Veterinary Assistant Schools The Benefits of Becoming a Veterinary Assistant in California The veterinary care sector is a rapidly growing part of the American economy. From families that demand the best care for their treasured companion animals, to humane shelters and wildlife management programs, the need for skilled veterinary workers is greater than ever. Because of this, becoming a veterinary assistant in California can be a wise decision for those seeking an animal care centered career. The Duties of the Veterinary Assistant Veterinary assistants support the veterinarian and veterinary technicians in order to help them provide high quality care. While they are not allowed to conduct most veterinary procedures, they play a vital role in ensuring that the animals currently being treated are maintained in a humane and comfortable manner. The most common duties of the veterinary assistant include the following: Ensure that all animals under the care of the clinic are properly fed and watered. This will include regularly replacing old food and water with fresh materials, and ensuring that every animal is receiving the specific diet prescribed by the vet. Clean and sterilize enclosures, rooms and equipment in order to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. This will also require the veterinary assistant to know how to use cleaning chemicals in a safe manner when they are in close proximity to animals and clients. Observe and report any unusual behavior on the part of the animals to the veterinarian or vet tech. Exercise those animals that require it. The veterinary assistant must be able to work with animals that may be frightened or hostile. The veterinary assistant will record, organize and retrieve veterinary records for the veterinarian. Working with clients and customers in the front office. This includes scheduling appointments and billing customers after their animals have been treated. These duties all require that the veterinary assistant be responsible, capable of working independently, and be able to effectively work with clients and their fellow veterinary professionals. Additionally, they must be very detail oriented when working with medical or financial records. Finally, the veterinary assistant must have excellent reading and verbal comprehension skills, as many of their duties will involve following detailed verbal or written instructions from their supervisor. Becoming a Veterinary Assistant in California California does not require veterinary assistants to be certified in order to practice. However, while some veterinary assistants are hired and trained by their supervisors, obtaining an education in this field can improve the individual’s professional and salary prospects. Due to this, it is wise for those intending to become veterinary assistants to enter a veterinary assistant program. Most full-time students take a year or less to complete a veterinary assistant program. Upon finishing the program, they are provided a certificate of completion. Many programs also offer part-time and online options to allow students who are currently working to attend classes on their own schedule. Finally, while there is no national accrediting agency for veterinary assistant programs, most of the instructors will be experienced veterinary professionals. Veterinary Technician Schools In California [edu-search]vt_schools_in_c010101083006[/edu-search] California Veterinary Medical Association Certification Finally, the California Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) offers a certified veterinary assistant program. While this is not required to practice as a veterinary assistant, completion of this program demonstrates that the individual has a high degree of skill and can be very useful when obtaining employment as a veterinary assistant. In some cases, a certified veterinary assistant may be able to obtain a higher wage than those who have not been certified by the CVMA. Career Opportunities for Veterinary Assistants According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are over 8,000 veterinary assistants and laboratory caregivers in California. The BLS has also estimated that the current annual mean salary for veterinary assistants in California is over $26,000. This compares very favorably with other fields that require a similar level of education. Furthermore, becoming a veterinary assistant may be an excellent first step for those intending to progress to other veterinary professions, such as the field of veterinary technology. Finally, the BLS has estimated that available job openings for veterinary assistants will increase by 14 percent between 2010 and 2020. This indicates that their will continue to be openings for new veterinary assistants for the foreseeable future. When combined with the growing importance of high quality veterinary care in America, this makes becoming a veterinary assistant an excellent career choice.