Becoming a Veterinary Assistant in Connecticut
Veterinary assistants perform a vital role in animal healthcare facilities. They may work in animal hospitals, clinics, shelters and zoos and perform a variety of duties to assist veterinarians and veterinary technicians. If you have a passion for animals, working as an assistant in the veterinary field will undoubtedly be a rewarding career choice.
Veterinary assistants in Connecticut carry a number of roles while offering supportive animal care services. Among the most common duties, veterinary assistants are responsible for the following:
- Cleaning and maintaining cages
- Feeding and bathing pets
- Ensuring all animals are comfortable and safely housed
- Taking biological samples including blood, urine or feces for testing
- Working in the front office and interacting with pet owners
- Administering medication prescribed by the veterinarian
- Maintaining records
- Restraining animals during exams and procedures
- Assisting the veterinarian or vet tech during surgical procedures
Today’s veterinary field in Connecticut is driven by the need to provide the highest quality of care to these animal companions, including indoor pets, zoo animals and farm animals. The Connecticut job market, which currently holds about 660 working vet assistants throughout the state, is experiencing growth and is expected to continue to grow. By 2020, there is projected to be a 4-percent growth of job opportunities in the state. The annual mean wage for veterinary assistants is a competitive $35,720, which is higher than most other states.
|Area||Total Employed||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Salary|
|Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT||80||$14.65||$30,470|
|New Haven, CT||260||$23.14||$48,130|
Connecticut Veterinary Assistant Education and Certification
The state has not set forth any minimum education or certification requirements to work as a veterinary assistant in Connecticut. Yet, the majority of assistants in the state hold a minimum of a high school diploma or GED equivalency and many opt for further education. You can undergo veterinary assistant training in Connecticut by several different avenues, including at local colleges and online.
Manchester Community College offers an on-campus veterinary assistant program that is certified by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA). This two-semester, 160-hour course and 60-hour internship program will equip you to care for animals in hospitals, zoos, shelters and clinics while teaching you how to recognize signs of illness and disease, how to perform exam room procedures, how to operate radiology and diagnostic imaging equipment and how to perform front office procedures as well as a number of other skills. Upon successful completion of the veterinary assistant program, you will be eligible to receive the nationally recognized Approved Veterinary Assistant (AVA) certification, which can help increase your chances of finding a job and your earning potential.
Penn Foster Career School is another excellent place to pursue veterinary assistant training. At Penn Foster, you can undergo training online through affordable classes at your own pace. When you finish the program at this school, you can take the AVA exam as Penn Foster’s veterinary assistant program is also NAVTA-approved.
Becoming a Connecticut Veterinary Assistant
When you are ready to find your first position as a Connecticut veterinary assistant, you can look in a number of places, from private practices to nationally known animal hospitals with Connecticut locations, such as Banfield Pet Hospital. Banfield has seven locations in the state, including East Hartford, Manchester, Waterbury, North Haven and Norwalk. The Veterinary Centers of America (VCA) is another good place to apply. This nationwide organization has four animal hospitals in the state, located in Bristol, South Windsor, East Haven and Plainfield, Connecticut.