About Becoming a Florida Veterinary Assistant
Florida is a state with a vibrant mixture of rural and urban regions, which is home to a combination of long-term residents and tourists from across the world.
For this reason, Florida has a robust and growing veterinary care sector, ranging from traditional rural clinics to large practices that provide care for both common and exotic pets.
In turn, this has created a demand for motivated workers who enjoy treating the beloved companion animals of their clients. Veterinary Assistants (VAs) provide a vital part of ensuring that every animal in Florida receives the care that it deserves.
Job Options for Veterinary Assistants
Currently, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has estimated that there were over 74,600 currently employed VAs in the United States.
The BLS estimates that there may be as many as 81,700 VA jobs in America by the year 2022.
In addition to the natural growth in this field, many currently filled VA positions will become open due to their occupants retiring or otherwise leaving the field.
In Florida, there were nearly 4,000 currently employed VAs in 2013 and the rate of job growth is expected to keep pace with the rest of the nation, making the region ideal for those individuals who desire to become practicing VAs.
Currently, the annual median wage for VAs in America is over $23,000. In Florida, the wage stands at just over $22,000.
However, the lower cost of living in Florida makes this wage comparable in buying power to the higher salaries earned in other states. In addition, many VAs have generous benefits, including paid vacation time and individual and family insurance plans.
Becoming a VA
Most VAs are either formally trained or have obtained their training directly from their employer as a part of their job duties. However, a growing number of individuals decide to complete a formal VA training program before seeking out employment in order to improve their professional opportunities.
On the Job Training
On the job training was once the most common method used by VAs to enter this field. Today however, many employers prefer to hire individuals who have obtained a formal education from a qualified institution.
However, many practices, especially smaller ones, hire untrained individuals who will receive on the job training.
Individuals intending to pursue this route should be aware that at least in the beginning of their employment, their salary will probably be lower than that obtained by an individual who is formally trained or who has substantial job experience when hired.
Formal Training Programs
Community colleges and vocational schools provide a wide range of VA training programs. Depending on the nature of the program and the student’s schedule a VA training program can take up to a year to complete.
Fortunately, a wide range of distance learning and online programs are available today, which can dramatically improve the ability of a student who currently working while training to become a VA to quickly and effectively complete his or her program.
Formal training programs can also allow a student to become a certified approved veterinary assistant (AVA). This qualification is offered by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA). The NAVTA offers this certification program in order to permit qualified VAs to show that they have the professional skills needed to provide the best possible assistance to their employers and clients.
As a professional certification program, the requirements to become an AVA are regularly revised by the NAVTA to ensure that they remain up to date with the current state of the art in veterinary medicine as it applies to VAs.
What Are a VAs Duties?
VAs are non-licensed veterinary employees who assist their supervisors, including veterinarians, veterinary assistants and other qualified professionals. As a non-licensed veterinary worker, a VA has strict limits on the types of care he or she can provide.
In general, a VA is restricted to providing assistance to licensed veterinary care workers rather than working independently in this field.
Common duties include cleaning and sterilizing equipment in the veterinary office; feeding, watering and exercising animals under the veterinarians care; and providing clerical services, both to the public and to fellow veterinary care workers.
Why Become a Florida VA?
Ultimately, becoming a VA in Florida can provide a wide range of opportunities for the qualified individual.
In addition to being able to work with and help animals, VAs can forge a wide range of personal and professional connections with their coworkers and the members of the public that they serve.
This can be especially useful for VAs who are considering moving on to more advanced fields, such as becoming a licensed Veterinary Technician.
While the training a VA receives will not directly contribute to such a goal, the experience can help to prepare the VA for their later schooling.
Whether a Florida VA works with common house pets or finds him or herself working with exotic animals such as pet alligators, this career will be a personally and professionally rewarding job choice.
Veterinary Assistant Schools In Florida