Veterinary Assistant Full Job Market

Get ready to be one of those weirdos who loves their job.

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Job Duties

You’ll be a critical part of the medical team, helping veterinarians and veterinary technicians care for injuries and treat illnesses. A typical day in your new life as a veterinary assistant will probably include the following tasks:

  • Feeding, bathing, and exercising animals (the fun stuff!)
  • Restraining animals during examinations and laboratory procedures
  • Monitoring and caring for animals after surgery
  • Helping to provide emergency first aid to sick and injured animals
  • Maintaining and sterilizing surgical instruments and equipment
  • Cleaning and disinfecting cages, kennels, and examination and operating rooms

Work Environment

Veterinary assistants mostly work for veterinary service providers, such as private practices, clinics and animal hospitals, ER and after-hours facilities, and labs. Job opportunities also exist in schools and universities, research facilities, rescue groups and shelters as well as retail settings and pet stores. Wherever animals need help, they need you.

Some facilities are open 24/7, so night and weekend schedules are also an option if that works better for you.

Keep in mind, too, that working as a veterinary assistant (and gaining priceless real-world experience) is a great first step on a lifelong career path towards becoming a veterinarian or vet technician. Veterinary assistant training is also a huge plus if you want to do rescue or volunteer work. (And achieve your pet sainthood.)

Pay Scale

Of course, salaries vary by employer, geographic location, and experience. But the U.S. Department of Labor estimates the median annual wage for veterinary assistants is $27,540. (So how much does a vet assistant make an hour? The median salary works out to $13.24 hourly.) The lowest 10 percent of veterinary assistants earn less than $19,950 annually while the highest 10 percent earn nearly $39,000 per year.

Besides steady pay, you may also qualify for invaluable healthcare benefits.

Industry Demand

Becoming a veterinary assistant is a great career choice. And it’s getting even better because it’s one of the fastest growing industries in the country. Tons of opportunities exist right now nationwide because, as you probably know, people are pet crazy! Pet owners in the U.S. spent nearly $70 billion on their pets in the last year, ensuring ongoing need for well-trained veterinary assistants. In fact, the U.S. Department of Labor estimates that the demand for veterinary assistants will grow 19% by 2028. That’s 17,600 new jobs you can take your pick of in the coming years.