Becoming a Veterinary Assistant in Hawaii
Veterinary assistants are crucial members of veterinary teams. They perform several duties daily, from assisting veterinarians in caring for animals to administrative tasks as well. Some of the duties veterinary assistants carry out include: preparing treatment rooms, restraining animals, administering injections, dressing wounds, taking vital signs, managing records, scheduling appointments and communicating with pet owners.
There are currently over 300 veterinary assistants employed in the state of Hawaii, with over half of them working in the state’s capital, Honolulu. Currently there are no educational requirements to become a veterinary assistant in Hawaii, but most employers prefer that prospective employees have at least a high school diploma or equivalent. Experience in working with animals may also be preferred.
How to Become a Veterinary Assistant in Hawaii
While it is not required, completing a veterinary assistant training program on campus or online may be beneficial to potential veterinary assistants. These programs will not only familiarize students with the skills they would perform as vet assistants, they will also provide students with hands-on training and experience through clinical practice and externships.
There are a few on-campus veterinary assistant programs available in Hawaii. Windward College, located in Kaneohe offers a program that consists of 31 credit hours and can be completed in just two semesters. The grand total for tuition, books, supplies and all applicable fees is approximately $4000.00.
For residents of Hawaii unable to find a veterinary assistant program on a campus near them, Penn Foster Career School has an outstanding online program. Coursework includes animal behavior, handling and restraint, body systems and terminology, and veterinary practice administration and procedures. The Penn Foster program can be finished in seven months and ends with an eight-week externship at a local veterinary practice. This program costs approximately $900.00, and if tuition is paid in full when the student enrolls in the program, a discount will apply. If the student can’t pay the full amount, monthly payments can be made.
Another benefit of the Penn Foster veterinary assistant program is that it is approved by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA). Any student that finishes this program is automatically eligible to become certified as an Approved Veterinary Assistant (AVA). They would then pay $100.00 to take the certification exam and upon passing would be nationally certified as an AVA. AVA certification is not required to become a veterinary assistant in Hawaii, but it might provide more employment options and earning potential.
The average hourly earnings of a veterinary assistant in Hawaii is $12.28, while the reported average yearly salary is $25,530. However, those employed in the cities of Ewa Beach, Hilo, Honolulu, Kahului, Kaneohe, Pearl City and Waipahu earn annual salaries of over $30,000. Honolulu is the hotspot for veterinary assistants at this time, since over half of the statewide total is employed there. However, several other Hawaiian cities are beginning to hire more veterinary assistants.
For such a small state, there are quite a few options available for employment. The Veterinary Centers of America (VCA) are nationally established and highly recognized for their service and contributions to veterinary medicine. They have over 750 hospitals nationwide, with locations in Hawaii at Honolulu, Kaneohe, Kapole, Waipahu and Pearl City. There is also the Animal Clinic of Honolulu and the Ali’I Veterinary Hospital, located in Kailua-Kona to consider for employment. In addition to these larger establishments, there are other smaller clinics and practices across the state to think about as well.
The number of veterinary assistants in the state of Hawaii is expected to increase by at least nine percent each year for the next several years. Therefore, the outlook is very good for those wanting to become a veterinary assistant in Hawaii in the near future.