Becoming a Veterinary Assistant in Virginia

In Virginia, veterinary assistants provide treatment and care for animals under the supervision of veterinarians and veterinary technicians. There are not any specific education or certification requirements for the state, but most employers prefer employees who have at least a high school diploma or equivalent. Completing a training program is not required either, but may increase your chances of being hired.

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Working as a Veterinary Assistant in Virginia

Virginia has not defined the role of a veterinary assistant in the state; therefore, the employers are generally the ones who determine the hiring requirements and responsibilities of the veterinary assistants on their staff.

Some of the duties veterinary assistants may be expected to perform include but are not limited to: explaining treatment and procedures to clients, scheduling appointments and follow-ups, managing records, sanitizing examination rooms, preparing surgery equipment and rooms, animal restraint and grooming, feeding and walking.

Vet Assistant Programs in Virginia

While most employers of veterinary assistants in Virginia only require that employees have a high school diploma or GED, attending a veterinary assisting training program will prepare students by teaching them the skills they will need on the job as well as give them hands-on experience through clinical practice and internships. There are a few colleges that offer veterinary assistant programs in Virginia.

Featured School

Penn Foster College – Veterinary Assistant Program

  • NAVTA-Approved Veterinary Assistant Program
  • Support from award-winning Veterinary Academy Team
  • Complete in as little as 7 months
  • Call 1-800-851-1819 today.

The veterinary assistant program at Tidewater Community College can be completed in two semesters. This program can be taken on the Virginia Beach campus. The approximate cost of tuition is $3,000, which does not include books and supplies. This is a limited space program, with only 15-18 students accepted into the program each semester.

Pruden Center for Industry and Technology offers a two-year program that includes both in-class and clinical instruction. You can find out more about this program, including tuition cost, by contacting the school.

The veterinary assistant training program at Northern Virginia Community College can be taken on the Loudon campus. In addition to classroom instruction, students will complete 100 credit hours through a clinical externship. Tuition is $183.25 per credit hour for residents of Virginia.

Approved Veterinary Assistant Certification

Aspiring veterinary assistants may also want to consider becoming nationally certified. National certification is not required in the state of Virginia but could be an advantage when applying for jobs. It could also give one a higher earning potential.

The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America, or NAVTA, enables veterinary assistants to become nationally certified as an Approved Veterinary Assistant (AVA). To get certified, students must graduate from a NAVTA-approved program and pass the AVA exam. All of the programs mentioned previously are NAVTA approved. Students who have not taken a NAVTA-approved program can still qualify to take the AVA exam by either interning or working in a veterinary practice for a certain number of hours weekly. There is an exam fee of $100, and to maintain your standing as an AVA your certification will need to be renewed every two years.

Veterinary Assistant Jobs in Virginia

In Virginia, veterinary assistants can be found working in small and large veterinary offices and animal hospitals, specialty clinics, emergency hospitals, laboratories, animal shelters and zoos. There are several larger animal hospitals and clinics located throughout the state, such Veterinary Centers of America (VCA) hospitals, Banfield Pet Hospitals and VETCO clinics. There are 14 VCA locations in Virginia, as well as 20 Banfield Pet Hospitals and 32 VETCO clinics throughout the state.

Currently, veterinary assistants in the state have an average annual salary of $25,180. However, vet assistants in 16 Virginian cities, including Alexandria, Arlington, Chesapeake, Newport News, Norfolk, Richmond, Roanoke and Virginia Beach, have reported average annual salaries between $27,00 and $32,000. Higher salaries may be dependent on where in the state you are employed, your education, certification and experience.

Salaries in Virginia by Region

AreaTotal EmployedAverage Hourly WageAverage Annual Salary
Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford, VA50$13.52$28,120
Charlottesville, VA130$13.79$28,680
Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol, TN-VA170$10.79$22,450
Lynchburg, VA170$9.18$19,090
Richmond, VA280$12.38$25,750
Roanoke, VA140$11.35$23,620
Staunton-Waynesboro, VA50$9.08$18,890
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC630$12.39$25,770
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV1,940$14.38$29,920
Winchester, VA-WV80$12.44$25,880

Virginia ranks fifth in the United States as far as employment of veterinary assistants. The outlook for careers in Virginia for veterinary assistants is positive. At present, there are about 3,140 vet assistants working in the state, and that number is predicted to increase by 20 percent over the next six years.

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College and University Listings

Northwestern Virginia nonmetropolitan area Area

Blue Ridge Community College

1 College Lane, Weyers Cave, Virginia 24486-0080
Veterinary Assisting – Certificate Program

The Certificate program at Blue Ridge Community College can be taken at their campus in Weyers Cave in Augusta County, VA. The majority of of the school’s 4,388 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The cost of tuition for students living in the state is roughly about $5,019 and for students from other states around $10,857 for each academic year. Books and supplies can cost roughly $1,300, although this varies from program to program.

Southwestern Virginia nonmetropolitan area Area

Patrick Henry Community College

645 Patriot Avenue, Martinsville, Virginia 24112
Veterinary Assistant – Certificate Program

The Certificate program at Patrick Henry Community College can be taken at their campus in Martinsville in Martinsville City County, Virginia. This public college has round 2,853 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The cost of tuition for in-state students is about $4,360 and for students from other states in the order of $10,198 per year, while books and supplies may cost in the order of $1,180, although this varies from program to program.

Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC Area

Tidewater Community College

121 College Place, Norfolk, Virginia 23510
Veterinary Assistant – Certificate Program

Tidewater Community College’s Certificate program in Veterinary Assistant is offered at their campus in the city of Norfolk. The college has round 27,646 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The cost of tuition for in-state students is usually about $5,171 and for students from other states in the order of $11,009 per year, while books and supplies may cost in the order of $1,500, although this varies from program to program.

* 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.

Other Options

See also the neighbor states of Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and North Carolina. You can find vet technician programs in Virginia here.