If you’re thinking about a career as a veterinary assistant in Idaho, the way to start is by finding the best training program available. The proper course will teach you everything you need to know from professionals in the industry, so that you’ll be fully prepared to start working as soon as you complete the program.
In general, a complete program will teach you everything from basic administrative duties to medical terminology, procedural techniques and animal breed identification and information. With multiple programs available, you might feel overwhelmed by your choices, but the most important thing to look for is a program that is properly accredited, so you can be sure that you’ll finish with all of the knowledge you’ll need to start work immediately.
Job Criteria and Program Basics
Veterinary assistants are asked to wear many hats in their job. If you’re working in a veterinarian’s office, you can be asked to do everything from answering the phones and managing the files to assisting in exams and surgeries. You’ll also be tasked to take care of the animals, check in clients and their pets, groom animals and any other duties your employer might need help with. If you find work in an animal hospital, zoo, shelter or similar facility, your duties might vary even more. Luckily, a good training program will teach you all of that and then some.
With so many different courses offered throughout Idaho, it should be no surprise that each one will have its own structure, but there are some guidelines that most programs in Idaho follow so you can try to anticipate what to expect. A typical veterinary assistant course can take anywhere from 100 to 300 hours to complete, spanning a period of weeks, months or even multiple semesters. They’re usually divided into an in-class section and a hands-on section that usually takes place in the field. There are also online classes that often follow the same structure but without a physical classroom setting.
On average, training programs can cost from $1,000 to $3,000 for on-campus classes, while online programs are slightly cheaper, ranging from $500 to $2,000. These fees sometimes include the cost of books and other materials, but it isn’t uncommon for some schools to charge separately for tuition, books and materials.
Even though these prices might seem expensive for a training program, they’re worth it since the average salary for a vet assistant in Idaho is around $25,000 a year. If you find work in a larger city like Boise, you can expect to make closer to $28,000, and well over $30,000 if you have more experience in the industry.
|Area||Total Employed||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Salary|
|Boise City, ID||130||$12.64||$26,290|
|Coeur d'Alene, ID||50||$12.68||$26,380|
Some of the well-known training programs in Idaho are:
- Broadway University in Meridian
- Carrington College in Boise
- North Idaho College in Post Falls
You can also find online courses. Remember, compare all of your options and find the course that suits your needs the best.
Educational Requirements to Begin Training and Work
To start a training program you don’t need any minimum education, however, most employers want their assistants to have at least a high school diploma or its equivalent. There is also no state requirement regarding certifications or licenses for veterinary assistants. You will, however, get a certificate of completion from any training program that you finish.
That being said, you can seek out a national certification called the Approved Veterinary Assistant certification (AVA) offered by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians of America (NAVTA). This is a specific designation that is recognized across the country and can sometimes help you get a higher salary or help you find a job faster.
To get an AVA you have to find, take and complete a NAVTA-approved program. At the end of the program, you’ll have to pay an additional $100 to take the final exam. Once you pass that test, you’ll get your AVA certificate and can begin working in Idaho or anywhere else in the country. All you need to do after that is renew your certification every two years by paying a $10 renewal fee and taking continuing education courses. Again, this certification isn’t necessary, but it can be helpful. NAVTA programs are mainly found online through NAVTA’s official website.
Whether you choose a NAVTA program or one of the many available courses in Idaho, you will be able to find work in places like:
- All Valley Animal Care Center in Meridian
- Idaho Veterinary Medical Association (IVMA) in Kuna
- Idaho Veterinary Hospital in Nampa
- Ammon Veterinary Hospital in Idaho Falls
- Banfield Pet Hospital (multiple locations)
You can also find employment through local veterinarian offices, animal shelters and similar animal facilities.
With all of this information at your disposal, you’re officially ready to start your journey to becoming a veterinary assistant. Remember to compare all of the available programs before settling on the best one for you.