Becoming a Veterinary Assistant in New Mexico
Veterinary assistants in New Mexico work with animals and assist veterinarians and vet techs. They do not have to have a specific education or any certification, but employers like to hire assistants who have completed a training program. Working as a vet assistant is a great job for anyone who loves animals, and there are plenty of opportunities in New Mexico for those who are qualified.
Veterinary Assistant Certification New Mexico
There are no official requirements in the state of New Mexico for becoming a veterinary assistant. The state does not define this role either, so the hiring requirements and the duties are up to the employer to determine. Although no educational program is technically required, it is recommended that candidates for vet assisting jobs complete a post-secondary diploma or certificate program to gain basic skills and knowledge needed for working with animals.
Vet assistants working in New Mexico are likely to provide basic animal care, such as feeding, providing water, grooming and bathing, exercising, and cleaning up after animals. They also may perform administrative tasks, such as taking phone calls, scheduling appointments, and communicating with clients and pet owners. Depending on the employer, veterinary assistants may also assist in exams, procedures, lab work, and treatments, working directly with veterinary technicians and veterinarians.
Vet Assistant Programs in New Mexico
New Mexico has a few colleges with programs that prepare students to work as vet assistants. The state does not require that veterinary assistants have any special training or education, but it does help in getting hired by veterinarians. One such program is at Pima Medical Institute in Albuquerque. It includes courses in animal life stages, animal nutrition, surgical assisting, anesthesia, and diagnostic imaging, among other important topics. The program includes 30 credits and takes about nine months to complete.
At Northern New Mexico College in Espanola, students can complete a program for veterinary assisting in just six weeks. The program of study was developed and is taught by an experienced veterinarian. Students work online at their own pace and learn about vaccines, parasites, nutrition, first aid, prescriptions, and other topics important for working in a veterinary setting. This program does not offer any hands-on instruction, but it costs just $90, and, optionally, can be extended to a full six months of study.
Approved Veterinary Assistant Certification
In addition to getting an education in basic animal care and veterinary practices, anyone hoping to work in this career should consider seeking national certification. New Mexico does not require that vet assistants be licensed or certified, but certification through NAVTA, the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America, is a great way to show evidence of learned skills and knowledge to potential employers.
NAVTA offers Approved Veterinary Assistant (AVA) certification. To get certified, candidates must qualify for and then pass the AVA exam. Graduates of NAVTA-approved programs qualify for the exam, but there are no such programs in New Mexico. Students of programs in the state can work for a period of time in a veterinary setting and get a certain number of hands-on hours to qualify to take the exam and get certified.
Veterinary Assistant Jobs in New Mexico
Veterinary assistants in New Mexico mostly work in veterinary practices, including small and large offices, animal hospitals, specialty clinics, and emergency facilities. Some vet assistants work in academic settings, in laboratories, or in shelters and for animal rescue groups. Some of the bigger employers in the state are in and around Albuquerque, such as the VCA Animal Hospital or Banfield Pet Hospital.
The outlook for careers in the state for qualified veterinary assistants is positive. The growth across the country in this career is 19 percent, which is much faster than average job growth. Right now there are about 660 veterinary assistants working in New Mexico, and they earn an average annual salary of $24,910. Vet assistants in the state have the opportunity to earn more with experience, certification, and depending on the employer.
Salaries in New Mexico by Region
|Area||Total Employed||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Salary|
|Las Cruces, NM||**||$10.35||$21,540|
|Santa Fe, NM||60||$18.40||$38,270|
If you have been dreaming of a career that is more meaningful and that involves one of your passions, consider working toward becoming a veterinary assistant in New Mexico. With this job you can earn a good living while making a difference for animals every day on the job.
College and University Listings
4400 Cutler Avenue NE, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87110Veterinary Assistant – Certificate Program
Pima Medical Institute’s Certificate program in Veterinary Assistant is offered at their Albuquerque campus in the city of Albuquerque. This private, for-profit college has about 892 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools. Fees for tuition are about $12,024 annually. Books and supplies can cost around $670, although this will depend on the 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.