How To Become a Veterinary Assistant in Texas
A career as a veterinary assistant is a great way to earn a living while doing something you’re passionate about. These professionals assist veterinarians and veterinary technicians, helping with exams and procedures, while also providing basic animal care and completing administrative duties.
Veterinary Assistant Certification Texas
The state of Texas defines two types of veterinary assistants: certified and not certified. A veterinary assistant is defined as any individual employed by a licensed veterinarian, who performs animal care tasks and is neither certified nor a veterinary technician. A certified veterinary assistant is an employee of a licensed veterinarian, who has been certified by the Texas Veterinary Medical Association (TVMA).
To some degree, the duties of a vet assistant depend on the employer. These often include basic animal care as well as administrative work. The state of Texas also defines certain tasks that veterinary assistants can do under the supervision of a veterinarian or vet tech, including:
- Closing wounds with sutures
- Administering anesthesia
- Drawing blood
- Procuring samples from an animal for testing
How to Become a Vet Assistant in Texas
Texas does not have any requirements for becoming a veterinary assistant. It is recommended, however, that individuals who want to work in this field have a minimum of a high school diploma or a GED. It is also beneficial to complete an educational program after high school to learn basic animal care and veterinary office skills. Veterinary assistant programs are typically less than a year-long and confer a diploma or certificate.
Veterinary Assistant Programs in Texas
Completing a post-secondary program in veterinary assisting is not required in Texas, but it is recommended. There are a few programs in the state that teach students the skills and knowledge needed to work with a veterinarian or vet tech and to provide animals with good care.
Both campuses of the Pima Medical Institute in Texas, in El Paso and Houston, offer a nine-month-long certificate program in veterinary assisting. The program includes both classroom study and hands-on externship experiences for a total of 30 credit hours.
Cedar Valley College in Lancaster offers a program for veterinary technician assisting. It includes continuing education courses but is not a certificate- or diploma-granting program. Palo Alto College in San Antonio has a program available for future veterinary assistants, and it prepares students to become certified by the TVMA. It is a 32-credit, certificate course.
The TVMA offers three levels of certification for veterinary assistants in the state. This certification is not required, but it is a good way for individuals to show employers that they have certain skills and knowledge. To achieve the first level as a certified veterinary assistant (CVA), candidates must have at least 500 hours of work experience, be able to demonstrate hands-on skills, and pass the exam.
To achieve CVA levels II and III, a veterinary assistant must complete six additional months of hands-on work experience. At the end of each six months, they are then eligible to take and pass the next certification level exam. To keep the certification up-to-date, CVAs must renew each year for a $30 fee and show proof of the completion of at least five credits of continuing education.
Veterinary assistants in Texas may also choose to get nationally certified through the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA). The organization offers the Approved Veterinary Assistant (AVA) certification for those who want national recognition for their skills and knowledge. Vet assistants in Texas who want to qualify to take the AVA exam can do so by proving they have a certain amount of work experience.
Career Outlook for Veterinary Assistants in Texas
In all states, careers for veterinary assisting are on the rise with a job growth rate of 24 percent. In Texas, there are more than 5,000 vet assistants employed currently, but that number is expected to continue to grow. The average annual salary for these professionals in the state is $29,910, but there is room to earn more with experience and certification.
|Area||Total Employed||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Salary|
|Austin-Round Rock, TX||550||$11.92||$24,790|
|College Station-Bryan, TX||100||$14.24||$29,610|
|Corpus Christi, TX||**||$9.89||$20,580|
|Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX||1,190||$11.04||$22,960|
|El Paso, TX||**||$12.37||$25,730|
|Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX||1,160||$12.14||$25,240|
|San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX||680||$11.93||$24,810|
Most vet assistants work in veterinary offices, animal hospitals and clinics, animal emergency centers, and specialty veterinary offices. Other employers for vet assistants include universities, laboratories, rescue groups and animal shelters, and ranches. While there are opportunities in small towns and rural areas, most veterinary assistants in Texas are employed in and around the major population centers, including Dallas, Houston, Austin, El Paso, and San Antonio.
If you live in Texas and are interested in working with animals, a career as a veterinary assistant is a great option. You can train and be hired in less than a year and get started working with and handling animals.
College and University Listings
- Fort Worth-Arlington, TX Metropolitan Division
- Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX
- San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX
- Waco, TX
Fort Worth-Arlington, TX Metropolitan Division Area
225 College Park Drive, Weatherford, Texas 76086-5699
Weatherford College’s Certificate program in Veterinary Assisting is offered at their campus in the town of Weatherford, Texas. The majority of the school’s 5,613 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Fees for tuition for in-district students are likely to be about $2,400 and are $3,720 and $5,280 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Study materials can cost about $1,200, although this will depend on the program.
Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX Area
Houston Community College
3100 Main Street, Houston, Texas 77002
Houston Community College’s Certificate-level Veterinary Assistant program is offered at its campus in the city of Houston, TX. The majority of the school’s 58,276 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Tuition fees for in-district students are roughly about $1,632 and are $3,360 and $3,756 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Books and supplies can cost roughly $3,000, although this will depend on the program.
Pima Medical Institute-Houston
10201 Katy Freeway, Houston, Texas 77024
The Certificate program at Pima Medical Institute can be taken at their Houston campus in the city of Houston, TX. The majority of the school’s 993 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools. The cost of tuition for the Vet Tech program is about $12,024 for each academic year. Books and supplies can cost roughly $743. The typical program completion time is 8 months.
San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX Area
Palo Alto College
1400 W Villaret Blvd, San Antonio, Texas 78224-2499
The Certificate program at Palo Alto College can be taken at their campus in the city of San Antonio, TX. The majority of the school’s 8,376 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Fees for tuition for in-district students are roughly about $2,088 and are $5,550 and $10,740 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Books and supplies can cost roughly $2,074, although this will depend on the program.
Waco, TX Area
McLennan Community College
1400 College Dr, Waco, Texas 76708
McLennan Community College’s Certificate-level Veterinary Assistant program is taught at its campus in the city of Waco. This public college has about 8,294 students in total, with the majority of students in 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Fees for tuition for in-district students are roughly about $2,760 and are $3,192 and $4,560 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Books and supplies can cost roughly $1,260, although this will depend on the program.
* 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.