If you’ve decided to pursue a career as a veterinary assistant and live in Indiana, start your journey by finding the right training program for you. The best program will be properly accredited and teach you everything you need to know by industry professionals, so you’re ready to work as soon as you finish your training.
A proper program will teach you procedural techniques, animal breed identification and information, medical terminology and various administrative duties that you’ll need in your position. There are multiple programs available in Indiana, so it’s essential to compare your options and choose one that is properly accredited and fits your needs.
Job Criteria and Program Basics
Veterinary assistants have to be flexible and trustworthy since this position will require you to do a lot of different tasks. In a normal veterinarian office you will have to interact with clients and their pets, schedule appointments, answer phones, manage the files, help with exams and procedures, care for the animals and do anything else that is asked of you. If you find work in other facilities like zoos, shelters, kennels or with grooming companies, your tasks can vary even more. No matter where you end up working, you can be sure that your training program will teach you everything you need to succeed in the position.
Since there are so many different programs available, it’s no surprise that each one will have its own structure. However, looking at generalities and averages taken from available programs, you can get a basic idea of what to expect. The typical veterinary assistant program usually takes 100 to 300 hours to complete. This is broken up into a period of weeks or months, with some schools dividing their program into multiple semesters. The course is usually made up of two sections: a classroom portion and a hands-on externship. Even online courses tend to follow this structure.
In terms of cost, the average on-campus training program can range from $1,000 to $3,000, while an online course can run between $500 and $2,000 depending on the individual school. Most of the time you’ll have to pay additional fees for books and materials, but there are some programs that charge an all-inclusive fee that covers enrollment, books and materials. There are oftentimes financial aid plans or similar payment plans available to help you pay for the program.
The programs, while they may seem expensive, are worth the cost, since veterinary assistants in Indiana make an average yearly salary of around $26,000. However, if you work in cities like Hammond, Indianapolis or Gary, you can earn closer to $30,000. More experienced assistants can also ask for higher salaries around the $30,000 range.
|Area||Total Employed||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Salary|
|Fort Wayne, IN||140||$11.06||$23,010|
|Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN||360||$11.00||$22,890|
|South Bend-Mishawaka, IN-MI||120||$12.11||$25,180|
There are a lot of programs to choose from in Indiana. Some of them are offered by:
- Ivy Tech Community College in Muncie
- International Business College in Indianapolis
- Harrison College in Indianapolis
There are also online courses you can take if you prefer distance learning. Remember to always compare your available options before settling on one.
Educational Requirements to Begin Training and Work
In Indiana, you don’t have to have any minimum education in order to start a training program. However, if you choose a program through a college or similar facility, you’ll more than likely need a high school diploma or GED. Similarly, most employers will require their veterinary assistants to have the same education.
There are also no licensing or certification requirements in Indiana. You will get a completion certificate from your training program, but that is mainly to show that you took and completed the course successfully. If you want, you can get the Approved Veterinary Assistant certification offered by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians of America. This is a nationally recognized designation that can sometimes help you ask for a higher salary or improve your chances of finding employment.
To get this certification, you have to complete a NAVTA-approved training program and pass the final exam. That test costs an additional $100. Upon passing, you’ll get your certification and will then have to maintain your status by renewing it every two years. To do this, you’ll have to take continuing education courses and pay a $10 renewal fee. Programs can be found online, and there is one on-campus approved program in Indiana, offered through Harrison College in Indianapolis.
No matter where you decide to go for training, you can expect to find employment in places like:
- Veterinary Centers of America (multiple locations in Indiana)
- The Indiana Veterinary Medical Association
- Banfield Pet Hospital (multiple locations in Indiana)
There are also plenty of local options, including veterinarian offices, shelters, grooming companies and similar animal facilities that will be happy to hire a knowledgeable veterinary assistant.
Now that you have all of the information you need to search for a great training program in Indiana, you can start down the path to your new career. Remember to compare all of your options and find something that fits your needs, including time constraints and your budget.