How to Become a Veterinary Assistant in Illinois

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If dealing with pets and people is something that you do well, it already makes you a great candidate for a vet assistant job.

You don’t need a tertiary education after high school to start working as one.

So with animal healthcare in mind, here’s how you can pursue a vet assistant career in Illinois.

What a Vet Assistant Does

Your duties as a vet assistant are numerous.

But at its core, you’ll provide care to animals and assistance to the team.

Further, you’ll be compassionate and patient to pet owners, teaching and giving them support when needed.

Before anything else, your task is to:

  • Have face-to-face contact with clients
  • Schedule appointments
  • Update and keep patient records

Then you move on to more involved tasks like:

  • Preparing the examination and operating rooms
  • Administering medication
  • Managing animals before and after intervention
  • Providing basic animal care
  • Cleaning the work areas

If these sound good and manageable for you, then we’ll move on to the vet assistant programs available.

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Education Requirements in Illinois

This career indeed has no strict education requirements.

Having a high school diploma or GED is enough.

However, more and more young people notice the importance of comprehensive education and training.

Even already employed vet assistants plan to partake in this to gain more knowledge and skills and get certified.

In Illinois, numerous vet assistant programs are being offered.

You can choose to attend schools (e.g., community colleges and training centers) or enroll in an online course.

Moreover, becoming a certified vet assistant is possible through the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA).

Some of the schools offering NAVTA’s Approved Veterinary Assistant (AVA) program are as follows:

  • Central Comm School District 301
  • Morton College
  • College of Lake County
  • Harper College
  • McHenry County College
  • Moraine Valley Community College
  • Northeastern Illinois University – El Centro Campus

Meanwhile, here are institutions offering the AVA program online:

  • Animal Behavior College
  • Penn Foster
  • VetBloom
  • VetMedTeam

During the program, expect to learn everything you need to know about this job for at least six months.

Expert instructors will teach you:

  • How to handle and manage animals
  • Animal anatomy
  • Pharmacology
  • Anesthesia
  • Laboratory work
  • Surgical assistance

All these are important for you to know what to do in an emergency to preserve the life of the animal.

Job Prospects in Illinois

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Lately, there’s been a significant rise in open job positions.

However, Illinois struggles to find enough certified and trained vet assistants to fill them.

So the state is actively seeking newcomers for the job, which is good news for you.

After successfully finishing the program, you can find and get employed at a good workplace.

Numerous employers have opened their doors for you, so take this chance to send your application.

Put that knowledge and skills into practice.

Here are some of the employers in Illinois:

  • Veterinary Centers of America Branches
    • Chicago North Animal Hospital
    • County West Animal Hospital
    • Hawthorn Animal Hospital
    • Franklin Park Animal Hospital
  • Banfield Pet Hospital in:
    • Champaign
    • Springfield
    • Oswego
  • Vetco Wellness Centers and Vaccination Clinics in:
    • Chicago Petco
    • New Lenox Petco
    • Springfield Petco
    • Pekin Petco

We believe that these are the clinics where you can get the best possible experience.

There you can be exposed to different services like dentistry and parasite prevention that widen your knowledge.

Potential Salary in Illinois

When it comes to salary, a vet assistant receives a modest amount.

The money earned depends on numerous factors, such as experience, working hours, and work setting.

As of February 2022, reported that the salary ranges from $26,282 to $39,345.

Further, you can earn, on average, $32,618 annually.

Here’s a table of the salary percentile for your reference.

Percentile Salary
10% $20,513
25% $26,282
50% $32,618
75% $39,345
90% $45,469

Meanwhile, the table below shows the varying salaries throughout the state.

Average Annual Salary by Location

Location Avg. Annual Salary
Chicago $32,707
Rockford $30,544
Aurora $32,417
Naperville $32,045
Peoria $29,803
Springfield $28,479
Joliet $31,781
Elgin $32,180
Waukegan $30,844
Cicero $32,707

Continuing Education for Vet Assistants

The fact is that the veterinary sciences and technology are constantly developing.

And so, it’s necessary that you keep updated with the latest news and trends.

That can only be achieved if you continue attending seminars and courses, and do additional training.

Illinois has many associations where you can gain continuing education such as:

Take this chance to start moving forward in the veterinary profession.

Final Words

Vet assistants are usually people who care for the animals’ well-being.

They believe that an animal’s life is of equal importance as that of a human’s.

So if this is also your belief and see yourself working in the veterinary field, then get the education and training you need for this job.

Gain knowledge and skills to become a true veterinary professional.

USA How to Become a Veterinary Assistant by State