If you’re considering a career as a veterinary assistant and live in Kansas, start your journey by searching for the best training program. As long as your program is properly accredited, you can be sure that it will have industry professionals teaching you everything you need to know in order to start working as soon as possible.
In a veterinary assistant training program, you can expect to learn everything from administrative duties to procedural techniques, animal breed identification and information, medical terminology, how to clean equipment, dispense medication and more. There are a number of different programs available in Kansas that are all worth taking, so be sure to compare your options and choose the one that is best for you.
Job Criteria and Program Basics
When you work as a veterinary assistant, you will be asked to do a lot of different things on the job. These tasks can vary depending on where you end up working, but if you find work in a standard veterinarian’s office there are certain duties to expect. In that capacity you’ll be asked to interact with clients and their pets by answering phones, setting appointments and caring for the animals that come in. You’ll also be asked to help with exams and procedures and most likely be required to clean up the exam rooms before and after use.
If you find work in other animal facilities like zoos, kennels, grooming companies or animal hospitals, these duties can change based on your employer’s needs. No matter where you end up working, the right training program will have you fully prepared to handle any task that comes your way.
Each program will have its own structure, but to help you anticipate what to expect, there are some general facts you can keep in mind. A veterinary assistant program will usually be broken up into a classroom portion and a hands-on externship portion. They tend to take anywhere from 100 hours to 300 hours, broken up over a period of months, weeks or in some cases multiple semesters. Even online programs tend to follow this timetable and structure.
As far as cost, programs vary depending on what kind of school is offering the course. In general, training programs offered through physical schools cost between $1,000 and $3,000, while online courses range from $500 to $2,000. In most cases, you’ll have to pay extra money for materials and books, but there are some programs that will include those costs in the overall tuition. Some will offer different forms of financial aid or other payment plans to help you pay for the training.
Any program will be well worth the money since the average annual salary for a veterinary assistant in Kansas is around $25,000. If you’re an experienced assistant, you can expect to see closer to $29,000, while assistants of all experience levels working in cities like Shawnee, Wichita or Lawrence can expect anything between $28,000 and $29,000 a year.
|Area||Total Employed||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Salary|
|Kansas City, MO-KS||570||$12.35||$25,680|
Some of the available programs in Kansas are:
- Butler Community College in El Dorado
- Colby Community College in Colby
- Seward County Community College in Liberal
As previously stated, there are also online programs for those who prefer distance learning.
Educational Requirements to Begin Training and Work
In Kansas, there is no state educational requirement in order to start a training program. However, most programs offered through colleges and similar schools will require a high school diploma or GED. Most employers also prefer for their workers to have the same minimum education.
Similarly, there are no licenses or certifications required by the state of Kansas to begin working. That being said, any training program will give you a completion certificate when you successfully finish it. This will show employers that you have the knowledge and training to do the job.
There is also an optional certification available that is recognized across the country. The Approved Veterinary Assistant (AVA) certification offered through the National Association of Veterinary Technicians of America (NAVTA) is a designation that you can achieve after completing a NAVTA-approved training course. This isn’t necessary to be a veterinary assistant in Kansas, but it can make you more employable and even get you a higher salary in some cases. Since it’s nationally recognized it can also help you find work more easily if you choose to move out of Kansas.
The approved NAVTA courses are available at different schools, but none are located in Kansas at this time. Instead, there are four online training programs that you can take to get your AVA certification. After you complete the class you’ll have to pay $100 to take the certification exam. Once you pass it and get your certification you just need to maintain it by renewing every two years. You do this by paying a $10 renewal fee and taking continuing education courses.
After you finish the training program of your choosing you can expect to work in places like:
- The Veterinary Centers of America (locations in Kansas City and Overland Park)
- Banfield Pet Hospital (locations in Wichita and Topeka)
- Vetco Wellness Centers in Petco (multiple locations in Kansas)
You’ll also be able to take positions in local vets’ offices, with shelters or at similar animal facilities.
With all of this information about veterinary assistant training programs at your disposal, you can start working towards your new career. Always remember to compare the programs you’re considering before choosing the best one for your personal needs.