When looking to jump into a career as a veterinary assistant, it’s best to start by finding the right training program. The best course will teach you everything you need to know from industry professionals who’ve been in your shoes.
While there are many programs available in Michigan, all properly accredited programs will normally teach you the same skills. You can expect to learn medical terminology, animal breed identification information, procedural techniques, administrative duties and other things you’ll need to be a successful veterinary assistant. With so many programs available in Michigan and on the internet, you have plenty of options. This might seem overwhelming, but as long as you look through your options and compare them, you can certainly find one that fits your individual needs.
Job Criteria and Program Basics
A veterinary assistant is usually asked to do many different tasks depending on the facility. For example, if you find work in a normal vet’s office you will be asked to deal with the clients and their animals likely on a daily basis. You will also be asked to do administrative tasks like managing records, answering phones, maintaining the inventory and setting appointments. You’ll also have to care for the animals in the facility, prep and clean equipment and exam rooms, and also help with procedures. These tasks can be the same in other places of employment, like animal hospitals, animal shelters and kennels, but they can vary even more in zoos or if you choose to work with a pet spa or grooming company. Luckily, a full veterinary assistant program will teach you everything you need to know no matter where you end up working.
Since training programs are offered by different institutions there is no way to know for sure what to expect in terms of a specific course’s structure. However, there are some average statistics that can help you get an idea of what to expect from the courses you look into.
In general, the typical training course will last anywhere from 100 to 300 hours. This is usually spread over several weeks, months or full semesters. Courses (both online and on-campus) are usually made up of a classroom portion where you learn the ropes and a fieldwork portion where you’ll get hands-on experience in the position.
Physical classes tend to cost between $1,000 and $3,000, while online programs start around $500 and can go up to approximately $2,000. This usually does not account for books and other materials, which can cost you extra. That said, there are sometimes programs available that charge a flat rate for everything, including enrollment, books and other materials. You may also be able to find financial aid or payment plans offered by the program’s institution to help you pay for your education.
This tuition and fees should not deter you from pursuing your veterinary assistant career since assistants in Michigan make over $25,000 a year on average. If you work in cities like Detroit or Ann Arbor you can earn more than $30,000. Moreso, after you gain experience you can end up making over $35,000 a year.
|Area||Total Employed||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Salary|
|Ann Arbor, MI||190||$15.37||$31,980|
|Battle Creek, MI||50||$11.63||$24,180|
|Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI||160||$12.04||$25,050|
|Lansing-East Lansing, MI||190||$12.20||$25,370|
|South Bend-Mishawaka, IN-MI||120||$12.11||$25,180|
Start your search by checking out these popular options in Michigan:
- Baker College in Port Huron
- Ross Medical Education Center in Madison Heights and Ann Arbor
There are others available in the state as well as online training programs, too.
Educational Requirements to Begin Training and Work
Michigan currently doesn’t have any minimum education requirements in order to become a veterinary assistant. However, most programs require you to have a high school diploma or a GED. Similarly, employers tend to want their workers to have the same minimum education.
In terms of actually working as a veterinary assistant, Michigan doesn’t require any specific license or certification to start working. You will likely get a completion certificate after taking your training program and can use that to show your potential employers you have the knowledge and skills to do the job successfully.
There is an optional certification available if you’d like to pursue itit’s called the Approved Veterinary Assistant (AVA) certificate and it is only available through programs affiliated with the National Association of Veterinary Technicians of America (NAVTA). These NAVTA-approved programs are usually completed online, but there is one Michigan-based program you can take to get your AVA. That program is offered through the Ross Medical Education Centers.
To get your AVA you have to take the approved program and then pass the final exam, which costs an additional $100 fee for every attempt. Once you pass the exam, you’ll have to maintain your certification by renewing it every two years, by paying a $10 fee and taking continuing education courses. Your AVA certification isn’t necessary to work in Michigan, but it can help you find a job more easily and may even allow you to ask for a higher starting salary. Since the AVA certificate is nationally recognized, it can also help you work in other states if you choose to move out of Michigan.
No matter what training program you end up taking, you can expect to find work afterward in places like:
- Michigan Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA) in Okemos
- Veterinary Centers of America (multiple locations in Michigan)
- Banfield Pet Hospitals (multiple locations in Michigan)
- Vetco Wellness Centers in Petco (multiple locations in Michigan)
Of course, you can also find work with local vets’ offices, shelters, zoos and similar facilities throughout the state.
Now that you know what to expect when trying to become a veterinary assistant in Michigan, you’re ready to start your own journey. Remember, compare your options and choose the course that is best for you.
College and University Listings
- Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn, MI Metropolitan Division
- Kalamazoo-Portage, MI
- Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, MI Metropolitan Division
44958 Ford Rd, Canton, Michigan 48187Veterinary Assistant – Certificate Program
Ross Medical Education Center’s Certificate program in Veterinary Assistant is taught at their Canton campus in Canton in Wayne County, MI. The majority of of the school’s 135 students are on diploma programs of under two years. The college is accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools. The cost of tuition for the Vet Tech program is in the order of $14,200 yearly. Program completion is normally 9 months.
6235 S Westnedge, Portage, Michigan 49002Veterinary Assistant – Certificate Program
The Certificate program at Ross Medical Education Center is offered at their Portage campus in the city of Portage, MI. The majority of of the school’s 165 students are on diploma programs of under two years. The college is accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools. The cost of tuition for the Vet Tech program is in the order of $14,200 yearly. Program completion is normally 9 months.
29429 John R Road, Madison Heights, Michigan 48071Veterinary Assistant – Certificate Program
Ross Medical Education Center’s Certificate program is taught at their Madison Heights campus in Madison Heights in Oakland County, MI. Most of the school’s 216 students are on diploma programs of under two years. Tuition fees for the Vet Tech program are around $14,200 per year. Program completion is usually 9 months.
51133 Birch Street, Ste 100, New Baltimore, Michigan 48047Veterinary Assistant – Certificate Program
Ross Medical Education Center’s Certificate-level Veterinary Assistant program is taught at their New Baltimore campus in New Baltimore in Macomb County, MI. Most of the school’s 158 students are on diploma programs of under two years. The college is institutionally accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools. Tuition fees for the Vet Tech program are likely to be around $14,600 per year. Program completion is usually 9 months.
* 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.