One of the main characteristics that a veterinary assistant should have is compassion for animals. Veterinary assistant’s salary is around 25,000 USD on average. These assistants are usually not required to have some formal education; instead, it is more important to have some experience working with animals or to show aptitude. They are usually paid lower than others within their industry, but it is not only financial compensation that is often looked at for those who genuinely care for the animals. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics also noted that there is an expected 14% growth in the demand for veterinary assistants in the period of 2010 to 2020. This is just as fast as the average growth for all other professions in the country. Read more about veterinary assistant salary.
Veterinary assistant job description
A regular day for a veterinary assistant usually includes maintaining and sterilizing instruments and equipment used for animal surgery as well as monitoring and caring for animals post-surgery. It is also their job to clean and completely disinfect kennels, cages, operating rooms, and examining rooms. When necessary, a veterinary assistant has to provide first aid to any injured or sick animals. After the veterinarian gives the prescription, the assistant should give immunizations or medication. A veterinary assistant also has to attend to the animal laboratory tests and help them go through with it. As a part of maintaining the health and welfare of the animals, the assistant has to feed and bathe them regularly. For testing purposes, a veterinary assistant also needs to gather animal samples, such as tissue, blood or urine.
How much does a veterinary assistant make a year ?
Average veterinary assistant salary
The average veterinary assistant’s salary in the US is $24,740, while the average wage is around $11.90, according to the Occupational Employment and Wages report by the BLS.
Veterinary assistant salary in the USA
In the US, the veterinary assistant’s salary is around $17,313 to $31,098, with PayScale citing the median salary to be around $21,687. These assistants are paid an hourly rate of $8.27 to $14.12, an overtime pay of $12.06 to $21.46, and a bonus of up to $478.11.
A veterinary assistant with less than a year’s experience usually earns $7.78 to $12.21 per hour, while someone with a bit more experience than that at one to four years makes $8.20 to $12.77 an hour. An assistant with five to nine years and 10 to 19 years of experience take home an hourly pay of $8.79 to $14.83 and $9.17 to $16.75, respectively. Someone with over two decades’ worth of experience earn more at $8.25 to $18.75 per hour.
The veterinary assistant salary is also based on the industry that they are employed in. PayScale reported that hospitals pay more at around $8.50 to $15 per hour, while veterinary care and animal shelters only pay assistants $8.31 to $13.95 and $7.57 to $9.92 an hour, respectively.
Gender-wise, the veterinary assistant salary for a male professional is higher. According to PayScale, a male veterinary assistant earns more at around $8.40 to $16.51. On the other hand, a female assistant only makes about $8.20 to $13.94 an hour.
According to the BLS, the top paying industries in 2012 is led by the local government, which paid a veterinary assistant’s salary of around $39,290. The pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing industry followed in second place, with an average annual pay of $35,390. The general medical and surgical hospitals also made it to the list with an average veterinary assistant salary of around $34,780. The other two industries in the list are colleges, universities, and professional schools, which pay $32,310, and the scientific research and development services industry, which pays a veterinary assistant’s salary of $31,170. Compare veterinary assistant salary with veterinarian salary.
Veterinary assistant salary by state
The top paying states in the US, based on the BLS report as of May 2012, are listed with Massachusetts on top, with an average veterinary assistant’s salary of $32,040. Delaware snatched second place, with an annual pay of $31,450, followed by Maine, with a yearly pay of $30,140. Connecticut and Alaska are also included in the list, with a veterinarian assistant’s salary of $29,970 and $29,330, respectively.
Veterinary assistant salary in Canada
In Canada, the veterinary assistant’s salary ranges between C$21,188 and C$34,863. Their hourly wage is also between C$10.09 and C$16.53 with an overtime pay of C$5.60 to C$21.71 and a bonus that may be as high as C$1,014 for some assistants.
Based on experience, the veterinary assistant’s salary also varies. On a per hour basis, veterinary assistants with one to four years’ experience make C$9.98 to C$13.79. An assistant with five to nine years’ experience earns C$14.37 to C$16.29 per hour, while one with 10 to 19 years in the field takes home around C$13.87 to C$18.70 an hour.
Location is another determinant of a veterinary assistant’s salary. In Ontario, veterinary assistants make C$10.20 to C$15.64 per hour, while those in British Columbia earn around C$10.22 to C$14.94.
Veterinary assistant salary in Australia
The veterinary assistant salary in Australia ranges between AU$37,305 and AU$50,579. Since this type of assistant is also considered as a veterinary nurse in Australia, their salary can also be compared to that of the latter. A veterinary nurse makes around AU$32,753 to AU$51,380 per year.
Veterinary assistant salary in the UK
The median veterinary assistant’s salary for those working in the UK is around £23,541. An entry level position pays a median salary of £18,849.
Veterinary assistant salary in South Africa
According to PayScale, the median veterinary assistant salary in South Africa is R32,399.
Certified veterinary assistant salary
A certified veterinary assistant at an entry-level position earns around $20,600 to $30,700 a year. Those who choose to stay longer in the field, about one to four years, take home a veterinary assistant salary of around $21,600 to $32,800. Veterinary assistants with more than 20 years of experience make around $30,500 to $41,400 a year.
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How to become a veterinary assistant
To become a veterinary assistant, there is actually no postsecondary education requirement. However, applicants who hold a high school diploma or a GED would have more advantage over those who don’t. Veterinary assistants are usually trained on the job, although applicants with previous experience with animals are preferred by most employers. Certifications are provided by the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) and they come in three levels – assistant laboratory animal technician or ALAT, laboratory animal technician or LAT, and laboratory animal technologist or LATG. Some employers may not require certification, but this allows veterinary assistants to show competency in various areas, such as animal health and welfare, facility administration and management, or animal husbandry. To be certified, one has to pass the AALAS exam and gain some work experience.
Conclusion about veterinary assistant salary
The mean veterinary assistant salary, according to BLS, is around $24,470, while the mean wage is $11.90. The top 10% makes more than $35,510, while the lowest 10% earns less than $17,150 a year.