Why Become A Veterinary Assistant In New Haven, Connecticut
Veterinarians have been a vital part of America since the very birth of this nation.
From caring for farm animals to providing world-class care for modern exotic pets, the veterinary clinic is a fixture in every American city.
However, veterinarians cannot effectively help their clients without the support of veterinary technicians and veterinary assistants (VAs).
In fact, the VA is the unsung hero of the veterinary clinic, providing a wide range of behind the scenes services to his or her employer that enable the clinic to effectively function.
This is especially true in many East Coast regions such as in New Haven, Connecticut. A complex mixture of rural and urban regions demand that the state’s veterinary practices be able to handle a wide range of client needs, resulting in a growing demand for qualified VAs.
What Are a VA’s Duties?
A VA is a veterinary employee who works to provide assistance to a licensed veterinary care worker. VAs are not required to receive a state or federal license or certification.
However, they are restricted in what services they can provide to the veterinary establishment.
These services usually include the following duties:
- A VA will generally be in charge of providing food and water to those animals that are being cared for at the veterinary establishment. Many animals will have specific dietary needs that the VA must provide for according to the schedule of feeding established by his or her supervising veterinarian.
- Providing proper exercise to an animal, within the limits established by its current condition, is a major part of a VA’s job. Depending on the animal, exercise sessions can range from merely walking a domestic dog to specific riding exercises for a horse.
- VAs play a vital part in restraining animals before, during and after examinations and veterinary procedures. This is important as an improperly restrained animal can cause severe injury both to itself and to the veterinary care team.
- VAs are responsible for ensuring that all equipment, furnishing and pet habitats are kept in a clean condition. This is a vital part of preventing the spread of infection among those animals that are currently being cared for.
- While a VA may not diagnose or treat an animal, they are usually in charge of administering medication under the direction of the supervising veterinarian.
- Depending on the policy of the veterinary establishment, a VA may take part in collecting urine, stool and blood samples from animals for later testing.
- In some cases, a VA may be given clerical duties, such as working in the front office, filing records or contacting clients in order to confirm and make appointments.
Becoming a VA in Connecticut
Connecticut does not currently mandate any licensure process for VAs. For that reason, some veterinary establishments will hire individuals without any previous training and providing their own on the job training.
However a growing number of clinics, especially those that are larger or owned by a corporation as opposed to being owned and operated by individual veterinarians, mandate that their employees have some degree of professional training.
For this reason, many VAs choose to obtain some degree of formal training at a vocational school or community college. In most cases, these programs offer a certificate of completion to the successful student and cover a wide range of practical and academic information related to the VA’s duties.
Many of these programs also offer Internet based online and distance learning programs. This can be especially helpful for those students who are currently working or who have obligations that prevent them from attending classes on regular schedule.
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The National Association of Veterinary Technicians (NAVTA) also offers a certification service for those VAs who are interested in becoming an approved veterinary assistant.
Although this certification is not required for VAs it does allow the VA to demonstrate their above average training and qualifications to any prospective employers.
The Job Environment for VAs
VAs currently enjoy a very promising job environment across the nation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) currently estimates that as of 2012 America employed over 74,600 VAs.
In addition, that number is expected to increase to at least 81,700 jobs by 2022. When combined with attrition from retirements and other factors, new VAs can expect to enjoy a wide range of potential employment positions.
Furthermore, the median national annual salary for VAs currently stands at over $23,000. Connecticut’s median annual wage currently stands at over $29,500 for VAs employed in the state.
In addition, many VAs enjoy excellent benefits including vacation time and individual and family health benefits.
Ultimately, becoming a VA can be an excellent choice for those individuals who are interested in entering an animal-center career that does not have extensive educational and licensure requirements.
Whether it is an individual who has just graduated from high school or someone who is seeking to transition into a more rewarding career, becoming a veterinary assistant can open the gateway to a well-compensated and personally satisfying career.