Veterinary Assistant Salary
Job Description for Veterinary Assistant
The veterinary assistant primarily assists veterinarians in a practice with animal care. Often, it involves working side by side with the veterinarian to administer vaccinations, draw blood for testing, or otherwise generally assist in examinations and care. In certain situations, they are called upon to assist the veterinarian in surgical procedures as well.Read More...
The veterinary assistant may have office duties as well in some practices. They may help with scheduling appointments, work as a liaison with pet owners, and help maintain a clean, healthy waiting area and examination environment. Thus, depending on the situation, an assistant may need at least some familiarity with office functions such as word processing and file management.
Where allowed by licensing requirements, the assistant also typically has supervisory responsibilities for animals left in the care of the veterinary practice. They handle proper feeding and water schedules, and they must keep such areas clean and sanitary, working to assist housebroken animals in elimination and other hands-on needs.
One of the main requirements for the veterinary assistant position is a love for and comfort with animals and pets of all kinds. Additionally, being a veterinary assistant normally requires some form of technical or vocational training and certification. Normally, veterinary assistants work standard business hours, but, in certain practices, they may also be required to spend late nights or overnights at the clinic in the aforementioned supervisory role.
Veterinary Assistant Tasks
- Maintain animals, including feeding, cleaning, administering drugs and documenting care.
- Support examinations by obtaining data and ensuring a safe environment.
- Inventory equipment and medications to determine ordering needs and availability.
- Interact with animals, staff and owners to determine care plans move animals to designated locations.
- Train owners in drug administration, preventative maintenance and post-procedure care.
Common Career Paths for Veterinary Assistant
While Veterinary Assistants do not often become Veterinarians, the job pays $71K per year on average. The most common next step for a Veterinary Assistant is to become a Veterinary Technician or a Registered Veterinary Technician. The former position pays an additional $5K per year on average, and the latter position pays $9K more per year.
Veterinary Assistant Job Listings
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Popular Employer Salaries for Veterinary Assistant
Banfield, The Pet Hospital offers the best pay with a median salary of $26K, though salaries there don't seem that varied, bottoming out near $21K and maxing out at just $30K.
VCA Antech offers the least pay with a median salary of $23K; furthermore, salaries there max out at only $30K.
Popular Skills for Veterinary Assistant
Survey results imply that Veterinary Assistants deploy a substantial tool kit of skills at work. Most notably, skills in Training, Surgery, Phlebotomy, and Anesthesia are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts between 8 percent and 11 percent. Skills that pay less than market rate include Cleaning, Animal Handling, and Oral / Verbal Communication. Those familiar with Anesthesia also tend to know Phlebotomy.
Pay by Experience Level for Veterinary Assistant
Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
For Veterinary Assistants, more experience in the field does not usually mean bigger paychecks. Salaries of relatively inexperienced workers fall in the neighborhood of $23K, but folks who have racked up five to 10 years see a notably higher median of $26K. On average, Veterinary Assistants make $29K following one to two decades on the job. More than 20 years of experience mean a somewhat bigger median paycheck of $31K, but it's not much more than what less experienced people make.
Pay Difference by Location
For those looking to make money, Veterinary Assistants in New York enjoy an exceptional pay rate, 39 percent above the national average. Veterinary Assistants will also find cushy salaries in Los Angeles (+24 percent), San Francisco (+19 percent), Seattle (+14 percent), and Vancouver (+10 percent). With compensation 15 percent below the national average, Milwaukee is not known for hefty paychecks and actually represents the lowest-paying market. Employers pay around 8 percent less in Houston and 4 percent less in Charlotte, below-median salaries for those in this field.