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All About Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers

Veterinary Assistant Definition Feed, water, and examine pets and other nonfarm animals for signs of illness, disease, or injury in laboratories and animal hospitals and clinics. Clean and disinfect cages and work areas, and sterilize laboratory and surgical equipment. May provide routine post-operative care, administer medication orally or topically, or prepare samples for laboratory examination under the supervision of veterinary or laboratory animal technologists or technicians, veterinarians, or scientists.

Daily Life Of a Veterinary Assistant

  • Prepare feed for animals according to specific instructions, such as diet lists or schedules.
  • Perform accounting duties, such as bookkeeping, billing customers for services, or maintaining inventories.
  • Administer medication, immunizations, or blood plasma to animals as prescribed by veterinarians.
  • Perform routine laboratory tests or diagnostic tests, such as taking or developing x-rays.
  • Groom, trim, or clip animals’ coats.
  • Provide assistance with euthanasia of animals or disposal of corpses.

What Every Veterinary Assistant Should Know

When polled, Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Service Orientation: Actively looking for ways to help people.

Complex Problem Solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Coordination: Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.

Other Veterinary Assistant Job Titles

  • Avian Keeper
  • Laboratory Animal Caretaker
  • Animal Care Service Worker
  • Veterinary Attendant
  • Technician Assistant

Job Demand for Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers

In the United States, there were 83,800 jobs for Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers in 2016.

New jobs are being produced at a rate of 19.4% which is lower than average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 16,300 new jobs for Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers by 2026. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 15,500 job openings in this field each year.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers are California, Florida, and Texas.

Watch out if you plan on working in District of Columbia, Wyoming, or Vermont. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Veterinary Assistant Salary

The typical yearly salary for Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers is somewhere between $19,950 and $38,890. The median salary for this occupation is $27,540.

Salary Ranges for Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers

How much do Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers make in each U.S. state?

Annual Mean Salary by State
State Annual Mean Salary

Massachusetts

$36,720

Connecticut

$34,850

Maine

$34,680

California

$32,480

New York

$32,320

Alaska

$32,170

Washington

$31,180

Oregon

$30,850

Colorado

$30,510

Vermont

$30,400

Hawaii

$30,050

New Jersey

$29,960

Minnesota

$29,830

Arizona

$29,300

Maryland

$29,280

Wyoming

$29,190

Pennsylvania

$28,840

North Carolina

$28,830

Indiana

$28,750

Kansas

$28,680

Iowa

$28,410

Missouri

$28,110

Illinois

$28,060

Nevada

$28,010

Delaware

$27,750

New Hampshire

$27,730

Nebraska

$27,640

Florida

$27,450

Idaho

$27,420

Montana

$27,000

Wisconsin

$26,870

Michigan

$26,800

Virginia

$26,750

Texas

$26,410

Ohio

$26,380

Georgia

$25,980

Arkansas

$25,640

South Carolina

$25,450

Kentucky

$25,380

North Dakota

$25,120

Oklahoma

$25,080

New Mexico

$25,030

Tennessee

$24,960

Rhode Island

$24,850

Utah

$24,750

South Dakota

$24,610

Louisiana

$24,310

West Virginia

$24,050

Alabama

$23,950

Mississippi

$23,350

What Tools do Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers Use?

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers may use on a daily basis:

  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Access
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft Excel

How do I Become a Veterinary Assistant?

What kind of Veterinary Assistant or Laboratory Animal Caretaker requirements are there?

Veterinary Assistant Degree Level

What work experience do I need to become a Veterinary Assistant?

Veterinary Assistant Work Experience

Where Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers Are Employed

Veterinary Assistant Sectors

Those interested in being a Veterinary Assistant or Laboratory Animal Caretaker may also be interested in:

  • Pharmacy Aides

Career changers with experience as a Veterinary Assistant or Laboratory Animal Caretaker sometimes find work in one of the following fields:

  • Animal Trainers
  • Animal Breeders

References

Bureau of Labor Statistics

College Factual

O*NET Online

Image Credit: Via Wikimedia Commons

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