How to Become a Veterinary Assistant in Washington

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Animal lovers represent a huge part of our population, with their pets cared for and protected.

As such, they’re concerned about pets’ welfare, and they rely on the vet team to ensure their health.

Due to this, the vet team’s been in constant demand to meet this need.

So, this is a good starting point for you who want to become a vet assistant in Washington.

What a Vet Assistant Does

Working at an animal care facility has always been challenging.

Usually, your duty’s centered on assisting vets and vet techs in their daily tasks.

But you also perform other things including but aren’t limited to:

  • Taking care of both big and small animals
  • Providing comfort and support to pet owners
  • Assisting during surgeries and interventions
  • Administering medications
  • Conducting blood tests, urinalysis, etc.

Some of you may be entrusted to heavier tasks by the vet.

It can be helping out in scientific research and lab work.

Some facilities are open 24/7, so expect to be called anytime, especially during emergencies.

That means you may have to sacrifice your weekend or holiday for work.

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Education Requirements in Washington

A vet assistant’s duties require a certain level of knowledge and skills to perform them well.

And so, attending a training program is vital to the success of your career.

However, many can’t afford to study at universities, nor do they want to continue with their education.

What they want is to get a job straight from high school, relying on the vet’s guidance to learn.

But the thing is, you need an education related to animal care.

Employers are more often searching for an assistant who knows exactly what they’re doing right from the start.

With less supervision.

So, the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) created a program to help expertly train vet assistants.

It’s known as the Approved Veterinary Assistant (AVA) program.

Unfortunately, only Renton Technical College has been accredited by NAVTA.

But you can still enroll in a vet assistant program offered by schools and other online courses.

Some of the schools you can attend in Washington are the following:

  • Northwest Career and Technical Academy
  • George Washington University – Mount Vernon Campus
  • Lower Columbia College
  • Pima Medical Institute – Renton Campus and Seattle Campus

You’ll learn medical conditions, surgeries, vaccinations, etc. that you may find useful once you start working.

Other lessons include animal anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, radiology, and nutrition.

The program usually lasts from six months to one year.

Upon completion, you can then apply for certification.

NAVTA offers three ways you can get certified.

  • Externship Option – most frequently used by the unemployed vet assistants
  • Experiential Learner – used by the working vet assistants
  • Veterinary Assistant Program – for both new and well-established professionals

Job Prospects in Washington

applying as a vet assistant in washington

Vet assistants commonly find jobs at vet clinics or animal hospitals where their duties depend on their qualifications.

While some just work behind the counter, answering calls and keeping records, others serve in surgery or examination rooms.

With the number of animal care facilities expected to increase in the future, it will lead to the demand for new vet assistants.

Not only does this expand job opportunities, but it also increases the earning potential.

When applying for a job, possessing a certification will make you a more desirable candidate.

You’ll be given priority over others by the employer.

Below are some of the potential employers in Washington.

  • Washington State Association of Veterinary Technicians
  • Veterinary Centers of America Branches
    • Magnolia Animal Hospital
    • Pacific Avenue Animal Hospital
    • Five Corners Animal Hospital
  • Vetco Wellness Centers and Vaccination Clinics in:
    • Seattle Petco
    • Redmond Petco
    • Spokane Petco
    • Olympia Petco
  • Banfield Pet Hospital in:
    • Seattle
    • Vancouver
    • Spokane

Potential Salary in Washington

A vet assistant in Washington enjoys a modest pay grade.

This salary’s been calculated by considering several factors.

  • Area development
  • Residents’ employment
  • Number of animal owners
  • Number of animal care facilities reported that as of February 2022, the average annual salary is $33,920.

The salary range is estimated to be between $27,000 and $41,000 annually.

The table below shows the salary percentile in Washington.

Percentile Salary
10% $21,332
25% $27,331
50% $33,920
75% $40,915
90% $47,284

Here’s the table showing different salaries within the state.

Average Annual Salary by Location

Location Avg. Annual Salary
Seattle $33,756
Spokane $30,608
Tacoma $32,894
Vancouver $32,168
Bellevue $33,756
Everett $33,015
Federal Way $2,894
Kent $32,829
Yakima $30,540
Bellingham $31,503

Continuing Education for Vet Assistants

helpful resources for vet assistants in washington

Final Words

Being a vet assistant can be a rewarding and fulfilling career for you.

You get to enjoy a great job and a decent salary to support your lifestyle.

Just be sure to give your best in your work so that the vet clinic can function well in its daily operations.

After all, the more you work, the better your pay will be.

USA How to Become a Veterinary Assistant by State