Veterinary Assistant jobs

Discussion in 'The Fire Hydrant' started by JacksonsMom, Oct 15, 2013.

  1. JacksonsMom

    JacksonsMom Active Member

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    So, kind of thinking out loud, haven't entirely thought this through (was just googling tonight) ...

    I'm in school for cyber security right now. Still debating on whether to get a bachelors in something else (like criminal justice or psychology) and get the cyber certificate (so the classes I am in now still pertain to that). They have 'fast track' options for people already holding degrees. Apparently they're pretty desperate for cyber people around here. It's definitely a highly needed job right now. So anyway that's just a little backstory.

    It's going to take me at least another 2 - 2 1/2 years to finish that if I'm being realistic with myself. So I really need a decent job for the timebeing. I'm just doing very part-time work at a daycare in a gym now and I just want more.

    I was looking at a vet assistant program at my college. You just take two courses and it's a little over $1000 for the program. Average salary is $27,900 according to my college website. It's not a 'career' I'd want to have for the rest of my life or anything, but do you think doing the program would be worth it so that I could at least have a decent job for the next 3 or so years until I find a more 'career' oriented job? This area in particular has a lot of vets offices and I'm sure I could find some kind of job.

    Anyone do any vet assistant type work? What is it like? Does this sound like a stupid idea? lol
     
  2. PWCorgi

    PWCorgi Priscilla Winifred Corgi

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    Um, I'm not sure what our vet assistant's make, but it's certainly not that high (at least I don't think it it, lol), and it is all on the job training. They do just what the title says, they assist the vets. Each day our assistants are assigned to a vet for that shift, they check in the vet's appointments (take general histories/info), hold for vaccinations, shuttle the pets back to the lab so the tech's can do bloodwork/nail trims/etc. Our assistant's are the core of our hospital, they keep the doctors on track and moving or else everything gets backed up!

    You couldn't pay me to do it, I would never want to be in charge of restraining fractious cats in front of their owners. Nope nope nope. I will see if I can direct Erin (CuzICan) to this thread, she is an assistant.
     
  3. Southpaw

    Southpaw orange iguanas.

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    That salary sounds pretty high to be honest, maybe it's a regional thing but I'm a certified tech and I don't even make that much :eek:

    I would see if you could get a job as an assistant without the courses. It's not something you need schooling for so I'd check clinics out first before jumping into it. I don't know how it is in your area but around here clinics don't really have assistants - just techs. So maybe get a feel for that first, look at websites and see what sort of staff they have.... and look for job postings.

    My experience with assistants is that they are an extra set of hands for the technicians, essentially. Restrain, fill prescriptions, set up supplies, wrap surgery packs, get patient histories, reception work. Probably a little lab work - like using the blood analyzers or maybe even reading fecal samples? They do a lot but, typically, just wouldn't be the ones doing procedures or helping out in surgery. And the duties probably vary a lot within each clinic.

    It's a cool job! Never really a dull moment in a vet clinic lol.
     
  4. PWCorgi

    PWCorgi Priscilla Winifred Corgi

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    Which brings up another point, it's going to be different in each clinic!
    For example, our assistants never touch the front desk (reception) that is all CSR, which is what I do. They also never touch fecals or do any kind of diagnostic work.
    They do however fill prescriptions, but only for THEIR doctor, not general refill requests that get put on the board, that is a job for the techs where I work.

    So yeah...that :p
     
  5. Saeleofu

    Saeleofu Active Member

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    I was a vet assistant for 7 years, and I started with no schooling or previous vet experience. I started out at $6.50/hr and when I quit I was making $9/hr. I was part-time, so I was lucky if I made $12,000 a year. The full time people made about $18,000 - $20,000 a year. Basically, I think it's a waste of money to go to school to do an entry level job that most people get without having any school/experience. If you want to be a vet tech, that's a different story.

    Be prepared to work 12+ hour days and being on your feet the entire time. There will be day were you don't get a lunch break and still have to work 13 or 14 hour days - even as a part-timer. Expect to work weekends - every weekend. Expect to clean up a LOT of poop...and vomit and other messes. Most of your work will likely be cleaning kennels.

    I did the exact same thing a vet tech in our clinic did, except read fecals. I could read fecals, I just wasn't the person assigned to it. But our boss was super controlling and the vet tech really didn't get to do much on her own, either.
     
  6. JacksonsMom

    JacksonsMom Active Member

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    Hmmm interesting. I googled and saw a bit of vet assistant jobs around here but none that posted the salary.

    Most of that would totally be up my ally. Restraining animals and such would definitely not be something I'd be thrilled about doing, I was kind of thinking that was more of a 'tech' job, but I guess it would be something I'd have to deal with, lol. I definitely need to do a bit more research and looking through job listings etc. Maybe just trying to find a front receptionist job would be better but every time I've looked for those, I can't ever find any, I also do not really have any receptionist experience so don't have that going for me.
     
  7. JacksonsMom

    JacksonsMom Active Member

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    Are these websites legit?

    http://www1.salary.com/MD/Bowie/Veterinary-Assistant-salary.html

    It's saying this is the median salary: $30,147 but 50% of the people who perform the job of Veterinary Assistant are expected to make less than the median. But honestly even something like $20,000 would be enough just to get me by and through college especially if I'm still living at home.
     
  8. Saeleofu

    Saeleofu Active Member

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    Eh, that looks way off to me.

    Would you have time to work full-time AND go to school? I know both I and my friend/roommate/coworker had issues with having to come in late at night to medicate dogs even if we had a test/class first thing the next morning, having to stay late despite have to get to class/events on time, etc. And when we did have to come in for short visits (like medicating a dog or giving insulin after hours) we were only paid for the 5 minutes we were there. So we could be gone an hour with the drive time, and get paid 75 cents since we were only on the clock for 5 minutes. That doesn't even cover gas. It was a load of crap, to be honest. I also had no benefits - no insurance, no direct deposit, no sick leave or vacation time. If I wanted to take a weekend off, I could maybe get it off - but I certainly wouldn't get paid, and my hours would be given to someone else - not traded - so I'd lose quite a bit of money over a dog show weekend.

    If you want to work with animals/be a vet/be in the veterinary field, or if you want to try it out to see if that's the field you really want to be in, then it's good experience. Otherwise, I really don't recommend it. Especially if you're not keen on restraining animals. That's a huge part of the job, and if you're not good at it or if you're timid about it, you are putting people and pets at risk, slowing everything down, and honestly driving your coworkers crazy.
     
  9. sassafras

    sassafras mushinois

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    Honestly I think formal schooling for a vet assistant position is probably a waste of time and money. Most assistants are trained on the job, it's not a position that requires or even benefits from any kind of certification. Every clinic will utilize their assistants differently but generally there's nothing you can't learn on the job and a lot of vets are such control freaks that they want to train OTJ the way THEY want to train, not the way some two-course program trained someone.

    Also, keep in mind that those salaries are probably a nationwide average. So I'm sure some vet assistant, somewhere where the cost of living is really really high or who has been at the same job for 20 years, is making that much money but holy moley it seems really, really high to me for just Somewhere, USA.
     
  10. Fran101

    Fran101 Resident fainting goat

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    One of my friends did it when we were in the pre-vet program together. She needed the hours working with animals and wanted a letter of rec.

    I made (working the same amount of hours on a schedule that was less intense) almost twice as much as her..waitressing.
    It's entry level, she didn't have any cert or anything.
    SHE LOVED THE WORK (the animals, hands on experience, the people she worked with)

    that said.. it was miserably hard (lots of time on her feet, never an easy day, stressful, no time to study) and she only lasted a year.

    Her ending note on the experience was "For vet school, it was worth it to put in the hours and get the experience for apps. Otherwise? There are much much easier ways to make like $8 an hour as a student"
     
  11. JacksonsMom

    JacksonsMom Active Member

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    Okay, really good to know, guys. I'm thinking this definitely is going to be an idea I will pass over. Not sure it's for me. I guess at that rate, I might as well just find a job at a daycare/kennel type situation and basically be doing the same thing, w/o the school?

    I'm in the process of looking for a new job at the moment. I'm over the daycare thing ... children making me sick all the time :rolleyes::p NEED to get away. I just would love something decent for the next 2-3 years. I've never done waitressing before but was considering it. I would want to start at a small place though.
     
  12. PWCorgi

    PWCorgi Priscilla Winifred Corgi

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    I would still look into reception at a vet clinic, that's what I am doing while I go to school and I love it! Play up any kind of customer service experience on application, instead of reception experience. That's what I did because I had NO reception experience!
     
  13. SpringerLover

    SpringerLover Active Member

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    When I worked as an "uncertified tech" (which was like a vet assistant+ or somesuchsomething), I made $10/hour working 35+ hours a week at full time. However, I did everything a CVT would do aside from administering anesthetic drugs, intubating, and giving Rabies vaccines. The clinic I worked at was a 1.5 doctor practice with 5 techs on each day with 2 receptionists. We occasionally did reception duties over the lunch breaks (when surgeries were happening) but I mostly just did my job. Set up/handle appointments, fill meds, take xrays, assist in surgery, and we also did basic bathing/minimal grooming as techs.

    I enjoyed it a lot more while I was there. I don't think of it so fondly anymore.
     
  14. crazedACD

    crazedACD Active Member

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    I worked at an absolutely terrible vet clinic as an assistant for like $8.50/hr ish. There were no official certified techs or anything like that. It was supposed to be on the job training, I got as far as restraining, vaccinating, blood draws, setting catheters, running lab work, filling prescriptions, that sort of thing. It really was a terrible place and I ended up fading into doing mostly kennel work as much as I could. But yeah, I definitely didn't make 30k a year!
     
  15. *blackrose

    *blackrose "I'm kupo for kupo nuts!"

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    I'm a veterinary assistant. I would *definitely* have not paid money to be certified. I've learned everything I do on the job. I like to say I'm an unregistered veterinary technician, because I'm also doing blooddraws, reading slides, running labwork, administering injections/meds, and doing everything a tech does besides anesthesia monitering, because I don't feel comfortable doing so without a proper course. I prep for surgery, intubate, etc, just don't trust myself to read the stats correctly and know what to do if something is off.

    I make $9.25 an hour. I love my job, but will likely try to become registered via schooling so I can make a bit more....
     
  16. krissy

    krissy New Member

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    I was a vet assistant as a student. For the experience to get into vet school, do something that I enjoyed (even though it was long, hard days sometimes) was totally worth it... because I didn't NEED the money. I actually started out as a volunteer and then became their paid student, and then when I went to University I came home and was their summer student. I LOVED my clinic, loved the people, loved the job. But if I'd needed money that would have been different.
     
  17. Beanie

    Beanie Clicker Cult Coordinator

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    I would agree with this and this was the consensus I gathered when I was looking into the CVT program. Unless you want to be a CVT, the schooling isn't important.
    I also remember at the time some places did not care for a CVT and preferred vet assistants who they could train, then promote to tech later. However, around here, places will not hire a tech without their CVT. Basically the certification is what MAKES you a tech. Otherwise you have the title of assistant.

    Vet assistants and techs seem to have high burn-out from what I have read as well.

    Child care also has a high burn-out rate as it happens.

    Why not look at retail? If you can get hired on a place working in their stockroom, even better. Stockroom employees usually get paid more than sales floor or cashiers. And you don't have to deal with customers as much (only if you get sent out to stock shelves.) Downside, a lot of people who work in the stockroom work in the stockroom because they are antisocial or how other personality flaws that make them, um, not suited to being on the sales floor shall we say. There were some great guys who worked in the stockroom (almost entirely men) when I was at Target and I got along with probably 90% of them. That 10% though... they were... interesting.
     
  18. Southpaw

    Southpaw orange iguanas.

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    There are a lot of negatives about the job that aren't really so bad. Are the days long, yes. Do I enjoy working 11 hour days, no. But because I work long days, I have 1.5 days off during the week, plus weekends as well (with the exception of working 4 hours every other Sat). I will always complain about my hours lol but I truly think it is much better than working 8-4 M-F. But that's just me.

    I bust my ass a lot and for the things I do, don't get paid a whole lot. But I knew that and chose it as a career anyway. For a temporary job while you're in school... the money you make will probably be adequate.

    Most animals are pretty friendly. I honestly suck at restraint and have managed to get bit only once. Lol. I don't ever go into work wondering how many crabby animals we're gonna have..most days we don't have problems. Sometimes we need the leather gloves to hold a cat. If you're an assistant though I would imagine someone more experienced would handle the sassy ones.

    It just depends what you're interested in. It's challenging and doesn't get you rich but you're not planning on it as a career. Most days are fascinating and rewarding. And pet care discounts rock lol. I would NOT work at a dog daycare, I'll take my tech job any day. Daycares have you working super hard too but it's just... work that I can't handle doing all day lol.
     
  19. SaraB

    SaraB New Member

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    I am technically an Assistant at my vet clinic, however I do a lot more than your average assistant. I am essentially the office manager, I manage the front desk, I restrain, I do blood draws/vaccines, I do rads, I check in appointments, etc. We have a tiny clinic, 2 doctors (only one on at a time), 3 certified vet techs, one part time receptionist and me. I make a bit more than your average assistant but that's because I do a bit more than your average assistant.

    I didn't go to school for this and it's my second assistant job (the first doesn't really count).
     
  20. crazedACD

    crazedACD Active Member

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    I always enjoyed working at regular boarding kennels, but supervising daycare dogs kind of sucked, I agree. I like doing specific tasks all day, but just kind of sitting there observing and occasionally scooping poop was...less than entertaining.
     

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