Maryland, like most states in the country, offers a direct path for aspiring veterinary assistants. This ease of getting started in the field usually appeals massively to young people looking to find their way in the veterinary world. Unlike the fields of veterinary technology and veterinary medicine, the area of veterinary assistance does not require advanced degrees and may even require no academic training.
Below, we dive deep into the steps involved in becoming a veterinary assistant in Maryland, the possible educational alternatives, certification requirements, and potential salary, among other crucial pieces of information.
Steps to Become a Veterinary Assistant in Maryland
The following are the steps involved in becoming a veterinary assistant in Maryland.
1. Basic Prerequisites
The essential prerequisites for becoming a veterinary assistant in Maryland may vary based on the specific veterinary establishment a prospective veterinary assistant chooses to secure employment in and between training programs.
This is because the state of Maryland does not set an essential educational requirement but leaves it to potential employers and training institutions.
Currently, either of these institutions tends to ask candidates to have at least a high school diploma or a GED equivalent.
2. Academic Training
Veterinary assistants in Maryland do not have to acquire academic training from a college or vet school. However, most choose to do so anyway because it makes employment easier.
Additionally, training schools accredited by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) make it easier to become professionally certified – another optional but essential part of becoming a veterinary assistant.
3. On-the-Job Training
An aspiring veterinary assistant in Maryland can choose to work in an actual veterinary clinic without experience. This way, everything they learn about the occupation will be “on the job.”
Certification is also optional for veterinary assistants in Maryland but is usually quite substantial. Below are a few reasons for a veterinary assistant to consider becoming certified:
- A credentialed vet assistant can be more employable.
- Certified veterinary assistants have a competitive edge over those who are not.
- Certified vet assistants can access resources and training materials made available by the certifying body.
5. Networking & Professional Organizations
Veterinary assistants can further their careers by building a healthy network of professionals in the veterinary world. These connections come in handy when it’s time to seek better job opportunities and acquire new skills.
One of the best ways to network as a veterinary assistant is to join a professional organization like NAVTA.
Top Veterinary Assistant Schools in Maryland
The following are prominent destinations for academic training as an aspiring veterinary assistant in Maryland.
The Maryland Veterinary Medical Association approves Montgomery College’s veterinary assistant training. Located in Gaithersburg, this program includes five courses with classroom training and clinical practice.
Carroll Community College
Carroll Community College in Westminster is a NAVTA-approved veterinary assistant program known to produce successful veterinary assistants in the state. The school operates at a very high standard and allows students to become credentialed.
Harford Community College
Located in Bel Air, Harford Community College is another veterinary assistant training program in Maryland that is accredited by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America. Those who complete this program will also qualify for the AVA (Approved Veterinary Assistant) designation.
State Licensure & Certification Requirements
Certification for veterinary assistants in Maryland is entirely optional. Those who opt for an Approved Veterinary Assistant certification from NAVTA must apply for the AVA examination and get at least 75% of the questions correct to receive their credentials.
Upon graduation from an accredited program, those who graduate will receive their examination registration link. Those who do not meet this condition will have to acquire real-world experience and showcase proof of this to NAVTA before they can qualify to sit for the examination.
A NAVTA AVA credential must be renewed every two years through continuing education.
Salary and Career Outlook
An average veterinary assistant in Maryland earns around $40,004 yearly, the same as the national average. Now, it is possible to make above or below this figure depending on where a veterinary assistant falls about location, experience, credentials, and many other factors.
For this reason, vet assistants in the state can earn as much as $50,788 or as little as $31,510. Experienced vet assistants in Maryland with more than ten years of experience earn an annual average salary of $47,016, while those just starting to earn an average yearly salary of $37,902.
Sorting by location, Gaithersburg is the highest-paying city for veterinary assistants in Maryland, with an annual average salary of $47,403. Silver Spring and Glenelg follow with average yearly salaries of $44,980 and $43,370.
Veterinary assistants in Baltimore take home an annual average salary of $41,714.