Becoming an Veterinary Assistant in Kansas
A career working with animals is easier to achieve than you may have realized. You don’t have to spend years in school becoming a veterinarian or even earn a two-year degree to become a vet tech. Veterinary assistants get to work side-by-side with these licensed professionals, providing hands-on care for animals.
What Veterinary Assistants Do in Kansas
Requirements for working as a vet assistant vary by state, but Kansas has not defined this profession. That means the daily duties and responsibilities may be different depending on the employer and work setting. The state of Kansas does say that an employee can perform duties that follow written instructions for an animal’s treatment and care, as long as the veterinarian provides indirect supervision.
This leaves a lot of room for veterinarians to decide what an assistant can do on the job. Some examples of typical responsibilities for veterinary assistants include cleaning, grooming, exercising and feeding animals, assisting during exams and procedures, preparing medications, communicating with pet owners and completing administrative tasks, such as filing and managing appointments.
How to Become a Veterinary Assistant in Kansas
There are no official requirements set by the state of Kansas for becoming a veterinary assistant. Most employers look for candidates who have completed high school at a minimum, or who have a GED, but completing a post-secondary program in veterinary assisting is strongly recommended. These programs are degree- or certificate-granting, and usually take less than one year to complete.
Veterinary Assistant Education Programs in Kansas
Colby Community College in Colby offers a short, 13 credit-hour certificate program for veterinary office assistants. This focuses more on administrative duties that prepare students to manage records, act as a receptionist, and communicate with clients and pet owners. The program also includes some basic veterinary coursework, including animal science, veterinary terminology and an introduction to veterinary technology. It is a good introductory education for anyone who wants to become a veterinary assistant.
Achieving National Certification
The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in American (NAVTA) offers a national certification for vet assistants, called Approved Veterinary Assistant, or AVA. No certification is required to work in Kansas, but having this credential may help individuals get jobs in the state and in other states. The primary way of qualifying to take the exam for AVA certification is to complete a NAVTA-approved veterinary assistant program.
Kansas does not have any of these programs, but there are other ways to qualify to take the certification exam. Individuals can complete any program for veterinary assisting and then gain a certain amount of work experience. This qualifies a vet assistant to take and pass the exam.
Veterinary Assistant Careers in Kansas
There are about 900 veterinary assistants working in Kansas right now, and many of them work in and around the state’s biggest cities: Wichita, Overland Park and Kansas City. Most vet assistants work in veterinary offices, animal hospitals, animal emergency centers and specialty veterinary centers. There are also opportunities in rural areas, at veterinary offices and also on ranches and farms. Veterinary assistants may also be hired by laboratories and shelter and rescue groups.
Regardless of where a vet assistant works, the outlook for getting a job is good. The field is growing faster than other jobs, with 19-percent growth expected over the coming years. In Kansas, veterinary assistants earn more than the national average. The average salary in the state is $26,830 per year and $12.90 per hour, but there are opportunities for those with more experience or certification to earn more than this.
|Area||Total Employed||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Salary|
|Kansas City, MO-KS||570||$12.35||$25,680|
If you have dreamed of a career doing something you are passionate about, consider working as a veterinary assistant in Kansas. You can get an education and become certified in less than a year and be ready to work in any animal or veterinary setting.