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Veterinary Assistant Job Description

veterinary assistant job description

Do you want to make a career out of caring for animals?

If so, working as a veterinary assistant is a great place to start your career. This job allows you to work closely with different types of animals while under the supervision of a veterinarian.

This job mainly involves supporting a veterinarian or veterinary technician so they can focus on other tasks. While this job can be rewarding, it also takes specialist skills and a lot of dedication.

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veterinary assistant job description

Veterinary Assistant Job Description

A typical job description will start by providing an overview of the place you would be working. It should outline the size of the veterinary clinic as well as the typical pets and clients. It should also include details of the typical working hours as well as the base salary for this job.

The job description will give an overview of the regular duties and tasks of this job. It will explain the educational background and experience that candidates will need to have. It is likely to include details of the skills and attributes the employer is looking for in the perfect candidate.

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Duties And Responsibilities

Your daily duties will be dictated by the veterinarian you are working with. Your main responsibility is helping to make sure things run smoothly so they can focus on caring for animals. So, let’s take a closer look at what a job as a Veterinary Assistant involves.

Providing Care to Pets

Many clients tend to leave their pets at the clinic or hospital overnight for surgery and other care. You need to make sure the pets have food and water and are comfortable. This may involve grooming them and taking them for walks.

Comforting and Restraining Animals

You need to comfort and restrain animals during examinations and treatments. You need to make sure that animals do not move when they are receiving injections. This includes being able to keep animals calm and providing the comfort they need.

Interacting with Clients

You need to discuss the pet’s medical history with their carers. This includes obtaining medical records and details of any ongoing conditions. You need to be polite and friendly while maintaining a professional attitude.

Administering Medications

When pets are left at the clinic for a few days, you are likely to have to give them medicine. This could be in the form of pills, drops, or injections. You need to follow the correct procedure for giving medication and keep careful records. You will also need to check in on the animal to make sure they do not have negative reactions.

Cleaning and Maintaining Facilities

The examination rooms, treatment rooms, cages, and laboratories need to be clean and sanitized at all times. After pets have been treated, you need to sanitize all surfaces they have touched. You must also sweep and mop the floors regularly and help keep rooms tidy.

Skills And Attributes

Generally speaking, you do not need to have a lot of experience to do this job. However, there are several soft skills you need to develop to do this job well. Here are some of the main skills and attributes successful veterinary assistants should have.

Animal care

It is important to have an affinity for animals and a genuine desire to make them happy and comfortable. Tasks like cleaning out cages are not for people with weak stomachs. A love for animals will help make these tasks easier.

Patience and compassion

You will often see both pets and their caregivers at their worst during your daily work. They may be frightened, anxious, and even aggressive. You need to have a lot of both patience and compassion to deal with these difficult situations.


It is important to be able to work well with the vet and other people at the clinic or hospital. You need to know that you can trust each other to help out during difficult situations. You must be ready and willing to help your colleagues when necessary.

Physical stamina

You need to be strong enough to lift heavy pets onto the examination table and carry their cages. Stand for long periods while doing this job. You need to be physically fit to sweep the clinic and keep certain areas clean.

Customer service

When their pets are sick, caregivers are likely to be anxious and upset. You should be able to make them feel calm and at ease. This will help give clients confidence in both you and the vet.

Organization and attention to detail

You need to be able to keep clear and detailed records of each pet that comes to the clinic or hospital. It is important to update records and keep them properly organized. You also need to make sure medications are administered at the right time, and each animal has food and water.

Communication skills

You need to have strong written skills to maintain accurate records of pets. You also need to be able to listen to the needs of animal caregivers and explain treatment clearly. Strong communication skills will make it easier to deal with tense and potentially volatile situations.

The Working Environment

You are likely to spend most of your time in a veterinary clinic, interacting with animals and their carers. This role can also take place in a veterinary hospital, college, or university.

Most veterinary assistants work full-time, although it may be possible to choose part-time hours. You need to be prepared to work on weekends and evenings to meet the needs of clients.

Detach yourself at work…

Working alongside the vet can be difficult at times, especially when they have to euthanize animals and dispose of remains. You need to be able to detach from this aspect of the work to a certain extent. You will also be expected to work with frightened and aggressive animals from time to time and help calm them.

Education, Training, And Certification

You need to hold a high school diploma or the equivalent to do this job. No previous experience is necessary, as you will be provided with full training when you start. However, many employees prefer candidates to have experience working with animals in some way.

Get Certified

If you are serious about this career, getting certified will help you land a choice role. You can gain Approved Veterinary Assistant certification through the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America. To get this certification, you will need to complete a special training program and pass an exam.

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Firstly, take a look at my Pet Sitter Job Description to see if it’s something that would interest you.

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Final Thoughts

If you have a love for animals, working as a veterinary assistant could be the perfect job for you. The starting salary for this role is around $19,000 per year or $9 per hour. If you get certified, you could earn as much as $39,000 per year or $18 per hour.

Working as a veterinary assistant is the perfect way to find out if working with animals is for you. Once you have some experience under your belt, you could go back to college and train to be a veterinarian.

Alternative career options include veterinary technician or nursing assistant.

All the very best getting a position as a Veterinary Assistant!

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About Carmen Smith

Carmen grew up in San Diago but now lives in Boston. She loves traveling, experiencing other cultures, and basically exploring the world, be country at a time.

Her other passion is helping people find the perfect career. We spend 33% of our working lives at work, so it's ridiculous that many people do jobs that they do not enjoy. Carmen wants to change this and thinks that anyone who isn't happy in their employment should keep looking until they find something that they really enjoy. 

She firmly believes that "Everyone's perfect job is out there; it's just a case of continually looking until you find it."

Carmen lives with her husband Johnny, a keen birder who also loves to travel. He finds birds while Carmen makes plans for where they will be eating next...

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