For those who love animals, becoming a veterinary assistant is a popular career choice. While this may seem like a simple job upfront, there are certain skills that prospective workers need to succeed.
Whether you’re dealing with an aggressive animal or a grieving pet owner, there are many parts of the job that present challenges. So, how do you know if this career is right for you?
Here are the top veterinary assistant skills sought by employers and how they apply to the job.
Simply put, veterinary assistants need to be versatile and wear multiple hats. This is because they are responsible for the upkeep and operation of a vet’s office at the most fundamental levels. Ultimately, they not only help with the treatment of animals but also with cleaning, appointment scheduling, record keeping, lab testing, and more.
Some duties a veterinary assistant can expect to do on any given day include the following:
- Answering phones,
- Setting up appointments,
- Cleaning kennels and exam rooms,
- Prepping surgical tools,
- Assisting vets with procedures,
- Taking x-rays, and
- Updating medical records.
For this reason, adaptability is one of the most important skills for a veterinary assistant. Without the ability to switch between many different tasks, there is a risk of falling behind.
Being a vet assistant isn’t for the squeamish. Due to the nature of the job, vet assistants are often exposed to a variety of gross or uncomfortable situations. Infected wounds, blood, urine, diarrhea, and vomit are all common sights behind the scenes at a vet’s office.
While having an aversion to these things is completely normal, you may want to consider a different career if you believe they would negatively impact your ability to do the job. In addition, the Bureau of Labor Statistics states that vet assistants have one of the highest rates of on-the-job injuries and illnesses in the country. However, if you have a strong stomach and are fully dedicated to helping animals, this may be the career for you.
Administrative veterinary assistant skills on your resume may help you land jobs because they are just as important as any skill related to pet care. The main reason is that vet assistants are the face of any office. They are the first people that pet owners talk to when they bring their animals in.
As such, it’s important to make a great first impression. This means keeping records accurate, having a tidy front desk, and ensuring that tools are stored properly. All of these organizational efforts make it much easier to provide efficient, quality service.
Not all pets who receive treatment have a good prognosis. On any given day, vet assistants may encounter pet owners who are faced with the difficult choice of putting down their cherished dog or cat.
In these vulnerable moments, it is essential that the vet assistant does everything possible to accommodate bereaved families. Customer service, as well as a great deal of empathy, goes a long way in these situations as you help owners deal with their loss. Out of all skills to be a vet assistant, this is one of the most crucial.
5. Attention to Detail
In any medical setting, there are consequences to making simple mistakes. Although these mistakes might be interpreted as less serious in veterinary medicine than in human medicine, they generally are not. It is important to remember that pet owners are putting their trust in you.
To them, a pet is a family member, so it’s essential that you be as accurate as possible. This means double-checking the labels on lab samples, following pre and post-surgical protocols, and taking precise measurements. This commitment to getting the details right shows that you care about the animal’s well-being and demonstrates a level of professionalism that owners will appreciate.
Develop More Veterinary Assistant Skills Through Stratford’s Online Course
If you have a love for animals and are passionate about helping them, Stratford Career Institute’s veterinary assistant course may be the first step toward your new career. In this program, you’ll learn all of the basics of being a vet assistant, such as anatomy, physiology, surgical preparation, radiology, office procedures, client communication, and more.
Become a Veterinary Assistant
Stratford Career Institute offers an affordable online course that covers the key skills required to start and succeed in a career as a veterinary assistant.