Pets have been a part of America from the very beginning of the nation.
Whether it is a loyal guard dog, riding horse or a child’s pet, many American’s consider their animal companions to be a vital part of their family.
For this reason, the veterinary care sector in America has seen robust and sustained growth, resulting in a steady demand for skilled veterinary caregivers. Among these are veterinary assistants (VAs).
Whether they are in California or Washington, D.C., VAs provide vital services to any veterinary care service, whether it is a small clinic or large veterinary hospital.
In addition, because VAs are not a licensed professional, this field is one that is quite attractive to those individuals who are unable to afford the expense or time involved in becoming a licensed veterinary care professional such as a vet tech or veterinarian.
The Job Opportunities for VAs
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has determined that as of 2012, there were over 74,000 VAs employed in America.
By 2022, the BLS believes that number will have increased to at least 81,700, representing an increase of at least 10 percent.
In addition, job openings due to retirements or career changes on the part of currently employed VAs will help to produce an excellent job environment for those individuals who are just entering this field.
Salaries and Benefits
Currently, the annual median wage for VAs is approximately $23,000. The top 10 percent of VAs can earn over $35,000, which makes this an excellent career when compared to other careers with similar educational requirements.
In addition, many VAs enjoy excellent benefits, including insurance plans and vacation time.
Becoming a VA in America And Washington D.C.
VAs are not a licensed profession and thus do not need a certificate or license in order to obtain employment. For this reason, many veterinary practices train their own VAs providing on the job instruction to new hires.
Most VAs are at least 18 years of age and have also completed high school or obtained an equivalent degree. In some cases, an individual who is not yet 18 may work as a VA, but there may be certain restrictions on the duties he or she can undertake, depending on the state where the VA is employed.
In addition to on the job training, a growing number of institutions are offering VA programs.
These programs usually take anywhere from several months to a year to complete. In most cases, they confer a certificate of completion rather than an associate’s degree.
VAs who have completed a program are often seen as more likely to have the formal skills needed to provide a high degree of service to their employer. In addition, by hiring already trained VAs, the employer can immediately make use their services.
Many of these programs offer part-time and distance learning options. This can allow individuals who are already employed to complete the program without having to leave their current job. Distance learning allows the student to attend his or her classes via the
Internet, making use of email, text messages and live online video chats to attend lectures and interact with the program’s instructors and students. This can be especially useful for those individuals who are located inconveniently far from their school.
Certification Opportunities for Veterinary Assistants
VAs who desire to further improve their professional qualifications can obtain an Approved Veterinary Assistant credential from the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA).
While this credential does not permit the VA to undertake any duties beyond those of other VAs, it allows the VA to demonstrate a high degree of skill in this field.
In order to take the AVA exam, a VA must have graduated from a NAVTA approved program. For this reason, those individuals intending to obtain the AVA credential should verify that their school is currently in good standing with NAVTA.
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Future Job Opportunities for VAs in America
Becoming a VA can be an excellent way to enter the veterinary field. Due to the low educational and financial barriers for entry, individuals who are interested in this field, but unable to become licensed vet techs or veterinarians can easily find employment as a VA.
In addition, VAs can quickly amass the practical experience needed to determine if they are interested in seeking to become licensed veterinary care workers.
Although a VA’s educational experience cannot be directly applied to fulfilling the requirements needed to become a vet tech or veterinarian, the VA will start the process well acquainted with many of the practical aspects of veterinary care.
Today’s veterinary care sector provides abundant professional opportunities for those individuals who are interested in becoming a VA.
Whether the prospective VA has just graduated from high school or is seeking to transition from another career, this field is both personally and economically rewarding.[edu-search]vet_assistant_w0014598[/edu-search]