How To Become a Veterinary Assistant in New York

Veterinary assistants working in New York are animal lovers who provide hands-on care and assistance in veterinary settings. There are no official requirements for becoming a vet assistant in the state, but many people complete a certificate program to be a more desirable job candidate and to land a dream job taking care of animals.

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What Veterinary Assistants in New York Do

The state of New York does not have a strict definition of veterinary assisting but simply refers to these workers as anyone in a veterinary role who is not a licensed veterinarian or vet tech. The state does state that a vet assistant is allowed to provide supportive services, such as administering topical and oral medications.

What veterinary assistants are allowed to do is defined as any support service for a veterinarian that does not require knowledge of veterinary science. This leaves a lot of the duties up to an employer. A vet assistant may help with procedures and exams, take samples or assist with imaging and diagnostics, and also provide basic animal care like exercising, feeding, and bathing. They may also do administrative work, including managing appointments, taking phone calls, and filing.

How to Become a Veterinary Assistant in New York

New York has no educational or certification requirements for working as a veterinary assistant. It is up to individual employers to determine the necessary qualifications. While there are no state requirements, it is beneficial for students interested in this career to complete a veterinary assisting program. Many employers prefer to hire workers who have had some training with animals and who have a basic level of veterinary knowledge.

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Veterinary Assistant Programs in New York

There are not many dedicated programs in New York for training veterinary assistants. One is available to high school students through the Wayne Technical and Career Center, which pulls from 11 school districts. The program trains high school seniors in basic animal care, veterinary procedures, office and administrative work, and surgical assisting. Students also get to participate in a co-op at a local veterinary office.

At the college level, SUNY Ulster in Stone Ridge offers a certificate program in animal science office assisting. The program is a result of surveys of local veterinarians, so the curriculum is targeted at developing skills that are useful in hiring veterinary assistants. Coursework includes veterinary terminology, animal nutrition, basic veterinary technology, animal parasites, behavioral medicine, and animal handling.

American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Certification

The AVMA offers a credentialing program for veterinary assistants. This certification is not always necessary to get hired, but it may be useful for those who want to work in specialty practices and/or advance their careers. To get certified, students must pass an exam that covers topics such as animal anatomy, general medical terminology, safety and hygiene, record keeping, animal nursing care, and office procedures. The certificate is valid for two years before it needs to be renewed.

Certification may also give veterinary assistants a competitive edge in the job market since many employers prefer candidates with credentials.

National Certification for Veterinary Assistants

Students who successfully complete the Wayne Technical and Career Center program qualify to take the certification exam set by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA). The program is NAVTA-approved, so passing students can take the exam and earn Approved Veterinary Assistant (AVA) certification. This is the only NAVTA-approved program in the state for AVA.

Those who have completed a different program, such as the one at SUNY Ulster, can also qualify to take the AVA exam. They must have a certain amount of hands-on work experience in veterinary assisting in order to qualify. AVA certification is not required, but it provides proof of knowledge and skills and can give a job candidate an advantage in hiring.

Outlook for Veterinary Assistants in New York

In all states, the outlook for this career is good, with faster-than-average job growth of 17 percent. Thousands of new positions are expected to be available for qualified vet assistants in the coming years. In New York, there are over 5,070 veterinary assistants currently, but there is room for many more. The salary for vet assistants in the state is higher than in most others. The average annual income is $37,510, compared to the national average of just $34,740.

Salaries in New York by Region

AreaTotal EmployedAverage Hourly WageAverage Annual Salary
Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY220$13.16$27,370
Binghamton, NY100$12.69$26,400
Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY480$12.75$26,510
Glens Falls, NY50$13.09$27,230
Ithaca, NY130$18.64$38,760
Kingston, NY**$13.06$27,160
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA2,670$14.75$30,670
Rochester, NY300$13.79$28,680
Syracuse, NY260$14.71$30,600

Vet assistants in New York mostly work in veterinary offices, animal clinics and hospitals, and similar settings. The biggest area for employment is in New York City and its suburbs. In addition to veterinary offices, vet assistants are hired by academic institutions, laboratories, and animal rescues and shelters, including the New York ASPCA.

Working with animals is a dream come true for many people. It doesn’t have to be hard to reach that goal. Becoming a veterinary assistant in New York doesn’t actually require any training, only a passion for animals. Getting a certificate is helpful, though, and programs for veterinary assisting don’t take long and are affordable. With a few months of education, you could be prepared to be hired anywhere in the state.

Search Veterinary Assistant Programs

Get information on Veterinary Assistant programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

Sponsored Listings