A veterinarian assistant works in animal hospitals and vet clinics, doing pet-related tasks, clerical work and clinical duties. An assistant works the front desk, assists the veterinarian during exams, and cleans surgical instruments and exam rooms. No formal education is required, but certain qualifications can give applicants an edge in the hiring process.
A veterinarian assistant usually must have a high school diploma or equivalent. Recommended courses include biology, algebra, bookkeeping and basic computer skills.
A veterinarian assistant must like animals and feel comfortable around a variety of pets, including dogs, cats, reptiles, birds, and small pets, such as rabbits and hamsters.
A veterinarian assistant also needs good office skills. It is common for an assistant to work in the reception area answering phones, scheduling appointments and greeting clients. Computer skills are important, as responsibilities often including updating pet records on the computer, and creating and printing invoices.
Good interpersonal skills are essential, as a veterinarian assistant works with many different clients. She may ask pre-exam questions about pet medical history, and answer questions from pet owners as well. She must be calm and compassionate during difficult situations.
It is important for a veterinary assistant not to be squeamish. An assistant may be taught to draw blood and to collect lab samples, and to do some assisting in surgery. She is also in charge of cleaning up any messes that pets make on the floor or exam table.
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