention, dermatology and much more, which requires a higher level of education.