Becoming a Veterinary Assistant in North Dakota
Becoming a veterinary assistant is the perfect career if you love animals and have a passion for working with and caring for them. Many people struggle with finding a balance between career and doing what they love, but working as a vet assistant enables you to combine the two! You can make a difference in the lives of animals and their care takers by pursuing a career in the veterinary field.
The title of veterinary assistant is an entry level position in veterinary medicine. As a vet assistant, you will not only work alongside veterinarians and vet technicians but you will also help pet owners. Vet assistants are often the first contact for pet owners at animal clinics or hospitals. Because of this, ideal candidates for the position of vet assistants should be comfortable working with people and able to articulate information to pet owners well, such as how to administer medication and explaining which procedures their pets need to undergo.
Other duties of vet assistants may include cleaning and maintaining equipment, exercising and grooming pets, feeding pets, restraining and handling animals, handling pre- and post-surgery care as well as administrative and clerical work.
Education Requirements to Become a Veterinary Assistant in North Dakota
Currently, North Dakota has no educational requirements for veterinary assistants to work in the field. Each animal healthcare facility is left to determine its own hiring criteria—most of which prefer candidates who have a minimum of a high school diploma or GED equivalency. However, additional training may prove to be beneficial for your future career as a vet assistant and prospective employers tend to favor candidates who have pursued further education.
North Dakota has several distance learning and campus programs to choose from, including Lake Region State College in Devils Lake, Dakota College at Bottineau in Bottineau and Bismarck State College in Bismarck. These training programs may differ from one another but they all focus on providing future vet assistants with the necessary knowledge to help them excel in their career, including areas such as breed identification, medical terminology, restraint techniques, chemical safety, administering medication and more.
Certification for North Dakota Veterinary Assistants
Some veterinary assistants wish to add certification to their repertoire, which can be gainful when looking for employment. The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) has teamed up with VetMed to offer Approved Veterinary Assistant (AVA) certification exams. The State of North Dakota does not have any NAVTA-approved programs but you can still receive AVA certification. This form of certification will set you apart from other candidates, proving that you have been trained at the highest of industry standards.
Veterinary Assistant Careers in North Dakota
North Dakota is a great state to work as a veterinary assistant as the annual salary for vet assistants exceeds that of vet assistants in many other states. The average annual salary of vet assistants in North Dakota is $29,270, according to the US Department of Labor Statistics. An ongoing demand is anticipated for new North Dakota vet assistants over the next seven years, with an expected 11 percent increase in the number of jobs in the state.
Once you are ready to pursue employment as a North Dakota veterinary assistant, you have several options to apply to. Unlike many other states, North Daktota does not home veterinary hospitals with national locations such as Banfield Pet Hospitals or Veterinary Centers of America. Rather than looking for work through these organizations, you may want to consider privately owned facilities including:
- Steele Veterinary Clinic in Steele
- Southgate Veterinary Hospital in Fargo
- Lewis and Clark Animal Hospital in Bismarck
- Pinkerton Animal Hospital in Minot