Becoming an Veterinary Assistant in Illinois
By Courtney Cosby
Few jobs are as fulfilling as those where you are able to improve the health and lives of animals. As a veterinary assistant, you can do just that. If you have a passion to care for and enjoy animals, a career as a veterinary assistant will undoubtedly be a rewarding place to begin your journey in the field of animal healthcare.
Veterinary practices heavily rely on the services of veterinary assistants. The job requirements of Illinois vet assistants will vary by employer, but some of the responsibilities you may be required to perform may include:
- Exercising animals
- Feeding and bathing pets
- Interacting with clients and scheduling appointments
- Prepping animals for surgery
- Maintaining records
- Sanitizing exam rooms and equipment
- Filling prescriptions under the supervision of a veterinarian
Becoming an Illinois Veterinary Assistant
No formal educational requirements have been established by the state of Illinois, yet the majority of veterinary practices and hospitals prefer to hire assistants who have a high school diploma or GED equivalency. Some veterinary assistants prefer to jumpstart their career by pursuing veterinary assistant training. You can undergo training on campus or online.
A great place to receive veterinary assistant training in Illinois is at the College of Lake County in Grayslake. During this 250-hour course that includes a 100-hour clinical externship, students will learn everything they need to know to begin their careers as veterinary assistants. This school has also completed all of the requirements to be designated as a National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) approved program. Upon successful completion of this training program, students are eligible to sit for the Approved Veterinary Assistant (AVA) examination. Once you pass, you will receive your certificate to work as a nationally-recognized AVA.
If you prefer to do your coursework online, you may want to consider Penn Foster Career School, which is one of only three online NAVTA-approved veterinary assistant schools. Here you will also obtain the knowledge and skills required to work as a veterinary assistant. Once you complete your training, you will be eligible to receive the AVA certification through Penn Foster.
Working as an Illinois Veterinary Assistant
Illinois is a great state to begin your work as a veterinary assistant as the annual mean wage of veterinary assistants in the state is $27,780, which is higher than the national averages. There are currently 2,360 veterinary assistants employed in the state of Illinois. There is expected to be a 13-percent increase in the number of veterinary assistant jobs by 2024, thanks to the increasing demand for pet care.
|Area||Total Employed||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Salary|
|Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL||130||$11.44||$23,800|
|St. Louis, MO-IL||870||$12.18||$25,340|
Once you are ready to begin working as an Illinois veterinary assistant, you must begin looking at potential employers. You may want to consider small practices like Crestwood Animal Clinic or Oak Forest Animal Clinic in Midlothian. Veterinary Centers of America (VCA) is another great place to look, which has 750 locations throughout the country. Both VCA Chicago North Animal Hospital in Chicago and VCA Hawthorn Animal Hospital in Vernon Hills, Illinois, would be excellent places to begin your career.