Veterinary Assistant Salary Information

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How Much do Veterinary Assistants Make?

The salary of veterinary assistants can vary depending on factors such as location, employer, and years of experience. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers was $28,590 as of May 2020. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $21,070, while the highest 10 percent earned more than $40,710.

Veterinary Assistant Salary Information by State

StateAverage Annual SalaryAverage Hourly Rate
Alabama Veterinary Assistant Salary$22,060$10.61
Alaska Veterinary Assistant Salary$29,176$14.03
Arizona Veterinary Assistant Salary$25,325$12.18
Arkansas Veterinary Assistant Salary$25,012$12.03
California Veterinary Assistant Salary$26,203$12.60
Colorado Veterinary Assistant Salary$26,359$12.67
Connecticut Veterinary Assistant Salary$30,305$14.57
Delaware Veterinary Assistant Salary$26,054$12.53
Florida Veterinary Assistant Salary$20,779$9.99
Georgia Veterinary Assistant Salary$20,296$9.76
Hawaii Veterinary Assistant Salary$31,023$14.92
Idaho Veterinary Assistant Salary$26,650$12.81
Illinois Veterinary Assistant Salary$24,663$11.86
Indiana Veterinary Assistant Salary$24,453$11.76
Iowa Veterinary Assistant Salary$28,226$13.57
Kansas Veterinary Assistant Salary$26,216$12.60
Kentucky Veterinary Assistant Salary$26,377$12.68
Louisiana Veterinary Assistant Salary$20,026$9.63
Maine Veterinary Assistant Salary$24,875$11.96
Maryland Veterinary Assistant Salary$27,625$13.28
Massachusetts Veterinary Assistant Salary$30,475$14.65
Michigan Veterinary Assistant Salary$24,566$11.81
Minnesota Veterinary Assistant Salary$25,012$12.03
Mississippi Veterinary Assistant Salary$25,730$12.37
Missouri Veterinary Assistant Salary$24,251$11.66
Montana Veterinary Assistant Salary$24,186$11.63
Nebraska Veterinary Assistant Salary$25,946$12.47
Nevada Veterinary Assistant Salary$30,635$14.73
New Hampshire Veterinary Assistant Salary$26,505$12.74
New Jersey Veterinary Assistant Salary$25,311$12.17
New Mexico Veterinary Assistant Salary$22,331$10.74
New York Veterinary Assistant Salary$28,630$13.76
North Carolina Veterinary Assistant Salary$21,566$10.37
North Dakota Veterinary Assistant Salary$28,694$13.80
Ohio Veterinary Assistant Salary$23,555$11.32
Oklahoma Veterinary Assistant Salary$24,791$11.92
Oregon Veterinary Assistant Salary$29,418$14.14
Pennsylvania Veterinary Assistant Salary$23,560$11.33
Rhode Island Veterinary Assistant Salary$29,466$14.17
South Carolina Veterinary Assistant Salary$25,737$12.37
South Dakota Veterinary Assistant Salary$27,516$13.23
Tennessee Veterinary Assistant Salary$26,010$12.50
Texas Veterinary Assistant Salary$23,645$11.37
Utah Veterinary Assistant Salary$28,367$13.64
Vermont Veterinary Assistant Salary$26,016$12.51
Virginia Veterinary Assistant Salary$26,877$12.92
Washington Veterinary Assistant Salary$28,970$13.93
West Virginia Veterinary Assistant Salary$24,133$11.60
Wisconsin Veterinary Assistant Salary$23,586$11.34
Wyoming Veterinary Assistant Salary$25,109$12.07
Figures based on data courtesy of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Employment & Wages database.
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What Type of Veterinary Assistant Makes the Most Money?

Specialty Veterinary Assistants

These are veterinary assistants who work in specialized fields such as oncology, cardiology, neurology, internal medicine, or orthopedic surgery. They have advanced knowledge and skills in their specific area of expertise, which often commands a higher salary.

Emergency and Critical Care Veterinary Assistants

These veterinary assistants work in emergency and critical care settings, dealing with high-stress situations and life-threatening conditions. Their expertise in handling emergencies and their ability to work under pressure make them valuable, leading to higher pay.

Laboratory Animal Veterinary Assistants

Veterinary assistants who work in research laboratories, supporting the care and management of laboratory animals, may earn more than those in general practice settings. They often have specialized training in laboratory animal care and may be involved in research studies or drug development.

Veterinary Assistants with Advanced Training and Certifications

Veterinary assistants who invest in advanced training and certifications, such as becoming a Certified Veterinary Assistant (CVA) or obtaining a Veterinary Technician certification, usually have higher earning potential. These certifications demonstrate a higher level of competence and expertise, leading to increased responsibilities and higher pay.

What are the Salaries of Different Types of Veterinary Assistants?

The salaries of different types of veterinary assistants can vary based on factors such as experience, location, and type of employer. Here is a breakdown of some of the different types of veterinary assistants and their average salaries based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2020.

Research Veterinary Assistants

These professionals work in research settings, such as academic or pharmaceutical research labs, and are responsible for the care and handling of research animals. They may perform tasks such as feeding and watering animals, administering medications, and monitoring animal health. Some employers may prefer or require certification from a veterinary assistant program, and experience working with laboratory animals may also be preferred.

Salaries can range from $25,000 to $50,000 per year, depending on experience and location.

Specialty Veterinary Assistants

These professionals work in specialized areas of veterinary medicine, such as dental, surgical, or oncology practices. They may assist with procedures specific to their area of specialization, such as administering anesthesia or performing dental cleanings. Some employers may require certification or additional training in the specific area of specialization.

Salaries can vary depending on the specific field of specialization, with some positions earning higher salaries than others. For example, a Dental Veterinary Assistant may earn an average salary of $37,000 per year, while a Surgery Veterinary Assistant may earn an average salary of $42,000 per year.

Emergency and Critical Care Veterinary Assistants

These professionals work in emergency and critical care settings, such as animal emergency clinics, and are responsible for assisting with the treatment of animals in urgent and often life-threatening situations. They may perform tasks such as administering medications, monitoring vital signs, assisting with procedures, and providing support to both the animal and their owner. Some employers may require certification in emergency and critical care or experience working in a similar setting.

Salaries can range from $25,000 to $45,000 per year, depending on experience and location.

Equine Veterinary Assistants

These professionals work in equine settings, such as horse farms, racetracks, and veterinary clinics that specialize in horses. They may assist with tasks such as administering medications, assisting with procedures, and providing basic care for horses. Experience working with horses is typically preferred, but some employers may offer on-the-job training.

Salaries can range from $20,000 to $50,000 per year, depending on experience and location.

What Are the Highest Paying States for Dialysis Technicians?

RanksStateAnnual SalaryMonthly PayWeekly PayHourly Wage
5Rhode Island$29,466$2,455$566$14.17
9North Dakota$28,694$2,391$551$13.80
10New York$28,630$2,385$550$13.76

According to US Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are the Top Paying Cities for Veterinary Assistants?

RankCityAnnual SalaryHourly RateJob Openings
1San Francisco, CA$37,000 – $52,000$18 – $25> 600
2Seattle, WA$35,000 – $48,000$17 – $23> 300
3New York, NY$33,000 – $47,000$16 – $23> 600
4Los Angeles, CA$32,000 – $45,000$15 – $22> 500
5Boston, MA$32,000 – $45,000$15 – $22> 200
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Skills That Affect Veterinary Assistant Salaries

Various skills can affect veterinary assistant salaries, as they can increase an individual’s value within a veterinary practice or other animal-related facility.

Animal Handling and Restraint

Proficiency in safely handling and restraining various animal species is an essential skill for veterinary assistants. Those who excel in this area may be more valuable to employers and command higher pay.

Communication Skills

Veterinary assistants with strong interpersonal and communication skills can effectively interact with clients, veterinarians, and other staff members. This can improve client satisfaction and practice efficiency, potentially contributing to increased salaries.


Veterinary assistants with expertise in specific areas, such as oncology, dentistry, emergency care, or laboratory animal care, may earn more due to their specialized knowledge and skills.

Technical Skills

Proficiency in using medical equipment, such as X-ray machines, ultrasound equipment, or laboratory instruments, can boost a veterinary assistant’s salary.

Computer Skills

Familiarity with electronic medical records, practice management software, and other computer applications can make a veterinary assistant more efficient and valuable to a practice, potentially leading to higher pay.

Surgical Assistance

Veterinary assistants who can effectively assist in surgeries, including preparing surgical equipment, monitoring anesthesia, and providing post-operative care, may earn higher salaries due to their increased responsibilities and expertise.

Does A Veterinary Assistant Make More Than A Veterinary Technician?

Typically, a veterinary technician earns more than a veterinary assistant. This is due to the differences in their education, training, and responsibilities within a veterinary practice or facility.

A veterinary technician usually holds a two-year associate’s degree in veterinary technology from an accredited program. They are also required to pass a national or state examination to become a licensed or certified veterinary technician (LVT, CVT, or RVT, depending on the state). Veterinary technicians have advanced training in areas such as anesthesia, radiology, laboratory testing, and surgical assistance.

On the other hand, a veterinary assistant typically requires less formal education and training. While some veterinary assistants may have completed a certificate program, many receive on-the-job training. Their responsibilities usually involve assisting with animal restraint, maintaining a clean and organized environment, and providing basic animal care.

How Much More Do Veterinary Assistants Make With Experience?

Here’s a breakdown of hourly rates for veterinary assistants by years of experience based on data from PayScale as of April 2023.

Years of ExperienceHourly wage
1-4$11.98 – $16.99
5-9$12.78 – $18.69
10-19$13.24 – $20.21
20+$14.17 – $22.06
Payscale March 2023

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Additional Monetary Benefits of a Veterinary Assistant

Health insurance

Many employers offer health insurance coverage to their full-time employees, which can include medical, dental, and vision benefits. This can help offset the cost of healthcare for veterinary assistants.

Paid time off

Veterinary assistants may be eligible for paid time off (PTO), including vacation days, sick leave, and personal days. PTO policies can vary by employer but generally become more generous with increased years of service.

Retirement plans

Some employers offer retirement plans, such as 401(k) or pension plans, to help veterinary assistants save for their future. Employers may also provide matching contributions up to a certain percentage.

Continuing education reimbursement

Some employers provide financial assistance for continuing education opportunities, such as workshops, conferences, and courses, to help veterinary assistants stay current in their field and enhance their skills.

Professional membership dues

Employers may cover the cost of membership fees for professional organizations, such as the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) or a local veterinary technician association, which can provide networking opportunities, resources, and continuing education events.

Uniform allowance

Some veterinary practices offer an annual uniform or clothing allowance to help offset the cost of purchasing scrubs or other required attire.

Employee discounts

Veterinary assistants may receive discounts on products and services offered by their employer, such as pet food, medications, or veterinary care for their own pets.

Performance bonuses

In some cases, veterinary assistants may be eligible for performance-based bonuses or profit-sharing plans, depending on their employer and the practice’s financial performance.

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