How to Become a Veterinary Assistant in Iowa

If you love animals and have dreamt about becoming a veterinarian, but cannot afford becoming one, a veterinarian assistant may be a rewarding job for you, considering the fact that you will get the same level of satisfaction, since the whole veterinary team is working on the same aim and that is to help the animal in need.

The way of becoming a vet assistant is the easiest one when an animal-related field is in question.

You do not need to possess more than a high school diploma, even though it would be beneficial if you have some kind of certificate.

Veterinary assistants must have excellent communication skills, an understanding of animal behavior, be detail-oriented, and well-organized so as to be able to accomplish all their daily tasks.

Veterinary Assistant Job Description and Duties in Iowa

Besides their less demanding duties, such as answering phone calls and booking appointments, they might also be involved in more challenging issues such as:

  •  Take and develop x-rays.
  • Collect urine and fecal samples when instructed.
  • Perform laboratory tests
  • Retrieve pets being discharged from their cages.
  • Administer injections and medication
  • Manage pet emergency care services.
  • However, all these depend on the level of education achieved.

A higher level of knowledge can be gained by simply observing the work of a veterinarian or by attending vet assistant classes during which students get qualifications and become more self-confident and prepared for all kinds of difficulties.

Iowa Vet Assistant Education Requirements

If you are a compassionate person who is responsible for performing administrative tasks, patient and meticulous, and above all these have a genuine love for animals then you have fulfilled the first and foremost requirement for the position of a veterinary assistant, but you still need to have in mind the fact that qualifications are really important when getting any kind of job.

That is the reason why more people decide to take any of the programs or courses which allow a candidate to get a license or certification and improve their prospects of getting a better-paid job.

With this kind of education you will ameliorate your self-confidence, thus making you a better candidate for the job and the priority will be given to you if the competition is great.

There are campuses throughout Iowa which offer veterinary assistant programs to their students, such as:

  • Western Iowa Tech
  • Hawkeye Community College
  • Kirkwood Community College

By enrolling in any of these training programs, you will get a license or certification which is there to prove that you can successfully perform the role of a veterinary assistant, and even do some more difficult and demanding tasks such as examinations on animals, without the supervision of a veterinarian.

This will make you a valuable member of an animal healthcare team and, once employed, it will increase your annual salary.

Iowa does not have any formal education requirements since people with a high school diploma or GED equivalency can easily become a veterinary assistant.

It is worth mentioning that they should not expect to be paid equally as some other assistants who got educational training to become veterinary assistants at community colleges, technical schools, or online courses.

Most people nowadays take care of pets and the welfare of their pets is of crucial importance to them, so the veterinary assistant job becomes even more demanding and requires a higher level of knowledge in dealing with animals.

NAVTA offers veterinary assistants an opportunity to become educated people as during their approved programs they will learn everything about animal care, like medical conditions, diets, surgeries, parasites, vaccines, and more.

Some of the NAVTA programs offered online are:

  • Animal Behavior College,
  • Penn Foster,
  • VetBloom,
  • VetMedTeam.

Besides online programs, which are quite popular nowadays, you can choose among many high school campus and adult campus programs throughout the country, including:

  • Western Iowa Tech
  • Hawkeye Community College
  • Kirkwood Community College

In order to become an approved veterinary assistant in Iowa, you can choose from one of the three options: Externship Option, Experiential Learner, or Veterinary Assistant Program.

Then, after graduation, you will need to pass the AVA exam and renew your Iowa AVA by achieving 10 continuing education credits within the following 2 years.

The options are considered ideal as the employed veterinary assistants also get a chance to achieve education and certificate within six months to a year.

Potential Salary Expectations and Job Prospects in Iowa

The Bureau of Labor Statistics is trying to determine what are the factors that may cause the annual salary of a veterinary assistant to vary among the cities around the USA and especially among the cities within one particular state.

When it comes to Iowa, it is estimated that an average veterinary assistant annual salary ranges from $ 25672 in Sioux City up to $ 29849 in Des Moine.

The table below shows the salary of a veterinary assistant in the state of Iowa annually since it varies from one place to another.

LocationAvg. Annual Salary
Des Moines$29,849
Cedar Rapids$29,275
Davenport$29,142
Sioux City$25,672
Waterloo$27,893
Iowa City$29,035
Council Bluffs$29,172
Dubuque$28,931
Ames$29,571
West Des Moines$29,849

Potential Veterinary Assistant Employers in Iowa

Future veterinary assistants should not worry about their job outlook as there are a variety of job offers and finding a job will not be such a big problem, having in mind the fact that the growth of animal health centers leads to the increasing volume of work.

Some states are even experiencing a lack of certified vet assistants.

This is the list of potential veterinary assistant employers in Iowa:

  • Banfield Pet Hospital
  • Clive
  • Iowa Pet Hospitals
  • Afford-A-Care Pet Hospital
  • Ames Pet Hospital
  • Bright Eyes & Bushy Tails Veterinary Hospital

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Continuing Education for Veterinary Assistants

Advancing your knowledge is always an option, even though you are already an employed veterinary assistant.

The career move towards a license or continuing education can change your entire professional profile, improve your job outlook, and improve your chances of potential salary increase.

So as to help you start to advance within the veterinary field, we suggest that you check the following resources in Iowa

USA How to Become a Veterinary Assistant by State