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The vet assistant lowdown: what do they do and how much do they make?

Do pets melt your heart? Does the thought of working with four-legged furry friends all day make you smile wider than a Cheshire cat? Then you may be excited at the prospect of a career with wildlife and animals as a Vet Assistant!

You might have even considered becoming a Veterinarian before, which demands years of tough medical school training (which isn’t for everyone!) But did you know there are veterinary support roles that are much more accessible and involve lots of hands-on time with cute and cuddly animals – just like a Vet Assistant?

The role of the assistant is an exciting and rewarding one. It’s also the perfect starting point for a dream career within the animal care industry. So if you want to make a real difference to the lives of animals and their owners, this may be the ideal role for you.

Let’s start by getting the lowdown on what this role entails.

What does a Vet Assistant do?

The role of the assistant is a varied and fulfilling one, and an essential part of a busy animal practice. Some assistants like to work within larger specialist practices that treat unique cases, while others enjoy small veterinarian clinics with regular local customers. It’s also an option to choose to work in a city or rural-based clinic. Wherever you work, one aspect remains the same; every day as an assistant is unique. A busy practice treats animals of all shapes and sizes, with a whole variety of issues, that come through the doors!

Working under the supervision of a Veterinarian or Veterinary nurse, assistants provide vital support to the practice. Here are some of the duties that you could perform as an assistant:

  • Interact with animals, staff and owners to determine care plans for pets or wildlife
  • Generally caring for animals in the clinic: feeding, cleaning, comforting, administering drugs and documenting their treatment
  • Monitoring and caring for animals after their surgery
  • Collecting samples such as blood, urine, or tissue and sending off for testing
  • Train pet parents in drug administration and post-procedure care
  • Helping with emergency cases, administering first aid to sick or injured animals
  • Keeping and updating an inventory of equipment and medications
  • Office duties, such as correspondence, answering the phone and greeting pets and their owners on arrival
  • Maintenance of the practice, such as cleaning and sterilising consultation rooms, cages, kennels, equipment and surgeries

What makes a great Vet Assistant?

Good Veterinary Care Assistants come from all walks of life. But there are a few key skills that lend themselves to being a successful assistant.

  1. Communication – you’ll be working as part of a close-knit team and with pet owners, essentially acting as the face of the practice. Being warm, open and responsive in your communication will provide vital assistance to your team. Listening carefully to pet owners’ questions and concerns will reassure them that their animals are in good hands.
  2. Organisation – with such a varied workload, Veterinary Assistants will need to flex their multitasking skills with planning, scheduling, coordinating and keeping things clean and tidy. This will go a long way to ensuring the clinic runs smoothly and the animals are well cared for.
  3. Empathy – the best animal professionals know how to soothe and calm animals, meaning they will be in a safer manner to handle and treat. This can extend to deal with pet owners too, who are often worried or upset if their pets are unwell. Being able to sympathise and console, by putting yourself in their shoes, will make you a great assistant.
  4. Get Technical – hospitals and clinics work closely with modern machinery and lab equipment to provide the best care for their animals. As a Vet Assistant, it’s essential to be competent using these technologies, as Vet clinic software holds important medical records and client contact information.
  5. Passion – above all, the best assistant is always passionate about animal welfare!

How much does a Vet Assistant make per hour?

Vet Assistant salaries can depend on a variety of factors such as location, practice size and your level of experience. As a rough guide, a Vet Assistant can expect to earn between $19 and $25 AUD an hour.

How do I become a Vet Assistant?

Though no formal qualifications are required to pursue a career as a Vet Assistant, it is recommended that you have some experience with animal care and Veterinary procedures in order to become a desired candidate. 

The best way to get experience? Animal Care Courses! Our online Animal Care Courses are the ideal starting point for anyone who is looking to work with animals on a professional level. That’s because they offer a number of key features:

  • Flexible payment options – with an interest-free payment plan of just $20 – $30 per week. Or you can take advantage of our discount for upfront payment
  • On your own time – with access to your course online 24/7, you study when it suits your schedule! 
  • Support all the way – you’ll feel clued-up and confident with our full tutor support. Just because you are studying online, doesn’t mean you are studying alone! We have tutors available over the phone and via email 6 days a week
  • On the right track – our certificate is accredited, to help you take those essential steps to secure entry-level employment

We designed our Vet Assistant Certificate specifically for people like you – who are passionate and enthusiastic about animals and want to learn how to jumpstart their career.

Here’s what you’ll discover:

  • Our course starts you off with the fundamentals of what working in a Veterinary clinic is like
  • You’ll learn the key Veterinary processes, procedures and even veterinary administration
  • You will be trained to productively interact with clients, handle pets and all the technical skills needed to run a practice efficiently 
  • You’ll master skills to help pets and pet owners have a positive experience every time they visit the clinic

After gaining experience as an assistant, many go on to complete a Vet Nurse Certificate and progress up the industry ladder. The sky’s the limit, so start studying your Vet Assistant Certificate today and propel yourself towards the future you have always wanted. Plus you’ll have the cutest and furriest work buddies around, with a career in the veterinary industry! 


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