Veterinary Assistant Qualifications
There are no formal educational qualifications for becoming a veterinary assistant, though a high school diploma or equivalent is often required. Students looking to become a veterinary assistant should focus on courses in biology, algebra, bookkeeping, and basic computer skills. If you're interested in becoming a veterinary technologist, with more clinical responsibilities than an assistant, you'll need to complete a two or four year degree program in veterinary technology. Veterinary technologists must also be licensed. Licensing qualifications vary but most states require passage of the Veterinary Technician National Examination.
The most important qualification for a veterinary assistant is a love of animals and passion for their wellbeing. Veterinary assistants also need to have the emotional strength to work effectively when treating abused animals or in cases where euthanization may the only option for animals that cannot resume a reasonable quality of life. You should have the physical stamina to endure long hours on your feet and be able to adequately restrain animals when necessary. Successful assistants are also able to remain calm and relaxed under sometimes stressful conditions. People skills are also important, as veterinary assistants are often the first line of contact with animal owners.
Experience is not always necessary when applying for a veterinary assistant position, but some experience working with animals can be highly beneficial. Volunteer work at a local animal shelter can be a great place to gain some experience and figure out if veterinary assisting is the right career path for you.
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