Becoming a Veterinary Assistant in Louisiana
Do you have what it takes to be a veterinary assistant? All that is required to work as one in the state of Louisiana is a passion for animals coupled with a willingness to take on the various tasks required in animal hospitals and clinics.
Veterinary assistants perform routine tasks to aid veterinarians and veterinary technicians with their roles in animal healthcare facilities. Typically, veterinary assistants are responsible for exercising, bathing and feeding animals, as well as keeping their cages and exam rooms clean. They also help with animal restraint during exams and diagnostic tests. Veterinary assistants may also be required to administer medications and vaccinations, take blood and tissue samples, and care for animals after surgery.
In addition to hands-on animal care, veterinary assistants may also be required to handle necessary communication with pet owners. From answering phones and scheduling appointments to explaining how to administer medications at home, veterinary assistants play a large part in not only keeping pets comfortable but their owners alike.
A career as a veterinary assistant is a rewarding entry-level position that is often seen as a stepping stone to more qualified positions in the veterinary field. While a rewarding career in and of itself, becoming a veterinary assistant is an excellent way to determine whether you want to pursue further education to perform higher levels of animal care.
How to Become a Veterinary Assistant in Louisiana
In order to work as a veterinary assistant in Louisiana, you are not required to have a college degree. Many assistants working in the state start out with a minimum of a high school diploma or GED equivalency.
On-the-job training is often offered by veterinarians at veterinary clinics, which will provide you with the necessary skills and methodology to treat and work with animals. The type of training and amount may vary by practice.
Although no certification requirements are mandated by the state, many practices prefer to hire candidates who have previous experience or training. The state of Louisiana does not currently offer any on-campus veterinary assistant training programs. If you wish to pursue training online, Penn Foster Career School offers a Veterinary Assistant Career Diploma, which will adequately prepare you to start working as a veterinary assistant. In addition to preparing you for work in the field, the program also prepares you to take the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) Approved Veterinary Assistant certification test, which will be an invaluable tool when seeking employment.
Working as a Veterinary Assistant in Louisiana
There are currently 1,560 veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers working in the state of Louisiana. The average salary for a veterinary assistant in Louisiana is $22,730 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages from May 2017. The average hourly rate is $10.93, although rates may be higher in some urban areas such as Baton Rouge and New Orleans, depending on the type of practice, services offered and your level of experience.
The state of Louisiana is experiencing a higher growth rate for vet assistant jobs than the national average. By 2024, there is projected to be nearly 10 percent more veterinary assistant jobs in Louisiana, making it a promising place to seek employment in the field.
When you are ready to look for employment as a Louisiana veterinary assistant, a great place to start your job hunt is through the Veterinary Centers of America. The VCA is a well-known organization that offers high-quality animal care across the country and has several locations in Louisiana, including VCA Causeway Animal Hospital and VCA Airline Animal Hospital, both in Metairie.
College and University Listings
1710 Sullivan Dr, Bogalusa, Louisiana 70427
Veterinary Assistant – Certificate Program
Northshore Technical Community College’s Certificate program is taught at their campus in Bogalusa in Washington County. Most of the school’s 3,752 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Council on Occupational Education. Fees for tuition for in-state students are in the order of $3,935 and for students from outside the state likely to be about $7,444 yearly, while books and supplies may cost about $1,220, although this varies from program to program.
* Tuition fees and accredition status are correct at the time of writing, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (http://nces.ed.gov/). Confirm with college before applying.