Becoming a Veterinary Assistant in Indiana
By Courtney Cosby
Do you want work in a field where you can help animals and the people who love them? Veterinary assisting may be for you! From feeding and bathing to exercising animals, a job as a veterinary assistant in Indiana can be a fun and rewarding career path.
Indiana veterinary assistants perform a number of duties in order to help veterinarians and veterinary technicians to efficiently care for and treat animals. Tasks performed by vet assistants may include:
- Taking x-rays
- Restraining animals during exams and treatment
- Collecting fluid, tissue and blood samples for tests
- Administering medication as directed
- Monitoring the response of animals to treatment
- Assisting veterinarians with surgery
- Cleaning and sterilizing equipment and instruments
- Preparing equipment and instruments for surgery
- Maintaining records
- Communicating with pet owners
- Answering phones
- Other clerical work
Indiana Education for Veterinary Assistants
No educational requirements have been set by the state of Indiana to work as a veterinary assistant. Despite this, many veterinary practices look for assistants who have some degree of experience in the field. The first step to becoming a veterinary assistant is usually earning a high school diploma or GED equivalency.
Many working vet assistants in Indiana have pursued additional educational training in a veterinary assistant program. Indiana has a couple of options for training on campus as well as online.
Harrison College in Indianapolis has a 300-hour, non-credit veterinary assistant program that provides all you need to know to start your career with confidence. You will learn skills that emphasize professionalism and communication as well as the laws and ethics of veterinary medicine. Hands-on clinical and practical skills are taught for small animal procedures as well.
Penn Foster Career School offers training online through a nationally recognized veterinary assistant program that is approved by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA). Although veterinary assistants are not required to graduate from a NAVTA-approved school, 87 percent of veterinary practices prefer to hire candidates who have graduated from a NAVTA-approved program.
Indiana Veterinary Assistant Certification
Whether you are just starting out on the career path as a veterinary assistant or you have already been working in the field and wish to increase your value as an employee, pursuing certification is a worthwhile process. Choosing to become certified can be helpful when looking for employment and might even be the ticket to a higher initial pay rate. Many practices bump candidates with certification to the top of their lists when seeking new assistants.
If you wish to become an Approved Veterinary Assistant (AVA) in Indiana, you must choose one of three available options by NAVTA, which has teamed up with VetMed. The first choice is an externship, offering hands-on training at a veterinary practice. This is suitable if you are not currently working in a veterinary office or other animal healthcare facility. Another option, known as the Veterinary Assistant Program, is available to those who currently work as a veterinary assistant in a full-service veterinary practice and have done so for less than five years. The third option is known as the Experiential Learner option. This final program is available to those who currently work as veterinary assistants in the state of Indiana, with a minimum of 20 hours per week in a full-service veterinary practice, and have been for at least five of the past eight years. Once you decide which option is for you, you may take the AVA exam. Upon passing the exam, you will receive your Approved Veterinary Assistant certification.
Working as an Indiana Veterinary Assistant
The state of Indiana is a great place to work as a vet assistant, with a number of opportunities available. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2,410 vet assistants are currently employed in the state. The average annual salary is $28,490, which is higher than all of the surrounding states. Some urban areas offer higher pay, including the Indianapolis and Carmel regions, where annual salaries reach as much as $31,620. The statewide average hourly wage is $13.36.
|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|
The Indiana Veterinary Medical Association (INVMA) in Indianapolis is an excellent place to start when looking for available veterinary assistant job openings. You may also consider reaching out to nationally-known Veterinary Centers of America or Banfield Pet Hospital, each of which has several Indiana locations available to pursue employment. Privately owned animal practices are also excellent places to start your path in the veterinary field, including Binford Pet Wellness Clinic in Indianapolis or Community Animal Hospital in Warsaw.