Veterinary Assistant Careers in Rhode Island
Veterinary assistants are entry-level healthcare professionals who provide healthcare for sick or injured animals. Vet assistants perform a wide array of duties in animal healthcare facilities, making veterinary assistants invaluable parts of the veterinary team and helping a veterinary practice offer the best veterinary care possible.
Duties of veterinary assistants may include:
- Providing food and water to animals
- Providing medical care to sick or injured animals
- Sterilizing lab and surgical equipment
- Providing pre-and post-operative care
- Cleaning and disinfecting animal cages
- Administering medications under the supervision of a veterinarian
How To Become a Veterinary Assistant in Rhode Island
To become a veterinary assistant in Rhode Island, you are not required to hold any specific level of education. The state leaves this up to the individual to determine on their own. Most employers look for a minimum of a high school diploma or GED equivalency.
If you wish to attend a vet assistant training program in the state of Rhode Island, you can take classes that are part of certificate programs. These training programs are available in many locations and can be taken online or on campus through several educational institutions.
You may want to pursue training at one of several schools in the state, such as Community College of Rhode Island in Warwick, or online through Animal Behavior College, a National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) approved program.
Veterinary Assistant Certification in Rhode Island
Rhode Island and NAVTA have not laid out any specific requirements for veterinary assistants to complete as far as state training or credentialing goes; however, some options are available for residents of Rhode Island who want to become approved veterinary assistants, such as attaining an Approved Veterinary Assistant (AVA). Although it is not required to obtain an AVA certification, there are advantages to pursuing one as it can help with finding employment, with job stability and a higher starting salary.
The NAVTA has approved three options for veterinary assistant certifications in Rhode Island, which include an Externship Option for vet assistants who are seeking employment in a veterinary practice, Experiential Learner for those who are employed as a vet assistant in Rhode Island and work at least 20 hours per week and Veterinary Assistant Program for those who are working 20 hours or more weekly as vet assistants in a full-service veterinary facility.
Once you are eligible to receive an AVA certificate and complete the AVA examination with a passing grade, you will officially be a certified veterinary assistant.
Finding Work as a Veterinary Assistant in Rhode Island
Although Rhode Island does not have a large population of vet assistants, the state offers competitive salaries for working veterinary assistants. Only two states have a smaller number of veterinary assistants than Rhode Island, but this does not affect the wage of vet assistants. A veterinary assistant working in Rhode Island earns a median income of $31,460 annually, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, ranking the average salary at fifth among all average vet assistant salaries in the 50 states. Earning potential is similar across the entire state, with little fluctuation from city to city; however, employees’ levels of education and the type of practice they work for may play into their pay rate.
If you are ready to pursue a position as a veterinary assistant in Rhode Island, you may want to start your job search at any of the following potential employers:
- Banfield Pet Hospital, located in Warwick and Johnston, Rhode Island
- Veterinary Centers of America, found at VCA Atwood Animal Hospital in Cranston, VCA Povar Animal Hospital in East Providence, and VCA Turco Animal Hospital in Westerly