Becoming a Veterinary Assistant in Nevada
A passion for animals is the only prerequisite for learning how to become a veterinary assistant in Nevada. The state has no educational or licensing requirements, but those individuals who complete a program and gain national certification are the best candidates for the available jobs. There are plenty of opportunities in the state for those people who love animals and want a career caring for them.
Working as a Veterinary Assistant in Nevada
The state of Nevada defines a veterinary assistant as someone who has less training and fewer skills than a veterinary technician and who works under the supervision of veterinarians and vet techs. They are responsible for basic animal care tasks like watering, feeding, restraining, transporting, bathing and exercising, and can complete them without supervision.
The exact duties of a veterinary assistant depend on the employer, but the state also outlines very specific tasks that a vet assistant can do with immediate, direct and indirect supervision of a veterinarian or vet tech. Some examples of these are:
- Assisting with surgeries
- Applying bandages
- Monitoring anesthesia and vital signs
- Collecting samples
- Administering medications
- Giving subcutaneous fluids
- Filling prescriptions
How to Become a Veterinary Assistant in Nevada
Nevada has no requirements for education, training or licensing of veterinary assistants. It is up to the hiring veterinarian to determine what qualifications are appropriate in an assistant. The most desirable candidates for jobs, regardless of the lack of state requirements, are those who have completed some type of post-secondary education in animal care or veterinary assisting.
An alternative to completing an educational program is to be trained on the job. Some veterinarians may be willing to hire someone who will work with a vet tech to be trained in animal care and basic veterinary practices.
Veterinary Assistant Programs in Nevada
There are not many dedicated veterinary assistant programs at colleges in Nevada. One program that is available and that offers a certificate that takes about nine months to complete is at in Las Vegas. This program includes coursework in animal physiology, basic computer and math skills, clinical lab procedures, office procedures, anesthesia, surgical assisting and more. It also includes an externship so that students get hands-on experience working with animals in a veterinary setting. The tuition cost is $13,805.
National Certification for Veterinary Assistants
Students who have completed a program in veterinary assisting may also be interested in achieving national certification, which provides evidence for potential employers of skills and knowledge. NAVTA, the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America, offers an Approved Veterinary Assistant (AVA) certification.
The simplest way to get AVA certification is to complete a NAVTA-approved program and take the qualifying examination. Nevada does not have any of these programs, but a secondary way to get certified is to complete a program and gain some on-the-job experience. This practical experience qualifies a veterinary assistant to take and pass the exam for certification. Another alternative for students in Nevada is to complete the Penn Foster online program in veterinary assisting, which is NAVTA-approved.
The Career Outlook for Vet Assistants in Nevada
Most veterinary assistants in Nevada work in veterinary offices, animal hospitals, specialty hospitals and clinics, but they may also work in doggy day care and boarding facilities, on ranches working with large animals or in shelters working with rescue animals. They may even be hired to work in wildlife rescue centers.
While there are opportunities throughout the state, most jobs are available in and around Las Vegas and Reno. Some major employers include VCA Animal Hospitals and Banfield Pet Hospitals. Vet assistants are also hired to help veterinarians in laboratories, including the Charles River Laboratories in Reno. For those interested in rescue, the Best Friends Animal Society in Las Vegas hires vet assistants to care for animals.
Job growth in veterinary assisting is fast in all states, with 19-percent growth expected through 2026. The average salary for vet assistants in Nevada is $25,330 per year or $12.18 per hour. There are opportunities to earn more for those who are employed by larger facilities and who have more training and experience on the job.
When you’re ready to begin your career working with animals every day, consider training to become a veterinary assistant in Nevada. The path to this exciting career is short and affordable. In less than a year, you could be trained, nationally certified and ready to become a professional animal care worker.
College and University Listings
3333 East Flamingo Road, Las Vegas, Nevada 89121Veterinary Assistant – Certificate Program
Pima Medical Institute’s Certificate program is based at their Las Vegas campus in the city of Las Vegas, NV. This private, for-profit college has about 988 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools. Tuition fees for the Vet Tech program are generally about $12,024 annually. Books and supplies can cost around $743. The typical program completion time is 8 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.