One of the most appealing aspects of becoming a veterinary assistant in Arkansas is that the path from beginning to end is as smooth and straightforward as possible. Within months, you can decide to become a vet assistant and secure employment in a respectable vet clinic.
The process is even more straightforward when you know exactly what steps to consider. To that end, we have provided below a comprehensive guide containing every important aspect of becoming a veterinary assistant in Arkansas.
We have included a few sections examining the potential salary you can look forward to and the job outlook for the next ten years.
Steps To Become a Veterinary Assistant in Arkansas
The first thing to consider when starting a career in any profession is the level of formal education required. For veterinary assistants in Arkansas, there are no educational requirements or at least none mandated by law.
This means that aspiring vet assistants in the States can apply and learn their duties on the job. Most employers consider candidates with a high school diploma or GED.
And, to begin even more hirable, it is possible to enroll in a training program, become certified, and even translate your credentials into higher pay.
For those looking to pursue a career as a veterinary assistant, even though there are no mandatory requirements, enrolling in a NAVTA-approved program is usually advisable. This is because doing so paves the way for obtaining even higher credentials in the field.
Sadly, NAVTA accreditation is relatively new, having only been introduced in 2010. Currently, there are no NAVTA-accredited veterinary schools in Arkansas. As we’ll see below, however, becoming certified as a vet assistant is still possible even without attending an accredited program.
Top Veterinary Assistant Schools in Arkansas
Regardless of accreditation status, getting educated at a vet assistant school is still a good idea. Below are some of the top training programs to consider for residents of Arkansas.
1. Petra Allied Health
With Springdale and Fort Smith campuses, Petra Allied Health offers convenience and flexibility for aspiring vet assistants in Arkansas. The program comprises 72 credit hours and can be completed in two months.
Much time is spent in the classroom, but the school also makes provisions for students to receive hands-on training through an externship.
Topics of focus include basic anatomy, animal restraining, wound bandaging, and surgical preparation.
2. Penn Foster College
Penn Foster College is a popular option for individuals in states with only a handful of NAVTA-approved programs for veterinary assistants. Thanks to the school’s online program, students can effectively acquire all the knowledge they’ll need to practice successfully and become certified once they’re done.
The program is also incredibly comprehensive, lasting seven months and incorporating an 8-week externship to provide more hands-on training and real-world clinical experience.
Among the topics of emphasis in Penn Foster’s vet assistant program are animal behavior, radiology wound care, surgical preparation, lathe animal nursing, and medical terminology.
Arkansas State Licensure and Certification Requirements
As mentioned earlier, one of the benefits of attending a NAVTA-approved vet assistant program is that once students graduate, they qualify to sit for the Approved Veterinary Assistant (AVA) certification. This credential is valid for two years and must be renewed through continued education.
Students in Arkansas can still become Approved Veterinary Assistants even though the state doesn’t technically have any NAVTA-approved institution. They can do so by enrolling in an online program or going through the experiential learner route, wherein they obtain training on the job and log at least 20 hours a week performing veterinary assistant duties.
Arkansas Veterinary Assistant Salary and Job Outlook
A veterinary assistant in Arkansas can look forward to earning an annual average salary of $32,754. This figure can be lower or higher depending on a host of factors.
Those on the higher end of the spectrum may earn as high as $40,841, while those still starting may make an annual average salary of $26,269.
Experience is a major factor in determining a veterinary assistant’s salary range in Arkansas. Another important factor is location.
Vet assistants in North Little Rock earn an annual average salary of $36,484, the highest in the state, while those in Springdale earn an average of $34,905 annually. The cities of Little Rock and Fort Smith offer the highest average salaries in the state, with $34,674 and $33,757 per year, respectively.