Becoming a Veterinary Assistant in North Carolina
If you love working with animals, taking the first step toward a new career in the veterinary field will be an exciting move for you. By enrolling in a veterinary assisting program, you can expect to receive in-depth instruction on the care, behavior and treatment of animals relevant to working in veterinary offices across the country.
Veterinary assistants are an integral part of an animal healthcare team in any facility that offers veterinary care. Veterinary assistants perform a number of important roles including inventory control, clerical and office work, animal restraint, cage cleaning, animal exercising and taking care of pets’ special dietary requirements, to name just a few. This is not an exhaustive list of all of the duties performed by highly sought after North Carolina vet assistants.
North Carolina Veterinary Assistant Education
The state of North Carolina has not set any specific educational requirements for people wishing to become veterinary assistants. Although no level of education is mandated, most veterinary practices and animal healthcare facilities prefer that assistants have a high school diploma or GED equivalency at the very least.
In North Carolina, you can undergo vet assistant training courses in several educational settings, including community colleges, technical institutes, adult learning centers and even some high schools. You can receive the required training to be a vet assistant in an on-campus setting or take classes online at your own pace. You can also arrange an externship for complete hands-on training, usually in a veterinary office under the supervision of a credentialed veterinary technician or a licensed veterinarian.
When you take necessary steps to enroll in a veterinary assistant training program, you are preparing yourself for an exciting career with animals by learning the details of the trade through thorough instruction. Training programs are typically taught by professionals through curriculums that are course based. Because veterinary assistants are required to take on a wide variety of duties, it is best that you learn all of the skills needed to excel in your career field. During course instruction, you can expect to learn about subjects including breed identification, restraining techniques, medical terminology, chemical handling safety, how to administer medications properly and more.
Veterinary Assistant Certification in North Carolina
Certification is not required for veterinary assistants in the state of North Carolina; however, obtaining your certification may increase your chances at getting hired for a job and may even influence your pay scale.
The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) has set forth guidelines that include what a vet assistant program needs to entail. Upon completion of a training program, you can apply for an Approved Veterinary Assistant (AVA) distinction, which is a national certificate given to veterinary assistants who meet the requirements. The state of North Carolina does not require veterinary assistants to have an AVA, but obtaining one can help your job hunting process to go smoother, potentially offering you better pay rates.
Three approved NAVTA options are available in North Carolina. The first option, an externship, is ideal for a person who is not currently employed in a veterinary practice but wishes to find employment as a veterinary assistant. The second option, Experiential Learner, is primarily for veterinary assistants who are already employed in North Carolina and who work at least 20 hours per week in a full-service animal healthcare practice. The third option is the Veterinary Assistant Program, which is also for presently employed veterinary assistants who work in a full-service practice for a minimum of 20 hours each week. If you meet any of the above obligations, you may take the AVA exam.
Working as a Vet Assistant in North Carolina
Veterinary assistant jobs are on the rise, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. There is a huge amount of opportunity in the veterinary field in North Carolina, with veterinary assistant positions multiplying rapidly. By the year 2024, an anticipated 20 percent job growth for veterinary assistants is expected to take place in North Carolina. Vet assistants in the state earn an average of $26,250 annually, but this rate fluctuates between different cities and practices and is also based on levels of experience. Assistants working in Winston-Salem, Durham, Charlotte and Raleigh earn upwards of $28,000 per year.
If you have completed your education and/or received certification and wish to find employment as a veterinary assistant in North Carolina, you can find work across the state.
Veterinary Centers of America (VCA) locations are a highly sought after potential employer among vet assistants in the state of North Carolina. VCA locations are sprinkled throughout the country and are known for the extremely high level of veterinary care they offer. North Carolina has several VCA hospitals including VCA Stoney Creek Animal Hospital in Charlotte, NC; VCA Animal Hospital West, Winston-Salem, NC; VCA Triangle Tower Animal Hospital in Raleigh, NC and VCA Whispering Pines Animal Hospital in Carthage, NC.