Becoming a Veterinary Assistant in Delaware
Few jobs are more rewarding for animal lovers than that of a veterinary assistant. These professionals work to compassionately ease the experience of a visit to the veterinarian for both pets and their owners. If you have a soft spot for animals, you may want to consider a career as a Delaware veterinary assistant.
Vet assistants aid veterinary technicians and veterinarians with all aspects of animal care. Some of their responsibilities may include tending to the daily needs of animals including feeding, providing water for and walking pets. They may also be required to clean bedding and disinfect cages, exam rooms and other treatment areas. Sterilization of medical and surgical equipment may be another task required of you as a veterinary assistant. Other responsibilities may include:
- Performing laboratory tests
- Restraining animals during tissue sampling and/or blood/urine collection for testing
- Assisting the veterinarian or veterinary technician during surgery
- Maintaining patient charts
- Communicating with pet owners about the course of treatment and how they can offer optimal at-home care for the comfort of their pets
Education and Certification Requirements for Delaware Veterinary Assistants
The state of Delaware has not set forth any educational requirements to work as a veterinary assistant. Most animal healthcare facilities, however, do prefer to hire assistants with a high school diploma or GED equivalency.
Many Delaware veterinary assistants opt to pursue training before seeking employment. Attending a veterinary assistant training program may prove to be beneficial when you begin the process of looking for a job, and many veterinary practices prefer to hire candidates who have some sort of prior experience.
Although the state of Delaware does not offer any on-campus training programs for veterinary assistants, you can pursue training online through Penn Foster Career School, which is a program approved by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA). With Penn Foster, you can expect to learn all you need to know to work as a veterinary assistant through courses that cover animal behavior, handling and restraint as well as small and large animal nursing. You will also learn animal healthcare terminology, emergency care, animal nutrition and more. After completing the course, you will then undergo an eight-week externship at a local animal clinic.
After completing a training program, you may want to follow in the steps of many other Delaware veterinary assistants and obtain certification as an Approved Veterinary Assistant (AVA) through NAVTA. The AVA distinction is a nationally recognized certificate awarded to all veterinary assistants who meet the requirements of one of three approved options and successfully complete the AVA exam. As a an AVA, you are required to renew your distinction every two years to stay current.
Current Delaware Veterinary Assistant Statistics
Delaware currently employs around 210 veterinary assistants, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics 2017 Occupational Employment and Wages. The average mean annual wage for veterinary assistants in Delaware is $26,760.
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Working as a Delaware Veterinary Assistant
Whether you have completed a veterinary assistant training program or not, when you are ready to begin working as a Delaware veterinary assistant, you may want to contact a few national animal hospitals that have locations in Delaware, including the VCA (Veterinary Centers of America) found in Dover and Newark. VCA is a nationally-known organization that maintains a high standard of animal care in its hospitals, making it an excellent place to begin your career path as a veterinary assistant.