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How long do vet assistant courses take?

With the responsibility of supporting the wellbeing of pets and wildlife, the role of a Vet Assistant is not your typical day job. This hands-on position allows you to really make a difference in the lives of animals and their owners. You’ll be a key player in supporting the healthcare of our furry friends, and no two days will ever be the same. 

In order to be prepared for this world, it’s essential to understand the processes, procedures and administration involved in running a veterinary practice. A vet assistant course is a wonderful first step into this world, but you may be wondering what kind of commitment to expect when completing animal care courses online and overall how long it takes to study a Vet Assistant course. 

Let’s have a look at what being a Vet Assistant entails and what you can expect from a course of study in this area of animal care.

What does a vet assistant do?

A vet assistant plays a significant role at a veterinary practice or animal shelter, helping the establishment to function efficiently whilst providing the animals with a great quality of care. They are responsible for many aspects of the animals’ wellbeing and ensure all their needs are met, including feeding, bathing, and exercising the animals. 

Vet assistants are also responsible for maintaining and sterilising surgical instruments and equipment; cleaning and disinfecting cages, kennels, and examination and operating rooms; and keeping important areas of veterinary medicine sanitised to reduce the spread of infection. 

They may also assist the vet by restraining animals during examination and laboratory procedures, as well as monitoring and caring for animals post-surgery too, in addition to being responsible for collecting blood, urine, and tissue samples. Likewise, as the first person to meet pet owners and the animals themselves as they arrive at the shelter or practice, vet assistants may be required to help provide emergency first aid to sick and injured animals.

Why study a vet assistant course?

A vet assistant plays an important role within pet and wildlife healthcare. Their fundamental role with caring for animals in the veterinary hospital or clinic means vet assistants will always be in high demand. 

However, there are many pros and cons to the role that should be considered when looking into further study in this area. This role requires individuals who not only have a passion for animals, but who also are good communicators with others, emotionally resilient, patient and dedicated. The hours can be long and owners can be emotional when bringing their pet to be examined, so a great bedside manner and empathy is a must. 

Despite these demands, there are few jobs that provide the same sense of purpose as this career does. You will be making a difference to the lives of animals each day, and may even support in preserving the lives of our animal companions.

Vet assistant course infographic

What will I study?

The syllabus for our vet assistant courses varies depending on whether you specialise in wildlife assistance or traditional veterinary assistance. 

However the foundation for both courses is the same: animal healthcare. The basics of looking after animals in your care, an introduction to the faculties and admin management of the clinic/hospital, in addition to occupational health & safety – all of which lay the groundwork for day-to-day life as a vet assistant. 

Not only that, you’ll also learn how to recognise the signs of poor health in animals as well as symptoms of diseases and how to treat them too. Learning how to understand animal behaviour is essential as a vet assistant, as you’ll need to know how to correctly rehabilitate animals after their medical procedure or treatment. 

The second part of the syllabus diverges for wildlife vet assistants, as they will take a closer look at wildlife sustainability and conservation. In contrast, vet assistant students take a deep dive into common diseases they will encounter in animals when practising within veterinary clinics.

How long does study take?

This study includes a variety of learning formats including ebooks, self-assessment tests and assignments. The vet assistant course itself with Learning Online comprises 200 hours of study. 

However, you won’t be expected to complete your studies in one sitting. You will have access to the course materials 24/7 and tutors on hand six days per week, meaning you can easily fit in study around a full time job if you need. Alternatively, you can study alongside a part time job or study full time if that option is available to you.

How long study takes will depend on your own particular circumstances and commitments, which is why online study is such a wonderful option. You can study at your own pace, with a time and financial undertaking that works for you. If you are working full time a realistic aim may be 10-12 hours study per week, depending on how demanding your current job is. 

At this rate of study per week, or a little lower, the course would take anything from just over 3 months to approximately 6 months to complete. 

But you really couldn’t spend your free time in any better way; by dedicating this time to increasing your knowledge and expertise in an area you feel passionate about, you will be opening many doors for your future working with animals!

Vet assistant role infographic

Employment outcomes

Having learned the basics of being a veterinary assistant with our courses, you’ll have a wealth of new knowledge at your fingertips and you’ll demonstrate your dedication to this career path to potential employers. 

You can choose to work in animal hospitals and veterinary clinics, where you’ll have even more room to learn as well as grow and advance your career. Alternatively, you could also go into roles in animal shelters or pivot and take a related path in veterinary nursing, animal behaviour or welfare studies, once you’ve had some real-life exposure to working with animals.

On average, from assuming an entry level position you can expect to earn approximately

Future opportunities

The pet and animal care industry only continues to grow in popularity and professional opportunities, meaning you can choose to forge a deeply rewarding career in this industry. Research reports that despite the impact of the pandemic, demand for veterinary services has continued to rise over the past 5 years, with pet insurance likewise on the uptake. 

Moving forwards, you may decide to continue to up-skill in this area and move into veterinary nursing, complete an advanced vet course, or perhaps branch into another specialism of animal welfare or behaviour studies. The possibilities are endless!

There you have it, our top reasons why you should study a vet assistant course! If you have the passion, resilience, communication and technical skills needed to become a vet assistant and are interested in further study, then look no further!

You can explore our full range of wildlife & animal care courses, or feel free to reach out and get in touch to discuss your career goals with our friendly team. We’d be more than happy to help answer any questions you may have, and help you to create a plan of action to tackle your studies and step into a career you find truly fulfilling.

Take a look through our catalogue of animal care online learning courses and take the first step in building the career of your dreams today!


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