What are the different types of veterinary assistant jobs?

People who want to work in the animal health field, but do not want to become a full-fledged veterinarian, may choose to become a veterinary assistant. In some cases, people may use veterinary assistant jobs as a springboard to a career as a veterinarian. There are many types of veterinary assistant jobs, ranging from being a receptionist at a veterinary clinic to helping a zoo vet treat exotic animals. Here are some types of veterinary assistant jobs and the tasks that are associated with them.

Veterinary assistant jobs can be divided into two categories: those that require formal medical education and those that do not. Most veterinarians prefer to hire certified veterinary technicians to perform the more technical tasks associated with a veterinary practice. These duties may include assisting the veterinarian in the exam room, assisting in surgery, taking and developing x-rays, and performing laboratory procedures.

Those workers without formal training can often find work as an animal clinic receptionist or clinic assistant. A receptionist is generally responsible for scheduling appointments, disseminating information, answering phones, bookkeeping, and other office-related tasks. Other tasks a clinic aide might help with include cleaning kennels and cages, feeding and exercising animals, and general housekeeping. Often these non-certified assistants can get enough training on the job that they will eventually be able to perform the duties of a veterinary technician.

A veterinary assistant could also be hired to assist a large animal veterinarian. In such a position, the assistant would likely travel to clients' homes and farms with the veterinarian and assist with animal health procedures. The Animal Attendant may be called upon to help contain animals, administer medications, assist with farm and ranch related activities such as calving and vaccinations.

Another option for animal health assistants is to work at an animal shelter or humane society. Large shelters often have a veterinarian on staff. A vet tech will help the vet perform health and temperament evaluations, vaccinations, medical treatments and, in some shelters, euthanasia. If there is no veterinarian on staff, a vet tech could perform some of these tasks without veterinary supervision.

Zoos, public aquariums, and wildlife preserves offer another opportunity for veterinary assistants. In this position, the technician would typically help with animal exams, prophylactic care such as vaccinations and dentistry, assisting with surgical or radiological procedures, and animal record-keeping tasks. Other miscellaneous veterinary assistant jobs include lab animal caretaker, research assistant, emergency health technician, or assistant at a spay and neuter clinic.

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