Becoming a Veterinary Assistant in 8 Steps
Research the profession
Understand the roles and responsibilities of a veterinary assistant, and consider if this career aligns with your personal interests and strengths.
Complete high school or obtain a GED
While formal education beyond high school is not required, most employers prefer candidates with at least a high school diploma or GED.
Gain experience with animals
Volunteering or working with animals in a veterinary clinic, shelter, rescue organization, or other settings can help you gain valuable experience and develop skills that are useful for a career as a veterinary assistant.
Enroll in a veterinary assistant program
Some vocational schools, community colleges, and online programs offer veterinary assistant courses that cover topics such as animal care, anatomy, and medical terminology. While not required, completing a program can give you a competitive edge in the job market and provide foundational knowledge for the field.
Obtain certification (optional)
Consider pursuing certification, such as the Approved Veterinary Assistant (AVA) designation offered by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA). This certification demonstrates your commitment to the profession and can improve your employability.
Prepare a professional resume and cover letter
Highlight your education, certifications (if any), and any relevant experience working with animals. Be sure to tailor your resume and cover letter to the specific veterinary assistant job you are applying for.
Apply for veterinary assistant positions
Look for job openings in veterinary clinics, animal hospitals, shelters, rescue organizations, and other facilities that employ veterinary assistants. Networking and making connections in the field can also help uncover job opportunities.
Develop on-the-job skills
Once you secure a position as a veterinary assistant, focus on developing your skills through hands-on experience and learning from your colleagues. Consider pursuing continuing education opportunities or additional certifications to further your career.