How to Become a Veterinary Assistant in Arizona

The demand for the profession of a veterinary assistant is growing each year.

This can be explained by the increasing number of people having one, two, three or even more pets at home.

Americans consider their pets as family members.

For this reason they are ready to spend money on their healthcare.

This offers opportunities for high school graduates or those who only dream to start their career in veterinary medicine and even more.

A profession of a veterinary assistant is very noble because its main task is to help ill animals which can’t take care of themselves.

So, let’s get familiar with this job and the opportunities it offers.

Job Description: What Do Veterinary Assistants Actually Do?

A workday of a veterinary assistant is very busy: he needs to take care of animals, do some clerical job, arrange calls and meetings with pet owners, clean cages, prepare rooms for examination and surgery, calm down pets and support pet owners, etc.

So, this is a multi-faceted job that requires a lot of energy and sometimes physical strength.

However, when you see that your job makes people and animals happy, you will fall asleep with a happy smile on your face every day.

Ill animals are helpless like kids.

So their owners are.

You can imagine how your work will benefit people and those sweet creatures that we call our little friends!

How to Become a Veterinary Assistant: Training and Programs

If you’re keen to ease pain of animals and you have a high school diploma, you can start your career of a veterinary assistant.

This is one of the most rewarding jobs that don’t require any specific education.

However, for those who would like to learn more about this profession, several programs are offered:

  • Small Animal Care Program at Penta Career Center
  • Veterinary Assistant Program at Parkway West Career and Technology Center
  • Veterinary Assistant Program at West-MEC.

These programs are a part of NAVTA educational plan.

Students are granted with certificates after passing the AVA examination.

Licensing and Certification

No any specific certificates are required to be employed as a veterinary assistant.

For those interested to receive veterinary education, the following associations offer professional education in the veterinary field:

  • National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA);
  • Approved Veterinary Assistant (AVA)

These certificates are recognized across Arizona.


Arizona doesn’t set any specific educational requirements for the position of a veterinary assistant.

As in many other states, GED equivalency or a high school diploma is desired to be employed.

You can enrol either to a full-time or an online course for veterinary assistants.

Several schools in Arizona, including

  • Pima Medical Institute,
  • Central Arizona Valley Institute of Technology,
  • Mesa Community College

feature programs for veterinary assistants.

Some post-secondary institutions, such as

  • Pima Community College,
  • Western Maricopa Education Center,
  • Pima Community College

offer curriculum-based education for veterinary assistants.

AVA (Approved Veterinary Assistant) certificate is desired, but not required.

However, once you get the AVA certificate, your chances to be accepted to a more prestigious veterinarian clinic in Arizona will double.


A clinic team largely relies on veterinary assistants since their input is really huge.

This job requires a lot of efforts, but at the same time it’s a very morally awarding one.

A veterinary assistant fulfils a great number of tasks during the day like answering calls, making medical records, taking care of ill pets, keeping inventory, etc.

Below I listed several major duties of veterinary assistants just to give you an idea of the job.

Job duties of a veterinary assistant involve the following:

  • Customer service (answering calls, meeting and calming down pet owners, making meeting schedules, etc.)
  • Clerical work (keeping medical records, requesting information from other veterinarian clinics)
  • Inventory maintenance and control
  • Sanitizing examination and surgery rooms
  • Administering medications
  • Assistance to veterinarians
  • Full care of animals
  • Cleaning cages
  • Making pets’ diets, etc.

The duties of veterinary assistants vary from one veterinary facility to another.

You need to read the job description of the facility you’re applying for to know exactly what is expected from you.


Many of veterinary assistants working in Arizona don’t have any certificates.

However, if you plan to carve out a career of a veterinary assistant, you will need to think about receiving either AVA or NAVTA certificate.

This will expand your job opportunities and allow earning more money.

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Salary: How Much Will You Bring at Home?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics informs us that an average annual salary of a person occupied on the position of a veterinary assistant makes up $26,260.

Well, not bad for the beginning.

Veterinary assistants residing in Scottsdale, Mesa or Yuma get more than $28,000 annually.

Those employed in Phoenix earn roughly one thousand more – $28,916.

Currently, slightly more than 1,200 veterinary assistants are employed in animal facilities across Arizona.

The highest demand for veterinary assistants is observed in Mesa, Scottsdale and Phoenix where 75% of all professionals are working.

However, the demand for this job is increasing: the expected growth rate of full-time veterinary assistants comprises 24% by 2024.

I sincerely hope that the information I shared will help you find a job of a veterinary assistant in your city.

More basic annual salary data can be found in the table below.

LocationAvg. Annual Salary
Lake Havasu City$30,449
Sierra Vista$27,069
Sun City$29,263

Career Advancement Opportunities

People are different: some of them are comfortable to work at the same position for many years, others strive for promotion.

For those who are planning to advance in their career of a veterinary assistant, I want to communicate the following: a position of a veterinary assistant can be the first step to becoming a senior veterinary assistant, veterinary technician, veterinary technologist or a veterinarian.


The major responsibility of veterinary assistants is to take care of animals and help veterinary doctors.

In addition, they are responsible for a great variety of routine tasks in veterinary facilities.

It has certain difficulties, but it’s also very humane.

Besides, you don’t need any special education of working experience to be hired.

However, veterinary education and experience of working in animal shelters, kennels or other animal healthcare facilities is desirable.

The demand for this job is constantly increasing.

Therefore, if you love animals and want to be of use for society, you’re welcome to apply for a position of a veterinary assistant in Arizona!

USA How to Become a Veterinary Assistant by State