Veterinary assistants make the life of veterinarians and veterinary technicians much easier by performing clerical work and patient care duties.
Some veterinary assistants obtain training on the job, even though attending an official training program is possible. Whether a veterinary assistant has to attend an authorized program is usually a function of which state they choose to practice.
For aspiring vet assistants in Massachusetts, there are a few things worth considering before proceeding. Below we look at some important topics to consider while discussing the best possible paths.
Steps To Become a Veterinary Assistant in Massachusetts
Since there are no basic educational requirements to get a job as a veterinary assistant in Massachusetts, most go through one of two paths - acquiring training on the job or attending a formal training program anyway.
We take a look at the peculiarities involved in both directions below.
On-the-job training offers a straightforward alternative for veterinary assistants who don’t want to spend time in a formal training program before they start earning. It should be noted, however, that even those who wish to acquire training on the job will still have to obtain a high-school diploma or GED.
Additionally, they may have to settle for lower pay, at least while they’re still being trained.
This path is an attractive alternative for those still deciding on a career in veterinary assistance but wishing to test out the waters anyway to determine if it’s for them.
Formal Training Program
Those who are committed to a veterinary assistance career or wish to work up to becoming a veterinary technician or veterinarian may start by enrolling in a formal vet assistance training program.
There is plenty of notable vet assistance training programs in Massachusetts. Still, something to keep in mind while you make your choice is the accreditation status of your preferred institution.
NAVTA - the National Association of Veterinary Technicians of America - is the main body responsible for the national accreditation of vet assistant programs. However, only about 50 NAVTA-approved vet assistance programs exist in the country.
Massachusetts State Licensure and Certification Requirements
Most people attend a NAVTA-approved program because it guarantees a base standard of educational quality but mostly because of its straightforward opportunity to become nationally certified.
The Approved Veterinary Assistant certification is the most coveted among vet assistants, and the most direct way to get it is to graduate from a program accrediting NAVTA. Those who meet this criterion will be given a unique code to register for the AVA exam on the VetMedTeam website.
The exam must be completed within 150 minutes, and candidates must achieve a passing score of at least 75% before the credential is awarded. They must also renew their certifications every two years to remain certified.
Top Veterinary Assistant Schools in Massachusetts
1. Worcester Technical High School
Worcester Technical High School is one of Massachusetts’s two NAVTA-approved veterinary assistant training programs. This means that program students can enjoy automatic qualification to sit for the AVA certification exam upon graduation.
The program also holds a low-cost clinic run by the Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. The program is reversed for high school students interested in a career as a veterinary assistant.
2. IVG Hospitals Veterinary Assistant Program
Massachusetts’s second NAVTA-approved vet assistant training program is the IVG Hospitals Veterinary Assistant Program. The vet hospitals in charge of the program are Boston West Veterinary Emergency and Specialty in Natick, Bulger Veterinary Hospital in North Andover, and Massachusetts Veterinary Referral Hospital in Woburn.
The best part about the program is that it can provide thorough classroom training and hands-on experience in a real clinical environment at the same time without having to depend on an externship to do so.
The program also prepares students for Approved Veterinary Assistant certification and future careers as veterinary technicians.
Massachusetts Veterinary Assistant Salary and Job Outlook
Veterinary assistants in Massachusetts earn an annual average salary of $43,462. This is around 13% above the national average. Those at the lower end of the salary spectrum still earn as much as $35,328, while those in the top ten percent take home an average salary of $53,470 annually.
Sorting strictly by experience, vet assistants in Massachusetts with less than a year of experience earn a mean annual salary of $41,178. In contrast, those with 3 to 5 years of experience earn an average yearly salary of $45,626. Those with more than ten years of experience working as vet assistants reach as high as $51,081 annually.