Veterinary assistants are a crucial part of any veterinary team. Along with veterinary doctors and technicians, they are responsible for bringing joy into the lives of numerous pet owners nationwide.
In addition, veterinary assistants also enjoy a reasonable salary and the possibility of furthering their careers by upgrading to other advanced veterinary and healthcare professions.
To begin a career as a veterinary assistant in Connecticut, there are a few things you need to know, such as the available options to kickstart your job, the best training programs to enroll in, and certification and licensing requirements.
We discuss all of these topics and more in the sections below.
Steps To Become a Veterinary Assistant in Connecticut
Basic Education Requirements
Like most states, Connecticut has no law requiring a base level of education for veterinary assistants. This means that technically anyone is allowed to work as one.
Most people obtain their training on the job if they can secure employment. It is advisable to possess at least a diploma from high school or GED to become more employable.
It doesn’t hurt to complete a formal training program to become even more hirable. Luckily, there is no shortage of schools and institutions where you can train as a veterinary assistant and graduate in only a few months.
While Connecticut boasts of a handful of high-quality institutions where students can train to become veterinary assistants, only one of these programs is approved by NAVTA.
Does NAVTA approval matter? Well, it depends on what you’re trying to achieve. NAVTA accreditation makes it easier for graduates to become credentialed after completing a vet assistant program.
But again, certification, or any level of education, is not mandated by the state. For this reason, any of the schools and programs on the list below should be more than enough to provide solid training for aspiring veterinary assistants in Connecticut.
Top Veterinary Assistant Schools in Connecticut
Below is a list of some of Connecticut’s most notable veterinary assistant training schools.
1. Manchester Community College
Manchester Community College is one of the premier destinations for aspiring veterinary associates in Connecticut. It offers one of the few NAVTA-approved vet assistant training programs in the country and the only one in Connecticut.
The program lasts two semesters, including 160 hours of classroom training and 60 hours of hands-on internship.
Students learn how to work with animals, operate radiology and diagnostic imaging machines, perform office procedures, and acquire various other related problem-solving skills.
2. Penn Foster College
Penn Foster College offers an alternative for aspiring veterinary assistants in Connecticut looking for another NAVTA-approved institution. With $900 in tuition, students are instructed on key topics in veterinary assistance, such as animal behavior, medical terminology, preparing animals for surgery, animal handling, restraint, and radiology.
The program lasts seven months, including eight weeks reserved for hands-on training at a veterinary practice.
Being NAVTA-approved, graduates of Penn Foster automatically qualify for the national certification exam to become Approved Veterinary Assistants.
Connecticut State Licensure and Certification Requirement
As highlighted above, the state does not mandate certification – or any level of education. However, it is advisable, as it makes employment seeking a lot easier and may qualify candidates for a higher salary package.
The Approved Veterinary Assistant (AVA) credential remains Connecticut’s most popular alternative for vet assistants.
Those who graduate from a NAVTA-approved institution can simply apply for the AVA exam online once they graduate.
The exam consists of 100 questions to complete in 150 minutes. To pass, students must obtain a score of at least 65 percent.
This certification is only valid for two years, after which it must be renewed through hours of continuing education that involves online materials, seminars, and workshops, among others.
Connecticut Veterinary Assistant Salary and Job Outlook
The average yearly salary for veterinary assistants in Connecticut is $41,202. Of course, earning above or below this figure is possible, and for entry-level vet assistants, making below is usually the case.
Those who fall into this category usually earn at least $33,369, while those who have spent significant time on the job may earn as high as $50,872 every year. But experience is one of many factors that must be optimized to reach this figure.
Much of it also comes down to the particular veterinary practice you work in and its location in the state.
Vet assistants in Stamford, for instance, earn an annual average of $44,310, while those in Middletown make a yearly average of $43,543.
Based solely on experience, vet assistants in Connecticut with less than one year earn an average of $39,036 annually, while those with 3 to 5 years earn $43,253 annually.
The average salary for Veterinary Assistants aged 6 to 9 years in Connecticut is $46,078 annually.