What Qualifications Do You Need to Be a Vet Assistant?

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Do you love animals? Have a difficult time walking by a puppy without giving him a pat? Then, you might be a great candidate for a career as a Veterinarian Assistant. In this role, you would help a veterinarian care for sick and injured animals. Your days would be spent bathing and feeding animals, cleaning and sterilizing kennels and equipment, and providing first aid when needed. Do you have what it takes? You’ll need training, experience, and of course, a passion for pets.

It takes more than a love for animals to be a Vet Assistant, but that’s a great place to start. You need to be compassionate and empathetic to deal with nervous pets and their worried owners. You need the skills and agility to properly care for small squirmy animals. You need patience. And you should be emotionally resilient because it can be difficult to see animals in pain, going through surgery, or at the last stages of their lives.

These qualities will help you think like a Vet Assistant, but a strong skillset will help you act like a Vet Assistant. Here are some of the skills you’ll need to succeed in this job:

  • Physical Fitness and Stamina—You don’t need to be a bodybuilder, but you should be able to tolerate long periods of time on your feet. You should also be able to lift heavy cages or animals, and have the dexterity to kneel, bend down, and restrain animals during a procedure.
  • Communication—You’ll work under the supervision of a veterinarian or a vet tech, so it’s important that you listen carefully to their instructions. You should also be able to communicate clearly and effectively and provide great customer service to pet owners.
  • Attention to Detail—Since you’ll care for other people’s pets, you’ll need to go the extra mile to prevent mistakes that could be harmful to the pet or costly to the owner. Make sure you follow all protocols and instructions carefully and don’t rush or cut corners.

Education and Training

Proper training and education will help you understand the job, its requirements, and all that you can do to excel in the role and provide the best care possible to the animals in your care. Complete a veterinarian assistant training program to prepare you for the job and to increase your prospects in the field.

Look for a program that will teach you:

  • How veterinarian practices work
  • How to care for both large and small animals
  • What diseases and illnesses are common among animals
  • How to assist the veterinarian during surgery
  • Proper safety and laboratory protocol

The program should also offer an externship that provides you with hands-on experience at a local veterinary clinic or animal hospital. This will give you real-world experience and will also boost your resume when you’re ready to begin the job search.

If you really want to boost your resume, earn a special certification such as the Fear Free Certification, which demonstrates your ability to care for a pet’s physical and emotional well-being. You’ll learn methods and techniques that will alleviate fear, stress, and anxiety in the animals you care for.

Work and Experience to Be a Vet Assistant

Employers prefer Vet Assistants who have some experience under their belts. An externship is a great way to get there, but you can also look for volunteer opportunities and part-time jobs at animal clinics or shelters.

Are you ready to start your career as a Veterinary Assistant? At Charter College, we offer a Certificate in Veterinary Assistant that can prepare you for an entry-level job in the field. We incorporate Fear-Free certification into the curriculum, as well as a 180-hour externship that places you at a veterinary clinic. Classes are enrolling now. Call 888-200-9942 or fill out the form for more information.