How to Become a Veterinary Assistant in Pennsylvania

Due to the fact that the animals are more appreciated and their care is more like care for a human being, there is a constant demand for skilled veterinary staff who will help them in need.

If you consider yourself a person who would not mind spending all day around animals then a veterinary science and medicine might have a perfect job for you.

So as to become a veterinarian, you need to finish higher education which requires and a lot of studying and practice, takes much time and can be quite expensive.

Unless you can afford it, then you might dedicate yourself to the veterinary assistant profession which is less demanding but not at all negligible.

Veterinary Assistant Job Description and Duties in Pennsylvania

Prior to deciding whether vet assistant profession is for you, you need to have in mind that hugging cats and patting dogs can is not the only skill that you need to possess so as to become a veterinary assistant.

You need to accept that you will be obliged to do the various tasks and roles.

There are numerous obligations and responsibilities that this job is followed wit, and if you decide to try your luck with a veterinary assistant job, you should know that their tasks include supporting veterinarians, providing basic care for pets and non-farm animals, feeding and bathing animals, administering medications or vaccinations among many others.

The location of the veterinarian or the animal-related facility determines where you will work, as some clinics might have fieldwork, so you might have to travel.

If you find work in those clinics where pets stay in after the intervention, you have night work as well as work on holidays and weekends.

Pennsylvania Vet Assistant Education Requirements

Future vet assistants should know that besides the fact that veterinarians are the most responsible people in a veterinary clinic since they deal with serious illnesses and injuries, the facility would not be able to function without the other veterinary personnel, including vet assistants.

They have their own role and requirements, and only if the whole team manages to cooperate and work synchronously, the daily issues will be solved effectively.

We need to say that a veterinary assistant can be a person without any kind of formal education related to veterinary medicine after his/her high school education.

Those vet assistants work under the supervision of a veterinarian and can learn the job on the spot.

However, it is more difficult for them to get a job, as a person who possesses some kind of knowledge would definitely represent a more appropriate candidate and would be given priority.

Veterinarians highly rely on vet assistants and that explains their need for educated and certified individuals when choosing their future employee.

Numerous programs across the country offer training and practice for both employed and unemployed veterinary assistants and many students take the opportunity to enter the NAVTA certification exam upon graduation.

NAVTA meets the newest standards of education by offering online programs for veterinary assistants, including Penn Foster, Animal Behavior College, and VetMedTeam where you can learn at your own pace, from the comfort of your home, and at the same time work in a vet facility.

Another opportunity for a more traditional learner is to go to schools, colleges, and universities to practice their skills and achieve the necessary education to be a successful veterinary assistant.

A few veterinary assistant campus and online programs in Pennsylvania:

  • Dauphin County Technical School
  • Parkway West Technology Center
  • Lancaster County Career and Technology Center

The programs usually take six months to a year to be completed and after classes, students are ready to sit for AVA exams and get their certificate.

Potential Salary Expectations and Job Prospects in Pennsylvania

Vet assistant job offerings and opportunities are numerous and where you will apply for a job depends on you and your skills.

Have in mind the fact that the larger clinic, the greater are demands and duties of a veterinary assistant, so make sure you can complete them all.

You can search for an appropriate job as a veterinary assistant whether you have a license or not and can potentially work in animal shelters, veterinary hospitals, clinics, and zoos.

All candidates have equal chances of employment, but those clinics that are well known and respected with numerous awards achieved for the great care of all kinds of pets will more likely elect candidates with the certificate.

The average salary of a veterinary assistant in the USA is relatively low and it ranges between $23,000 and $35,000, depending on the veterinary clinic location.

When it comes to Pennsylvania, we need to mention that the annual salary of a veterinary assistant differs and it depends on numerous factors, both individual and social.

The level of educations, qualifications, experience, and skills all affect the possible wages.

Furthermore, the development of the city, the earnings of its citizens, the number of animals in that area, and the prominence of the clinic are also important factors that may affect the vet assistant salary.

The lowest salary is given to veterinary assistants in Erie $ 28501 while the highest is in Bensalem $ 34846.

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

LocationAvg. Annual Salary
Philadelphia$33,145
Pittsburgh$30,392
Allentown$30,763
Erie$28,501
Upper Darby$33,145
Reading$30,605
Scranton$28,479
Bethlehem$30,763
Williamsport$29,391
Bensalem$34,846

Potential Veterinary Assistant Employers in Pennsylvania

VCA (Veterinary Centers of America) has been providing high standards of care for a number of years with 750 VCA hospitals throughout the United States.

  • VCA Knightswood Animal Hospital
  • VCA Met Vet West Animal Hospital
  • VCA Animal Healing Center
  • VCA Dunmore Animal Hospital

Banfield Pet Hospital has more than 900 locations across the United States and in Puerto Rico and below are some of the Banfield Pet Hospitals located in Pennsylvania.

  • Philadelphia Chestnut
  • Mechanicsburg
  • Lancaster
  • Warminster
  • Plymouth Meeting

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Continuing Education for Veterinary Assistants

Veterinary assistants are seriously involved in the medical care and curing process of wounded or ill animals and the more education you have, the more significant member of the team you become, so choosing one of continuing education courses would increase your value and salary as well.

USA How to Become a Veterinary Assistant by State