Vet Assistant Schools In Massachusetts

The Benefits of Becoming a Vet Assistant in Massachusetts

Today’s veterinary care sector is showing a growing demand for pet care professionals of all types.

With more Americans than ever before demanding high-quality care for their beloved animal companions, skilled veterinary assistants are enjoying a job market with robust growth potential.

For this reason, many individuals have chosen to become veterinary assistants, whether they have just graduated from high school or are simply seeking to transition to a more rewarding career.

What is a Vet Assistant?

vet tech scrubsVeterinary assistants help veterinarians, vet techs and other professionals maintain the veterinary care facility in a cleanly and healthy condition. In addition, they assist the veterinarian in providing treatment to those animals currently under his or her care.

Depending on the size of the clinic, the vet assistant may work alone or may be part of a larger team of veterinary assistants.

Among the most common duties a veterinary assistant will undertake are the following:

  • Vet assistants ensure that food and water is available to all of the animals under their care. In many cases, they will also ensure that each animal is eating according to the diet specified by the veterinarian.
  • Vet assistants must closely observe the animals under their care and report any unexpected changes to their supervisor. This can be especially important as unexpected behavioral changes may indicate an ongoing illness or other health emergency on the part of the animal.
  • Many vet assistants regularly exercise the animals under their care. For domestic animals such as dogs and cats, this involves allowing them to run free in an enclosure. Vet assistants working with equines may be required to either ride them or place them on a lead during the exercise period.
  • Veterinary assistants will draw blood and take other biological samples under the direction of the veterinarian.
  • Vet assistants will also administer medication to those animals under their care.

Limitations on Veterinary Assistants

Vet assistants have a number of limitations in the services they can provide. Vet assistants are forbidden from providing the following services:

  • Independently treating an animal.
  • Prescribing medication to an animal.
  • Offering a diagnosis of an animal’s condition.
  • Representing himself or herself as a veterinarian or licensed veterinary technician.

It is important that all veterinary assistants remember these legal limitations on their services, as violating them could result in professional or legal sanction.

Other Vet Assistant Jobs

There are a wide range of other jobs available to veterinary assistants. Many zoos, wildlife care centers, research labs, humane shelters and animal control agencies make use of veterinary assistants in order to provide care for their animals. In most cases, the veterinary assistant’s duties will be similar to those he or she would have in a veterinary clinic.

Education for Veterinary Assistants

Currently, veterinary assistants do not need to be licensed in any state. For this reason, many vet assistants receive their training on the job. However, a growing number of veterinarians prefer to hire individuals who can demonstrate some level of professional training. For this reason, a growing number of community colleges and vocational training centers offer veterinary assistant programs.

In most cases, these programs take anywhere from six months to two years for a full-time student to complete. However, most programs currently offer a part-time scheduling for those students who are unable to attend classes on a regular schedule. This can be especially beneficial for students who are currently working or who have family obligations.

In addition, many schools offer online programs for those students who are unable to physically attend class. Students who take an online veterinary assistant program can complete their course work on their own schedule, without having to leave their own home. In many cases, online programs allow the student to directly interact with the instructor as he or she is teaching the course via social media or teleconferencing techniques.

Upon graduation, these programs confer a certificate upon the student, which confirms that he or she has demonstrated a high degree of proficiency in those skills needed to work as a veterinary assistant. Although there is currently no accreditation agency that evaluates veterinary assistant programs, most employers will accept proof of graduation as a certification of the vet assistant’s skills.

Finally, some students may seek out certification by a professional body in order to improve their professional qualifications. The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) offers certification programs for veterinary assistants as do a number of other professional associations. These programs allow the vet assistant to improve his or her skills in the field of veterinary medicine. This can be especially useful for vet assistants seeking to obtain higher levels of responsibility at their place of work.

Vet Assistant Salary Options

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the annual median wage for vet assistants in Massachusetts is over $32,000. This compares very favorably to the national median annual wage of just over $24,700.

In addition, Massachusetts employees over 2200 vet assistants as of may 2012, making future employment options for new vet assistants in the state very promising.

Ultimately, becoming a veterinary assistant can be an excellent choice for anyone seeking to work with animals in a clinical setting. Not only do vet assistants enjoy excellent career advancement options, they also enjoy the benefits of working closely with their local community. For these reasons, becoming a veterinary assistant can be a personally rewarding career choice.

Vet Assistant Programs In Massachusetts

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Quick Fact
In 2017, workers with a bachelor's degree or higher had almost twice as much
median earnings per week than workers with only a high school diploma*.
*Bureau of Labor Statistics