There are more and more people nowadays whose pets are treated as members of their families, meaning that their welfare is of crucial importance and they rely on the veterinary team a lot when pets are in trouble.
That makes veterinary vocation even more demanding and requires a higher level of knowledge in dealing with animals.
An absolute pet lover ready to dedicate his/her life to animal welfare may get acquainted with a bright career of a veterinary assistant having in mind the fact that veterinary assistants play a crucial role in helping out veterinarians.
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Veterinary Assistant Job Description and Duties in Missouri
A veterinary assistant is a person who performs tasks given by veterinarians in relation to taking care of both big and small animals.
Every pet hospital relies on contributions from its veterinary assistants who need to perform numerous responsibilities such as examining injured or ill animals, providing comfort and support to pet owners when their beloved animals undergo surgical procedures and keeping records updated.
Although veterinary assistants assist veterinarians and other veterinary care staff, there are responsibilities that are left to them and they have to deal with it alone, such as communication with other vet facilities and vet staff, keeping records of patients and scheduling appointments.
Veterinary assistants typically do the following:
- Feed, bathe and exercise animals
- Clean and disinfect cages,
- Make sure that everything is sterilized in examination and operation rooms
- Restrain animals
- Take care of animals after surgery
- provide first aid to sick and injured animals
- Give medication
- Assist in the collection of blood, urine, and tissue samples.
Missouri Vet Assistant Education Requirements
It is true that Missouri does not require any special education, except for a high school diploma, for vet assistants, but still, those eager to become successful and skilled veterinary assistants should take into consideration the fact that some kind of education is necessary.
So as to be ready to act in emergency situations and know what to do if an animal’s life is in your hands, there are training programs that offer license or certification and at the same time prepare you to be a good and competent veterinary assistant.
The training program is designed so as to get students acquainted with all the demands that this vocation can put in front of them.
Possible colleges where all this can be learned in Missouri are:
- Midwest Institute
- Metropolitan Community College
- Jefferson College
If you enroll in any of these schools, you will notice that the curriculum covers issues related to basic animal health, care for pets when they are in the surgery, and routine examinations and procedures that veterinary assistants are often asked to help with.
You learn to understand how the body functions normally, some basic anatomy and physiology of animals, and to understand the areas of reproduction and genes.
There are many situations when your vet assistant knowledge and education will come into play and we consider it worth mentioning that the best education can be achieved by enrolling in some of NAVTA certified programs.
Some of the NAVTA programs offered online are:
- Animal Behavior College,
- Penn Foster,
The program can be attended online or at schools, institutes, and colleges.
The curriculum is designed so as to suit both employed veterinary assistants and newcomers, and they can choose the pace of their studies.
Courses often include animal health vocabulary, veterinary pharmacology, animal injury care, and front-office procedures.
The main reason why the education and certification are significant is that those who are not licensed cannot be paid equally as some other assistants who got educational training to become veterinary assistants at community colleges, technical schools, or online courses.
Furthermore, when applying for a job, it is likely that the employer will hire a person with a certificate rather than the individual who has never entered a vet facility or vet school.
Potential Salary Expectations and Job Prospects in Missouri
Demand for veterinary care also has grown throughout recent years, as animals’ medical care is an important priority for most owners, thus affecting the average salaries of vet assistants.
The salary varies from city to city, depending on numerous factors, but there is not a significant difference among cities as it is present in some other states.
The salary depends on the daily duties a vet assistant performs which thus depends on the education and talents of each assistant, so the more work and better education you get, the better you will be paid.
When it comes to Missouri, the lowest salary is in Joplin estimated at $ 29539, while the highest is in Florissant $ 30331.
Below is a table of annual salaries in major cities in Missouri:
|Location||Avg. Annual Salary|
Potential Veterinary Assistant Employers in Missouri
When job outlook is in question, veterinary assistants should not worry about getting employment as they can look for jobs in numerous places, such as laboratories, animal hospitals, and clinics, depending on the level of education they have.
Since facilities often stay open around the clock, so veterinary assistants may have to work irregular hours, part-time, full-time, night shifts, and even during holidays.
Here is the list of potential employers in Missouri:
- VCA All Creatures Animal Hospital
- VCA Bal-Coeur Animal Hospital
- VCA Cloud Animal Hospital
- VCA Parkcrest Animal Hospital and Pet Lodge
Banfield Pet Hospital
- Manchester Highland
- South Mehlville
- St. Charles
Vetco Wellness Centers and Vaccination Clinics inside PETCO
- Located in St. Louis Petco
- Located in Fairview Heights Petco
- Located in Florissant Petco
- Located in Arnold Petco
Continuing Education for Veterinary Assistants
Once deciding to become a veterinary assistant, you should expect to constantly improve your knowledge and skills, taking into consideration the fact that vet medicine is advancing and developing al the time and you need to be in line with the latest trends and technology.
That is the reason why you should search for continuing education courses and seminars and not only improve your job prospects, but get a chance of gaining a higher salary.
- Missouri Veterinary Medical Association
- American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)
- Missouri Veterinary Assistant Jobs
- Humane Society of Missouri
- Great Plains SPCA