A career as a veterinary assistant can be a valuable stepping stone to other more advanced fields in the medical industry. Not only does it give you a chance to get familiar with how things function in a medical establishment and how it feels to work as part of a veterinary team, but you also get rewarded for your efforts with a handsome salary.
Suppose you would like to know more about what it takes to become a veterinary assistant in Florida and the steps required to secure employment in a respected veterinary establishment. In that case, you have come to the right place.
Below, you’ll find detailed answers to all key areas of consideration, such as noteworthy programs, certification requirements, and many more.
Steps To Become a Veterinary Assistant in Florida
Florida, like most states, has no educational requirements for veterinary assistants in the state. Vet assistants in Florida who attend a formal training program only do so because they want to and because, as we’ll see below, there are a few benefits that have nothing to do with legal mandates.
Because Florida has no legal requirements for veterinary assistants to graduate from a training program, aspiring vet assistants have the luxury of obtaining their training while learning on the job.
An advantage of these is that they get to learn and earn at the same time. Of course, even though the law doesn’t require formal training, employers can set their standards.
And most do by requiring, at the very least, a high school diploma or GED equivalent.
Veterinary assistants enroll in training programs because it gives them a solid theoretical foundation to acquire more skills and makes them more employable.
The body accrediting veterinary assistants is the National Association of Veterinary Technicians of America). NAVTA accreditation of vet assistant programs is a relatively new phenomenon; as such, there are only a few NAVTA-approved institutions in the country.
Of course, candidates may also apply for programs that aren’t NAVTA approved but offer the same level of quality in terms of the comprehensiveness of their coursework.
Top Veterinary Assistant Schools in Florida
Below are some top veterinary assistant training programs to consider for Florida residents.
1. Westside Campus of Orange Technical College
Westside Campus of Orange Technical College boasts a solid three-course program for veterinary assistants in training. This includes Animal Care Giver, Kennel Tech, and Veterinary Assistant.
The program also offers a convenient entry with very few requirements. The only condition set by the program as a prerequisite is that candidates must be able to read at a ninth-grade level.
To graduate, candidates must pass the first two courses with an 80% minimum score and simultaneously complete an externship program while taking the last course.
2. Animal Behavior College
Animal Behavior College offers students nationwide the opportunity to become certified as veterinary technicians by attending a NAVTA-approved program online. The school is notable for its comprehensive coursework and its flexibility.
Among key topics in the veterinary assistant program include small and large animal nursing, radiology, animal nutrition, body systems, physical examination, animal restraint, and surgical preparation.
3. Other Notable Mentions
Other notable vet assistant programs in Florida include Marion County Community Technical and Adult Education Center in Ocala and Suncoast Technical College in Sarasota.
Florida State Licensure and Certification Requirements
Most States, including Florida, have no educational or licensing requirements for their veterinary assistants. The only credential that matters is the Approved Veterinary Assistant (AVA) credential available to those who graduated from a NAVTA-approved institution.
Those in this category can apply for the examination and complete it online. To pass, they must score at least 75%.
Those who don’t fulfill this requirement can also become Approved Veterinary Assistants through the externship or experiential learner route, wherein they have to practice as veterinary assistants for 20 hours weekly.
Florida Veterinary Assistant Salary and Job Outlook
Florida veterinary assistants earn an annual average salary of $34,704. Those who fall in the top ten percent of earners in the field earn an average yearly salary of $44,496, while those who fall into the bottom ten percent still earn at least $27,066 yearly.
Factors influencing how much a veterinary assistant earns in Florida include the type of establishment/veterinary practice they work in, their experience level, certification status, and location.
Veterinary assistants in Miami earn the highest annual average in the state, with a salary of $39,113 per year. Those in Coral Springs follow with an average yearly salary of $37,142.
Boca Raton, Tampa, and Melbourne are the highest-paying cities in Florida for veterinary assistants, with annual average salaries of $36,522, $35,079, and $34,941, respectively.