Becoming an Veterinary Assistant in Michigan
By Courtney Cosby
Whether you dream of working at a shelter, a small animal healthcare clinic or a larger animal hospital, the role of a veterinary assistant is an important aspect of any veterinary practice. Michigan veterinary assistants support veterinarians and veterinary technicians in this rewarding career by helping to provide basic care for pets, along with evaluating and treating animals for sickness and injuries.
Michigan is an excellent place to work as a veterinary assistant as the field is booming. There are currently 3,310 veterinary assistants employed throughout the state, and that number is expected to continue rising, with an expected 15- percent increase by 2024.
Depending on the type of practice and services offered, the regular tasks of veterinary assistants may vary. In a typical work environment, such as an animal hospital or veterinary clinic, vet assistants may perform duties such as feeding and exercising animals, cleaning cages, bathing animals, disinfecting exam rooms, administering vaccinations or medications, assisting with restraint during procedures, maintaining patient records and communicating with pet owners about their pets’ health.
Michigan Veterinary Assistants Education and Certification Options
No specific educational requirements have been set to work as a veterinary assistant in Michigan. Despite this, many veterinary practices prefer to hire assistants who hold a minimum of a high school diploma or GED equivalency. Although not required, you can increase your chances of being hired in a vet assistant position by pursuing further training and/or certification.
Michigan is a great place to become a veterinary assistant, as there are several training programs available throughout the state. For example, Ross Medical Education Center offers a veterinary assistant training program in a number of locations, including Midland, New Baltimore, Roosevelt Park, Port Huron, Taylor, Flint, Davison, Ann Arbor, Lansing, Madison Heights and Canton. Ross Medical Education Center is an accredited school that offers training that can be completed in 36 weeks. You can expect to receive instruction that will equip you to work in the veterinary field, with coursework that covers veterinary ethics and law, animal care activities, animal anatomy and physiology, medical technology and an overview of equipment you may be required to use in your role as a vet assistant.
Some veterinary assistants move on to pursue certification to add to their repertoire. Many healthcare facilities bump candidates who hold certifications to the top of their list when looking for employees. You can obtain certification as an Approved Veterinary Assistant (AVA) through a program offered by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) and VetMed. To obtain a nationally-recognized AVA distinction, you may choose from one of three NAVTA-approved options available in Michigan:
- The externship option is ideal for those who do not currently have any experience working as a veterinary assistant but are looking for employment. This option offers hands-on learning in an animal healthcare facility, which most veterinary practices require.
- The Experiential Learner option is available for Michigan veterinary assistants who currently work as Michigan veterinary assistants who have worked for five of the last eight years, for a minimum of 20 hours per week, in a full-service veterinary practice.
- The Veterinary Assistant Program is suitable for those who have worked work as a veterinary assistant in a full-service veterinary facility for less than five years.
After choosing which option is suitable for you, you must take the AVA exam. Upon successful completion, you will be entitled to use the AVA designation and will receive a documenting certificate.
Working as a Michigan Veterinary Assistant
The average salary for Michigan Veterinary assistants is $25,160 per year, with an average hourly wage of $12.10. Vet assistants earn more in some areas, including the northeast lower peninsula of Michigan, with an annual mean wage of $26,150, as well as the Lansing area, where assistants earn an average of $26,000 each 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|
When you are ready to begin your position in the rewarding field of veterinary care, the best place to start looking is the Michigan Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA), which provides job listings for veterinary assistants in Michigan.
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
The Certificate program at Ross Medical Education Center can be taken at their Canton campus in Canton in Wayne County. This private, for-profit college has roughly 135 students in total, with the majority of students on programs that last under 2 years. The college is accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools. The college’s retention rate for full-time students is over 80%. The cost of tuition for the Vet Tech program is about $14,200 for each academic year. The typical program completion time is 9 months.
6235 S Westnedge, Portage, Michigan 49002Veterinary Assistant – Certificate Program
The Certificate program at Ross Medical Education Center can be taken at their Portage campus in the city of Portage, Michigan. This private, for-profit college has roughly 165 students in total, with the majority of students on programs that last under 2 years. The college is accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools. The cost of tuition for the Vet Tech program is generally about $14,200 for each academic year. The typical program completion time is 9 months.
29429 John R Road, Madison Heights, Michigan 48071Veterinary Assistant – Certificate Program
The Veterinary Assistant Certificate program at Ross Medical Education Center can be taken at their Madison Heights campus in Madison Heights in Oakland County, MI. The majority of of the school’s 216 students are on diploma programs of under two years. The cost of tuition for the Vet Tech program is generally about $14,200 for each academic year. The typical program completion time is 9 months.
51133 Birch Street, Ste 100, New Baltimore, Michigan 48047Veterinary Assistant – Certificate Program
The Certificate program at Ross Medical Education Center can be taken at their New Baltimore campus in New Baltimore in Macomb County. The college has roughly 158 students in total, with the majority of students on programs that last under 2 years. The college is institutionally accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools. The cost of tuition for the Vet Tech program is generally about $14,600 annually. The typical program completion time is 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.