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How do I Become a Veterinary Assistant?

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  • Written By: Tara Barnett
  • Edited By: Jacob Harkins
  • Last Modified Date: 30 July 2018
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Anyone who loves animals and has sufficient organizational skills can become a veterinary assistant. There are no degrees or special qualifications required for this level of work, although many people choose to continue education and move on to jobs as veterinary technicians or even veterinarians. Even though there is no veterinary assistant degree, there are certain other qualifications and experiences that can help a person become a veterinary assistant, and possibly start with higher pay.

When trying to become a veterinary assistant, it is a good idea to have a general understanding of what the job entails. Much of a veterinary assistant's job centers on office work, such as answering phones, filing records, and dealing with payments. Some work does involve animals, and a veterinary assistant may be responsible for weighing and preparing animals for an examination, or for providing assistance during an examination or procedure. Most of the time, a veterinarian or veterinary technician will work with the animals, and the veterinary assistant will simply assist the certified professional in his or her duties.

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A person can become a veterinary technician by simply applying for an available job and being hired without prior experience. All the skills required for the position are typically taught on the job. While a college degree is not required to become a veterinary assistant, a high school diploma is usually expected unless the job is unpaid. Many clinics look for a person with prior office experience, and some seek people who have experience working with animals, but these same people may overlook these preferences if they find a candidate with enthusiasm and devotion to the job.

As this is a desirable job for many people, it is important to obtain experience that makes one a particularly good fit for the position. One of the ways a person can become a veterinary assistant who stands out is to volunteer to work with animals at a shelter, which often entails office work as well. A recommendation from a supervisor at an animal shelter can be a real edge when applying for a job as a veterinary assistant.

Taking classes that are intended to teach veterinary assistant skills may be an asset, but many employers are even more impressed with applicants who have taken more general animal behavior courses, or who are working towards becoming veterinarians themselves. It is important to include special qualifications like these in an application. Demonstrating a love of animals and a professional attitude can be all it takes to become a veterinary assistant.

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