How to Become a Veterinary Assistant in Montana

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Being a person who has always dreamt of practicing veterinary medicine makes you ideal for becoming a vet assistant.

Vet assistants are the vets’ most important helpers, and industry development makes them more relevant than ever.

If you’re interested, here’s how you can become one in Montana.

What a Vet Assistant Does

People only perceive the least important duties of a vet assistant upon entering the vet facility.

Usually, they see you do the following:

  • Administrative work
  • Answering phone calls
  • Contacting clients

But the job doesn’t involve only those activities.

You also do the following in your day-to-day:

  • Examine pets and nonfarm animals
  • Feed and bathe animals
  • Clean and disinfect cages
  • Sterilize surgical instruments and equipment
  • Take care of animals after surgery
  • Provide emergency first aid to sick and injured animals
  • Give medication
  • Collect blood and urine samples
  • Assist during the surgery
  • Provide post-operative care

Know that animals’ lives might depend on your abilities and knowledge.

The more educated and experienced you are, the more serious tasks you get (and better pay).

So we suggest knowing the education and training requirements in Montana.

Personal Skills and Competencies

As a vet assistant, you need to possess the following to better do your job.

  • Good communication skills to connect with vets, pet owners, and the vet team
  • Empathy to provide comfort and understand the feelings of concerned pet owners
  • Organizational skills to manage the administrative work well
  • Time management to be prompt on day-to-day operations

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Education Requirements in Montana

Before, you didn’t need to get any kind of knowledge on veterinary medicine to work as a vet assistant.

However, the times have changed.

Nowadays, more and more vets are looking for educated assistants who know what they’re supposed to do in the field.

So after high school, you can be educated through vet assistant programs offered by schools and online.

That way, you’ll get the knowledge including but aren’t limited to animal conditions, illnesses, and injuries.

As such, you’ll be able to advise owners about the health problems and how to better take care of their pets.

Those already working at vet facilities can also enroll in these programs for their continuing education or certification.

You can either enroll in the following schools in Montana:

  • Pima Medical Institute
  • University of Montana Western
  • Helena College

You can also consider the Approved Veterinary Assistant (AVA) program by NAVTA.

After which you’ll be able to take the certification exam.

Earning it confirms that you’ve passed all assessments, enabling you to effectively work as a vet assistant.

Job Prospects in Montana

working at a vet clinic

When looking for employment, be aware that vets will give priority to certified vet assistants.

Currently, Montana’s estimated to have increased job growth due to the demand for animal care.

The following are institutions you can apply to.

  • Montana Veterinary Medical Association
  • Gallatin Animal Hospital
  • Best Friends Animal Hospital and Urgent Care Center
  • Banfield Pet Hospital – Bozeman
  • Other animal care facilities in Montana

Potential Salary in Montana

As of January 2022, the salary range is around $23,000 to $34,000, with an average annual salary of $28,752.

As in any other profession, a vet assistant’s salary isn’t the same in all the places of the state.

It will depend on several factors like:

  • Number of animal care facilities in that area
  • Development of the region
  • Your education, skills, and experience
  • Duties you perform

Here’s how much you can potentially earn if you belong to a certain percentile.

Percentile Salary
10% $18,081
25% $23,167
50% $28,752
75% $34,681
90% $40,079

Meanwhile, the table below shows the salaries offered in different places in Montana.

Average Annual Salary by Location

Location Avg. Annual Salary
Billings $29,549
Missoula $25,502
Great Falls $26,751
Butte-Silver Bow $25,502
Bozeman $25,502
Helena $25,965
Kalispell $27,384
Havre $26,289
Anaconda-Deer Lodge County $25,502
Miles City $29,087

Continuing Education for Vet Assistants

Veterinary medicine is constantly developing and advancing.

It has caused vet assistants to be in search of additional education, mostly for career advancements.

This can be done by attending courses and seminars provided by numerous associations.

They aim to help and support both aspiring and already established vet assistants.

Final Words

The duties that vet assistants do include working with both the animal and concerned owners.

When you compare the job requirements and the salary they get for it, you can see that they’re paid modestly.

Luckily, these people don’t find satisfaction in their income, but in the fact that they have helped those animals in need.

USA How to Become a Veterinary Assistant by State