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What Do Veterinary Assistants Do?

Are you certain that a career in animal care is right for you but not sure which option fits you best? You might want to consider pursuing a career as a veterinary assistant! Learn what veterinary assistants do on a day-to-day basis and more about the profession in this Student Life Blog post.

Penn Foster blog author icon.

Penn Foster

Are you in the early stages of your career planning, but certain that a career in animal care is right for you? If so, you have probably come across a wide variety of career options, ranging from pet grooming and obedience training to clinical jobs like veterinary assistants and technicians. Today, we will take a look at exactly what veterinary assistants do, as well as the level of education required to pursue a career as a veterinary assistant.

What do veterinary assistants do?

Veterinary assistants work in a veterinary clinic helping to assist in daily non-medical activities such as setting appointments, billing, clipping the animals nails, etc. While both veterinary technicians and veterinary assistants often work under the supervision of a supervised licensed veterinarian, there are a few major differences between the two professions. Check out this blog post detailing the differences between veterinary technicians and veterinary assistants.

Some of the day-to-day responsibilities of veterinary assistants include:

  • Feeding, bathing, and exercising animals
  • Setting up and cleaning equipment
  • Assisting in restraining or comforting animals
  • Front office work (answering phones, processing paperwork, scheduling appointments)

Read more: How to Go From Vet Assistant to Vet Tech

How to become a veterinary assistant

While a high school diploma is a must for those interested in pursuing a career as a veterinary assistant, furthering your education with a NAVTA-approved career program can help you learn skills relevant for working closely with animals. While Veterinary Assistants are not required to be a graduate of a NAVTA-approved veterinary assistant school, based on a recent employer survey, 87% of Veterinary practices are more likely to hire a graduate of a NAVTA-approved veterinary assistant program.*

Depending on your professional goals and the level of education you are willing to pursue, a career as a veterinary assistant is a great way to break into the animal care industry - and with veterinary assistant jobs rising at a faster-than-average rate, now might just be the perfect time to start your training. Still not sure what career path in animal care is right for you? Check out these careers for people who love to work with animals and see if you can find the right fit!

*Penn Foster. "Veterinary Technician and Assistant Employer Survey." 22 Aug 2014.

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