How To Become a Veterinary Assistant in Oklahoma
If you are looking to jump into a career as a veterinary assistant, you should start by finding the right training program. The best programs will teach you what you need to know from professionals who work in the veterinary field.
Since there are multiple veterinary assistant programs available in Oklahoma, a good place to start when looking for a training program would be to find one that is properly accredited. These courses teach everything from medical terminology and procedural techniques to animal breed identification and administrative duties. With so many programs available in Oklahoma and online, there are plenty of options.
Job Criteria and Program Basics
Veterinary assistants are asked to do a lot of tasks that depend on the employer and the type of facility. For example, veterinary assistants who work in a standard veterinary office will interact with clients and their pets on a daily basis. They may also be asked to do administrative tasks like managing records, answering phones, and setting appointments. Other duties include having to care for the animals, prep, and cleaning equipment and exam rooms, and assist with procedures. These duties will be the same in facilities like animal hospitals, shelters, and kennels, but they may vary in places like zoos, pet spas, or grooming companies.
Since veterinarian assistant programs are offered through various institutions in Oklahoma, the cost of tuition, the length of the program, and coursework will vary.
A few programs to consider in Oklahoma are:
- Community Care College in Tulsa
- Murray State College in Tishomingo
- Moore Norman Technology Center in Norman
Community Care College in Tulsa features an accelerated veterinary assistant program, where students can finish in as little as 32 weeks. A certified veterinary assistant and licensed veterinarian teach classes. Courses include classroom instruction and labs, clinical skills, and field trips that provide the student with hands-on experience as well as networking opportunities for future employment. The veterinary assistant program at Community Care College has a 92-percent job placement rate for graduates. According to the website, tuition is approximately $14,477, and the cost of books is $309. These numbers do not include the cost of living on campus.
Murray State College in Tishomingo, Oklahoma, offers a one-year veterinary assistant program consisting of two courses. The student must pass both to obtain certification. The courses teach everyday skills and nursing procedures. This program also teaches exotic animal care, which could be beneficial for those who may be considering employment in a zoo. Tuition for Murray State College is $140 per credit hour for Oklahoma State residents. The cost of books and other campus fees apply as well. There is also a $75 fee per course for the veterinary assistant program at Murray State.
Finally, Moore Norman Technology Center in Norman, Oklahoma, offers a veterinary assistant program that is only open to high school juniors and seniors from that area. The veterinary assistant program at Moore Norman is one of several high school student-specific programs that provide students with not only certification to help find a job after graduation, but also credit hours and experience to work toward higher levels of education, such as a veterinary technician or veterinarian, if that is what the student chooses. These programs generally take four semesters to complete for part-time students and two semesters for full-time students. Students must pass a drug screening and take a CPR class prior to enrollment. The CPR class is offered at Moore Norman during the summer at no cost. Other costs for students in this program will include a TB screening, other immunizations if they are not up-to-date, black scrubs and appropriate athletic shoes, and headphones for computer programs. Students are also responsible for their transportation to and from clinical sites. The veterinary assistant program at Moore Norman has a 96-percent job placement rate for graduates.
Veterinary Assistant Certification
At present, there are no minimum education requirements in Oklahoma to become a veterinary assistant. That said, most institutions require students to have a high school diploma or a GED. Similarly, most employers want their assistants to have at least that same level of education. When it comes to working in the position, there is no state requirement for specific certifications to work as a veterinary assistant. However, training and experience will certainly help when looking for employment.
In addition to taking an accredited training program, those considering a career as a veterinary assistant may also wish to obtain national certification as an Approved Veterinary Assistant (AVA). This certification is not mandatory to be employed as a veterinary assistant in Oklahoma but may improve one’s chances of finding a job.
Those who are interested in becoming an AVA in Oklahoma have a few options. The first would be to complete a veterinary assistant program that is approved by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA). There are currently 36 campus programs that are NAVTA approved. None of these campuses are located in Oklahoma; however, there are four approved online programs that students may consider. Once an approved program is completed, the student pays a $100 fee to take the certification exam. If the student passes, they receive a certificate and will then be nationally certified as an AVA.
If someone has already completed a program that is not NAVTA approved but would still like to become an AVA, they do have other choices. The first would be an externship. This option applies to veterinary assistants who are not already employed. They can complete training while working with a veterinarian at their practice. This would be an unpaid position but would give the trainee hands-on experience and enable them to take the certification exam. Veterinary assistants who are currently employed either full or part-time can also take the exam. They must be working for a licensed veterinarian at least 20 hours a week to be qualified.
Once a veterinary assistant becomes an AVA in the state of Oklahoma, they must renew their certification every two years by paying a $10 renewal fee and taking continuing education courses.
American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)
In addition to the NAVTA certification, those wishing to become a veterinary assistant in Oklahoma can also obtain certification from the American Veterinary Medical Association. This certification is not as widely recognized as the AVA but may be beneficial for some students seeking employment in the field. In order to become certified by AVMA, candidates must
complete a minimum of 12 credits in veterinary-related courses. These can be completed at an accredited college or university, or through the AVMA online course offerings. Once these requirements are met, the candidate must pass a comprehensive exam administered by AVMA in order to receive certification. Overall, becoming a certified veterinary assistant in Oklahoma is not mandatory but it may be beneficial for those looking to pursue a career in the field. Completing an accredited training program or obtaining national certification through NAVTA or AVMA can help job seekers stand out in the competitive market. Similarly, taking continuing education courses and renewing certifications every two years will demonstrate knowledge of current standards and regulations, making one more desirable to potential employers.
Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association
In addition to NAVTA and AVMA certifications, the Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association also offers certification for veterinary assistants in the state. The OVMA offers a Certified Veterinary Assistant Program (CVAP) which is available to both employed and unemployed veterinary assistants. Candidates must complete a 10-hour online course, pass an oral and practical exam, and pay a fee in order to obtain this certification. This certification is not as widely recognized as NAVTA or AVMA certifications but may be beneficial for those looking to become employed in Oklahoma.
Overall, becoming a certified veterinary assistant in Oklahoma can benefit job seekers by demonstrating their knowledge of current standards and regulations, making them more desirable to potential employers. Certification through NAVTA or AVMA is the most widely recognized and is the best choice for those seeking employment in the field. For those already employed, getting certified through OVMA can be another way to showcase their skills and dedication to their profession. Ultimately, it is up to each individual candidate to decide which certification is right for them.
Finding Work as Veterinary Assistant in Oklahoma
The Veterinary Centers of America (VCA), as well as the VETCO Wellness Centers and Vaccinations Clinics inside PETCO, are both well-known national establishments in the veterinary field and have multiple locations throughout the state of Oklahoma. In addition to these employers, veterinary assistants in Oklahoma can look for employment at other privately owned veterinary offices, clinics and animal hospitals, zoos, animal shelters, and kennels.
The average hourly wage of a veterinary assistant in Oklahoma is $11.36, and the average annual salary is $23,630. The salaries of veterinary assistants in the state of Oklahoma can range anywhere from $16,810 to $31,160 annually. However, pay rates will be determined by what kind of establishment one works for, as well as the experience and education level of the veterinary assistant. Salary also varies throughout the state. Veterinary assistants in Altus, Oklahoma, reported an annual salary of $25,082, while those in Tulsa reported an annual salary of $28,433.
The state of Oklahoma ranks in the top half of states as far as the number of veterinary assistants employed statewide. Oklahoma also has a predicted growth rate of two percent over the next seven years for veterinary assistants.
With this information at your disposal, you’re fully prepared to embark on your journey to become a veterinary assistant.
College and University Listings
Northwestern Oklahoma nonmetropolitan area Area
High Plains Technology Center
3921 34th St, Woodward, Oklahoma 73801
The Veterinary Assistant Certificate program at High Plains Technology Center is offered at their campus in Woodward in Woodward County, Oklahoma. Most of the school’s 262 students are in diploma programs of under two years. The college is institutionally accredited by the Oklahoma Board of Career and Technology Education. The cost of tuition is broadly in the order of $2,625 yearly, while study materials may cost about $3,000, depending on the program.
Pioneer Technology Center
2101 N Ash, Ponca City, Oklahoma 74601
The Veterinary Assistant Certificate program at Pioneer Technology Center can be taken at their campus in the town of Ponca City. Most of the school’s 436 students are in diploma programs of under two years. The cost of tuition is in the order of $2,625 yearly, while study materials may cost about $816, depending on the program.
Southeastern Oklahoma nonmetropolitan area Area
Wes Watkins Technology Center
7892 Highway 9, Wetumka, Oklahoma 74883-6155
Wes Watkins Technology Center offers various Certificate program options in Veterinary Technology. Classes are taken at their campus in Wetumka in Hughes County. Most of the school’s 81 students are in diploma programs of under two years. The cost of tuition is in the order of $5,214 yearly, while study materials may cost in the order of $1,585, although this will vary with the program.
Tulsa, OK Area
Community Care College
4242 South Sheridan, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74145
Community Care College’s Associate program is offered at their campus in the city of Tulsa. The college has about 626 students in total, with most students in 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools. Tuition fees for the Vet Tech program are around $13,892 per year. Learning materials may cost an order of $277. Program completion is usually 8 months.
* Tuition fees and accreditation status are correct at the time of writing, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (http://nces.ed.gov/). Confirm with the college before applying.