If you live in Georgia and are looking to start a career as a veterinary assistant, you first need to find the right program. In the right program, you’ll learn from professionals in the business everything you need to launch your own successful career. These programs use course-based curriculum to teach every aspect of the position so you’re fully prepared upon completion. You’ll learn medical terminology, procedural techniques and how to handle chemicals and equipment, as well as breed identification and other related information. There are a number of programs available throughout Georgia for you to choose from. You just have to make sure the program is properly accredited and will give you the necessary training to start your career.
In most veterinary assistant positions you’ll be required to interact with the customers and their pets, clean equipment, feed and care for the animals, maintain records, prepare surgical procedures, assist with medications and similar duties around the practice. A proper program will help you learn these common duties so you’re well prepared to start as soon as you get a job in the field.
In Georgia, there is no set educational requirement for becoming a veterinary assistant; however, most jobs require at least an associate’s degree from an accredited technical school or community college. These programs usually take two years to complete and can range in tuition based on the school.
There are also veterinary assistant certificate programs offered through community colleges and similar institutions. These usually take less than one year to complete, and all you need in order to enroll is a high school diploma or its equivalent. The prices for these programs vary, but those that include all materials, courses and externships can range anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000. While the associate’s degree will open up more opportunities, this certification program can get you entry-level positions in clinics, pet stores, shelters, zoos, kennels and other facilities. You can also work as a dog groomer with an established company or venture out on your own and start your own business.
These veterinary assistant programs teach what you’ll need to know once you’re on the job to a lesser extent than an associate’s degree program. This includes office procedures, routine examinations, lab procedures, animal pharmacology, restraining techniques and other necessary training. Upon completion, you’ll be asked to take and pass a certification exam for your specific program. This will ensure that you’ve learned everything you need to know to properly work in the field.
There are several programs available at different locations throughout the state. Some schools to check out are:
- University of Georgia in Athens
- Middle Georgia Technical College in Warner Robins
- Ogeechee Technical College in Statesboro
Remember to look at the price of each program, what it offers and how it can fit your individual preferences before choosing one.
Veterinary Assistant Salaries
While the programs do cost some money, they’re quite worth it since a veterinary assistant earns around $24,000 a year on average. If you work in larger cities like Atlanta, you can earn closer to $30,000 a year. The more experience you have, the more your earning potential increases.
|Area||Total Employed||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Salary|
|Athens-Clarke County, GA||90||$12.17||$25,320|
|Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA||1,340||$11.93||$24,820|
|Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC||140||$11.12||$23,120|
Educational Requirements to Work
Currently, Georgia does not require any specific certification to be a veterinary assistant, but you may be a more desirable employee if you have one. Your earning potential can also increase if you hold this certification.
For veterinary assistants, an AVA (Approved Veterinary Assistant) certification is available. This is a national certification that veterinary assistants are awarded upon completion of a NAVTA (National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America) approved program and a passing grade on the subsequent exam. The approved programs for Georgia residents can be found online, since there are currently no physical classes offered within the state according to NAVTA. The test costs $100 for students who complete the program.
If and when you pass the exam you’ll receive your certificate and can begin working (or continue working) as a veterinary assistant. All you have to do from there is renew your certificate every two years. You’ll also be asked to pay a $10 renewal fee and take 10 education credits within those two years.
Once you get all of your education requirements and certifications in order, you can expect to work in places like:
- The Veterinary Centers of America (locations in Evans, Carrollton, Roswell and Savannah)
- Wellness centers in Petco, known as Vetco
- Banfield Pet Hospital (locations in Macon, Augusta and Savannah)
These are just a few of the larger employers with whom you can expect to find work once you become a veterinary assistant. However, there are plenty of other options throughout the state.
Now that you know what it takes to become a veterinary assistant in Georgia you can start your journey. There are a number of different programs available depending on your wants and needs. Look through those available and see which suits you best.
College and University Listings
800 U.S. Hwy 29 North, Athens, Georgia 30601Veterinary Technician Assistant – Certificate Program
The Certificate program at Athens Technical College is based at their campus in the city of Athens, Georgia. The college has roughly 4,336 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Fees for tuition for in-state students are around $2,684 and for out-of-state students likely to be about $4,820 yearly. Study materials can cost about $900, depending on the program chosen.
80 Cohen Walker Drive, Warner Robins, Georgia 31088Veterinary Assistant – Certificate Program
The Certificate program at Central Georgia Technical College is offered at their campus in the city of Warner Robins, Georgia. This public college has roughly 7,625 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. Fees for tuition for in-state students are likely to be in the order of $2,674 and for students from outside the state in the order of $4,810 per year, while study materials may cost in the order of $1,390, depending on the program.
* 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.