Texas is one of the most diverse and economically vibrant states in America.
Furthermore, the Texan people have had a long relationship with their animal companions, from the horses used to guide the cattle on their way to sale to the dogs that acted as companions and guards for the early settlers.
For this reason, Texas has a vibrant mixture of pets, ranging from working animals such as horses to the exotic pets found in the state’s urban centers.
This, coupled with the desire to ensure the best possible care for these companion animals, has resulted in a vibrant and growing state veterinary sector which employees a growing number of veterinary assistants (VAs).
Economic Benefits for Veterinary Assistants
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) tracks all professions in the United States and has determined that there were over 74,600 veterinary assistants and caretakers employed in America after 2012.
That number is expected to increase to at least 81,700 in 2022. This rate of job growth is roughly average for the American job market.
In addition, once sources of job attrition such as retirement, illness and other factors are taken into account, the number of open jobs in this field are greater than the number of new jobs being created. Employment as a VA is also very dependable, as most employers prefer to hire VAs as long-term employees rather than short-term workers.
Furthermore, the BLS has determined that the current annual median wage for veterinary assistants is $23,000, while the annual median wage for the state of Texas is $23,280.
For veterinary assistants working in Houston, Texas, this wage is in line with the average cost of living found in the region.
The top 10 percent of veterinary assistants can generally earn over $35,000, making this profession very competitive with other professions that have similar educational requirements.
Finally, many VAs enjoy a wide range of benefits, ranging from paid vacation time to generous family and individual insurance policies.
What do Veterinary Assistants Do?
VAs provide support services for veterinarians and veterinary technicians. As a non-licensed profession, VAs are very limited in what services they can provide to pets and pet owners and must usually be directly supervised by a licensed veterinarian, vet tech or other animal care professional.
Some of the most common VA duties include the following:
- Providing for the dietary needs of the animals under their care. This can often require adhering to strict diet plans, especially for exotic or ill animals.
- Exercising the animals under their care. This exercise varies according to the specific breed of animal and may range from simply supervising the animal in a play area to riding or walking animals for planned exercise routines.
- Many animals become frightened during examinations and VAs are often used to help safely restrain them during any veterinary procedures.
- VAs sterilize and store veterinary equipment for use. This can be especially important due to the potential for infection from improperly cleaned implements.
Becoming a Veterinary Assistant In Texas
VAs do not need to be licensed by the state in order to start work and for that reason some employers will hire an individual and provide all the needed training themselves.
However, a growing number of veterinary establishments prefer to employee VAs who have received some degree of formal training.
Not only does this ensure that they have the needed practical and academic knowledge to start work immediately, it eliminates the need to pay a salary to an individual who is currently unable to undertake all of his or her duties.
Formal Training as a Veterinary Assistant
A growing number of institutions currently provide training for VAs. In most cases, this training takes approximately one year to complete for a full-time student, although some programs are designed to take less time.
They do not generally confer an associate’s degree. Instead, successful students receive a certificate of completion from the school.
However, students should be certain to only attend schools that are approved by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA). This institution ensures that the school’s educational program conforms to the accepted standards for VA training in America.
This can be especially important when submitting the certificate of completion to a potential employer.
Vet Assistant Schools In Houston, TX
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Currently, the NAVTA provides certification services for those VAs who are interested in demonstrating a high degree of proficiency in this field. An approved veterinary assistant (AVA) credential is only provided to those individuals who can pass the NAVTA exam, which is regularly updated in order to ensure that it reflects the current state of the art for VAs.
In addition to improving an individual’s ability to secure employment, this certificate can lead to faster promotions and pay raises.
Ultimately, becoming a VA can be an excellent choice for those individuals who are interested in entering America’s animal-care sector.
In addition to providing a stable income, this field also provides the emotional satisfaction that comes from helping to ensure that America’s beloved companion animals receive the best care possible.[esy_widget type=”listings” category_id=”511″ title=”Featured Online Veterinary Technician Programs Now Enrolling Students”]