If you live in Colorado and want to begin a career as a veterinary assistant, the best way to start is to find the right training program. The proper program will have professionals teaching you everything you need to know to begin working in this position as soon as you complete the course.
While every program is unique, you’ll usually learn how to clean and handle equipment, how to handle chemicals, procedural techniques, administrative duties, animal breed information and identification, medical terminology and more.
Colorado, like other states, has multiple programs available across the state for you to choose from. Each will offer the proper tools for starting your career, but always make sure that the program you choose is accredited and will be acceptable in the industry so you can begin working immediately.
Job Criteria and Program Basics
As a veterinary assistant, you’ll be constantly called upon to do a variety of duties. You’ll have to be trustworthy and flexible, as your job can change from one day to the next depending on what the clients and your supervisors need from you. As a vet assistant, you’ll interact with people and their pets on a daily basis. You’ll also be caring for the animals, preparing for exams or surgeries, maintaining the inventory as well as office records, grooming the animals and performing other miscellaneous duties. The right training course will teach you how to do everything you need to do on the job so you can enter the workforce as soon as you complete the program.
Each available program will have its own benefits and parameters. The length of each program can vary as can the cost and structure. Most veterinary assistant programs last anywhere from 100 to 300 hours over the span of weeks or months. They’ll usually consist of the classroom portion of the course as well as field training.
The courses can also vary in terms of cost. On average, these kinds of programs can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000; however, there are some that cost quite a bit more. For example, Pima Medical Institute in Denver and Aurora costs close to $14,000. Most tuition covers the course, lab equipment and use, uniforms and textbooks. Online courses are also available and can cost anywhere from $500 up to $2,000.
While the courses can be expensive, they’re well worth it, as veterinary assistants in Colorado earn, on average, $24,000 a year. This is highly dependent on where you work. For example, in the larger cities in Colorado vet assistants can make closer to $30,000 a year. It’s also a growing industry with more job openings every year. With this need going unfulfilled, salaries are expected to go up, so the course is well worth the expense.
|Area||Total Employed||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Salary|
|Colorado Springs, CO||100||$12.17||$25,310|
|Grand Junction, CO||50||$13.21||$27,470|
There are a lot of different programs available in Colorado. Some of the better-known training courses are found at:
- Community College of Denver
- Front Range Community College in Fort Collins
- Colorado Academy of Veterinary Technology in Colorado Springs
- Pima Medical Institute with locations in Colorado Springs, Denver and Aurora
When looking at these programs as well as the others, compare costs, what the courses offer, accreditations and the length of the courses in order to choose the best one for you.
Educational Requirements to Begin Training and Work
At this time, Colorado has no state-wide requirements in order to become a veterinary assistant. Each course offers its own completion certificate, but there is no official certification that you must acquire to work in the industry.
That being said, you can pursue a certification to become an approved veterinary assistant (AVA). This is a nationally recognized certification that is given out by NAVTA (National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America) upon completion of an accredited program. These programs are available online and also offered through the Veterinary Assistant Program at the Colorado Academy of Veterinary Technology and the program offered by Front Range Community College in Fort Collins. All you have to do is complete the course and pay $100 to take the qualifying exam. You will earn the certification when you pass the exam. After that, you’ll have to renew your certification every two years at a cost of $10 and take continuing education courses.
While this certification isn’t necessary, it can sometimes allow you to demand a higher salary or help you get work in larger, more prestigious facilities. This designation is also recognized nationally, so you’re free to move out of state and still remain in your line of work without starting over.
Once you complete your basic veterinary assistant training course, you’re able to work in the industry. Expect to work in places like:
- Veterinary Centers of America (locations throughout Colorado)
- Vetco Wellness Centers in Petco (locations throughout Colorado)
- Banfield Pet Hospital (locations throughout Colorado)
With this information on hand, you can find the best veterinary assistant program in Colorado and begin your journey to your new career. Remember, compare your options and always choose what’s best for you and your personal needs.
College and University Listings
2766 Janitell Road, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80906-4944Veterinary Assisting – Certificate Program
Colorado Academy of Veterinary Technology’s Certificate program is based at their campus in the city of Colorado Springs. The majority of of the school’s 75 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Council on Occupational Education. The cost of tuition is likely to be in the order of $11,435 per year. Learning materials may cost in the order of $800, depending on the program.
3770 Citadel Drive North, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80909Veterinary Assistant – Certificate Program
The Certificate program at Pima Medical Institute is offered at their Colorado Springs campus in the city of Colorado Springs, CO. The college has approximately 563 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools. The cost of tuition for the Vet Tech program is about $12,024 annually, while books and supplies may cost around $743. Program completion is normally 8 months.
1111 W. Colfax Ave., Denver, Colorado 80204-2026Veterinary Assistant – Certificate Program
Community College of Denver’s Certificate program in Veterinary Assistant is taught at their campus in the city of Denver, CO. This public college has approximately 10,296 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. The cost of tuition for students living in the state is roughly about $3,509 and for students from other states around $13,179 for each academic year, while study materials may cost around $1,800, although this varies from program to program.
3645 W 112th Ave, Westminster, Colorado 80031Veterinary Technician Assistant – Certificate Program
The Veterinary Technician Assistant Certificate program at Front Range Community College is based at their campus in Westminster in Adams County, CO. The majority of of the school’s 18,761 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. The cost of tuition for students living in the state is about $3,527 and for students from other states around $13,244 for each academic year, while study materials may cost roughly $1,800, although this will depend on the program.
500 Airport Blvd, Aurora, Colorado 80011-9307Veterinary Assistant – Certificate Program
The Certificate program at Pickens Technical College can be taken at their campus in the city of Aurora. This public college has about 1,084 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. Tuition fees for in-state students are generally around $2,376 and for out-of-state students approximately $4,656 annually. Books and supplies can cost around $600, although this will depend on the program.
13750 E. Mississippi Avenue, Aurora, Colorado 80012-0000Veterinary Assistant – Certificate Program
Pima Medical Institute’s Certificate program in Veterinary Assistant is offered at their Aurora campus in the city of Aurora, CO. This private, for-profit college has around 315 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools. Tuition fees for the Vet Tech program are generally around $16,443 annually. Books and supplies can cost around $2,117. The typical program completion time is 12 months.
7475 Dakin St Suite 100, Denver, Colorado 80221Veterinary Assistant – Certificate Program
The Certificate program at Pima Medical Institute can be taken at their Denver campus in Denver in Adams County. Most of the school’s 944 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools. Tuition fees for the Vet Tech program are in the order of $12,024 yearly. Study materials can cost about $743. Typically, the program is completed in 8 months.
* Tuition fees and accredition status are correct at the time of writing, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (http://nces.ed.gov/). Confirm with college before applying.
Colorado residents have further educational options in the neighboring states of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. You can find vet technician programs in Colorado here.