17 Pros and Cons of Being a Veterinary Assistant

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When you love working with animals, you want to find any way to be around them.

Choosing a career where you can work with animals who are in need of care can be extremely rewarding.

Veterinary assistants get the chance to assist vets when it comes to working with dogs, cats, and other household animals.

Discover the pros and cons so you can decide if being an assistant to a veterinarian sounds like a career that you would enjoy being a part of.

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Pros of Being a Veterinary Assistant

Dogs, cats, and other animals go to the vet so that they can get check-ups, overcome illnesses, get treated due to an injury, and more.

It can be a rewarding job because you get to participate in helping animals of all sizes feel better.

You’re Surrounded by Animals

If you’re passionate about animals, you will want to surround yourself with them.

Depending on where you choose to work, you’ll get to be around all sorts of animals throughout the day.

You will be the one to hold their paws when they’re scared and you’ll be the one to collect all of their kisses when they’re happy.

You’ll Meet Animal Lovers

When you work at a clinic or hospital that specializes in animals, everyone you meet will be an animal lover.

You may find out about opportunities to volunteer at shelters.

Plus, you may make some lifelong friends who are animal lovers just like you are.

You Get to Work with a Team

If you love being around other people, becoming a vet assistant can be a lot of fun.

Some hospitals and clinics may employ multiple veterinarians and techs.

You’ll all work as a team to make sure that the animals that come in get the best possible level of care.

Regular Pay

You will get paid doing what you love.

Most vet assistants get paid by the hour, and many employers have plenty of opportunities for overtime.

This means that you can earn more money and spend more time around animals.

Many employers will also offer an array of other benefits, including health and dental insurance, paid time off, and even paid vacations.

Opportunity to Learn and Grow

Once you decide that you love working around animals and caring for them, you may decide that you want to advance your career.

As you work as a vet assistant, you may choose to go to school to become a vet technician or even a veterinary doctor.

Various Work Environments

Veterinary assistants are needed so that veterinarians can see and help more animals throughout the day.

You can decide what kind of vet you want to assist, which means you can choose your work environment.

You may want to work out on the farms with large animals, in the city with dogs and cats, or even inside of a lab for those who are conducting research.

Getting Dressed Every Day is a Breeze

You don’t have to invest a lot in a work wardrobe.

Instead, you get to wear scrubs.

It’s like being able to wear pajamas to work every day.

You might have your scrubs provided to you by your employer or you may have the freedom to choose whatever color and design you want for the day.

Training Doesn’t Take Long

You may have decided long ago that you didn’t want to spend eight years in college to become a veterinarian.

The good news is that you can still work around animals as a vet assistant – and the training only takes a few months.

You’ll Learn Constantly

It’s extremely rewarding to be in a career where you’re always learning.

You’ll learn about new breeds of dogs and cats, find out about medical conditions, and so much more.

If you are looking to advance, be sure that the vet tech or vet gets you involved in as many processes as possible.

Cons of Being a Veterinary Assistant

It’s important to know about the various downsides of being a veterinary assistant.

After all, you’re going to be working around animals.

You already know that it’s going to get a bit difficult at times.

Unfortunately, you never know what kind of animal is going to walk through the door.

It could be a two-pound cat, or it could be a 100-pound dog.

Depending on the vet that you assist, you may even be working on bigger animals, including horses, goats, and cows.

You Will Need to Attend a Training Program

Becoming a veterinary assistant isn’t something that you can simply decide you want to do and immediately get hired.

You will need to obtain a high school diploma and go through an approved veterinary assistant program.

Most places will want you to choose a program that has been approved by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA).

The training can be as short as four months, and you will need to pass the exam.

The Job Can Be Physically Demanding

Not all dogs and cats are small or easy to work with.

You will be required to hold animals down in order to get their weight, take their blood pressure, and even administer shots and drugs.

You may have to work with animals that are 100 pounds or more.

Additionally, some animals can be aggressive, which means that you may have to work to get them into a muzzle or subdue them in some other way.

You Will Have to Say Goodbye to Various Animals

Some animals don’t make it through their treatment or they pass because of old age.

It can be devastating to have to say goodbye to a beautiful animal, especially if you have developed a relationship with that animal over the years.

While there are plenty of happy moments, the death of some animals will be extremely taxing on your emotional state.

Additionally, you will have grieving pet owners to deal with, which can make the process of saying goodbye that much harder.

Pay is Low

For all that you have to do, the pay can be lower than other careers.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics identified that the median pay in 2020 for a veterinary assistant was $14.39 per hour.

The median annual wage was $29,930.

Of course, the pay will depend greatly on whether you work for an animal hospital, a research lab, or even a private veterinary office.

The more training you have, the more opportunities you will have to earn more money.

You’ll Get Dirty

There are going to be days that you come home smelling of everything that was spilled and sprayed onto you throughout the day.

Some of the animals you work with will be sick or injured, which means you may have to deal with some sanitation nightmares.

Part of your job will be to take fecal samples, urine samples, and more.

And if you’re assisting with surgery or other procedure, you’ll be working with blood, pus, and other bodily fluids.

To say that you’ll get dirty on some days is an understatement.

Not All of the Work is Glamorous

You will not always be completing the most glamorous jobs.

Since you’re the assistant to the vet, you’ll be doing all of the tasks that they don’t want to do.

This often includes cleaning up after a pet that has gotten nervous and thrown up or peed on the floor.

You may also spend your time cleaning cages, kennels, and surgical equipment.

It Can Involve Long Hours

Plan on working long hours depending on the animals that are in your care for the day.

You may be required to monitor an animal after their surgery to conduct regular check-ups – and this can be an all-night project in some instances.

Depending on the vet that you work for, you may be required to work nights, weekends, and even various emergencies that come in for the veterinarian to handle.

You’ll Be Involved in Customer Relations

While the pets themselves can be quite fun to work with, you’ll also have to deal with the pet owners.

Unfortunately, not all pet owners are friendly or reasonable.

They will come in demanding answers on a pet.

Some will be worried or grieving, and you will need to do your best to calm the pet owners so that they leave happy.

Should You Become a Veterinary Assistant?

Only you can decide if you want to become a veterinary assistant, but it can be a lot of fun and very rewarding.

As long as you love being around animals and are willing to take the good with the bad, it can be a career that will bring you a lot of joy.

Take the time to do a little research.

Contact your local veterinary office to see if you can ask questions or even shadow an assistant for the day.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that there’s a significant amount of growth in the field, so it can lead to plenty of opportunities for you.

Enroll in a training program and, before you know it, you could be assisting a veterinarian with countless animals on a daily basis.

Pros and Cons of Being a Veterinary Assistant – Summary Table

Pros of Being a Veterinary Assistant Cons of Being a Veterinary Assistant
You’re Surrounded by Animals You Will Need to Attend a Training Program
You’ll Meet Animal Lovers The Job Can Be Physically Demanding
You Get to Work with a Team You Will Have to Say Goodbye to Various Animals
Regular Pay Pay is Low
Opportunity to Learn and Grow You’ll Get Dirty
Various Work Environments Not All of the Work is Glamorous
Getting Dressed Every Day is a Breeze It Can Involve Long Hours
Training Doesn’t Take Long You’ll Be Involved in Customer Relations
You’ll Learn Constantly