If you’ve ever been to a veterinary clinic in Missouri, you have likely encountered a veterinary assistant. Usually, they have smiling faces who welcome you to the establishment, listen patiently to your concerns, and offer comfort to you and your pets.
Anyone in Missouri with a passion for animals would consider a career as a veterinary assistant. It is pretty easy to get started in the profession, and within a few years, the job opens up opportunities for career advancement and a better salary.
To help you get started, we have provided the guide below containing every crucial piece of information that you need to know to start your journey as an aspiring vet assistant in Missouri.
Steps to Become a Veterinary Assistant in Missouri
Below are the critical steps involved in becoming a veterinarian assistant in Missouri.
All aspiring veterinary assistants in Missouri are advised to possess a high school diploma or an equivalent GED. This will be helpful to secure admission into training programs.
Veterinary assistants in Missouri may receive their education by attending an academic program or applying for training on the job. While academic training is not mandated by law, it can be a very proficient approach thanks to the following benefits:
- Academic training programs offer certificates, which may make it easier to secure employment.
- Academic training programs also focus extensively on critical veterinary assistant skills that will be handy on the job.
- Lastly, these programs may offer a straightforward route to becoming certified — especially if accredited by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA).
As for the option to acquire training on the job, this can also be beneficial as it allows candidates to learn under veterinary technicians and veterinarians.
Certification and Professional Organization
Professional organizations like the National Association for Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) have a nationally recognized credential for veterinary assistants to set themselves apart and prove their expertise to potential employers.
For those seeking NAVTA certification, the most suitable alternative for a fresh vet assistant in Missouri is the Approved Veterinary Assistant (AVA) credential. We look at the requirements for obtaining one in the upcoming section.
Networking and Continuing Education
Even after becoming a practicing veterinary assistant in Missouri, professionals should keep improving by networking with other professionals in the field and pursuing continuing education credits.
State Licensure & Certification Requirements
Aspiring veterinary assistants in Missouri may pursue any of the two certification options below, although none of them is compulsory.
CVA from MVMA
The Missouri Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA) offers online training for veterinary assistants in the state. Completing this program will lead to obtaining a Certified Veterinary Assistant (CVA) credential.
Students will learn valuable skills and the roles of veterinary assistants in veterinary offices. Typically, employers pay part of the training fee.
To qualify, candidates must have 90 days of experience working under a vet or vet tech. They must also demonstrate hands-on skills and complete their certification exam before being awarded their CVA certification.
AVA From NAVTA
To obtain an Approved Veterinary Assistant (AVA) credential from NAVTA, an aspiring veterinary assistant in Missouri must attend a NAVTA-approved training institution. Below, we take a look at a few programs in the state that fulfill this requirement.
Alternatively, those who graduate from non-NAVTA-approved institutions may pursue their AVA credentials by simply working in a veterinary clinic and meeting the experience requirements.
Lastly, candidates who pursue this certification must be prepared to pay a $100 application fee and a $10 renewal fee every two years. They must also score at least 75% in the examination and complete 10 continuing education credits every two years.
Top Veterinary Assistant Schools in Missouri
An aspiring veterinary assistant in Missouri may consider the programs below for top-class training in the state.
Apart from the online program offered by the MVMA, aspiring veterinary assistants in Missouri may also consider the veterinary assistant associate program at Midwest Institute.
Based in Fenton, Midwest Institute is a private college accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools.
Penn Foster College
Penn Foster College is one of the few NAVTA-accredited online training programs for veterinary assistants. The program is highly flexible and comprehensive. Those who graduate have an easy path to pursue their Approved Veterinary Assistant credential.
Salary and Career Outlook
An aspiring veterinary assistant in Missouri can look forward to earning an annual average salary of $35,118 – a figure that is basically in line with the national average. As with most places, location and experience greatly influence how much a veterinary assistant will earn in Missouri.
Those favored by these factors earn as high as $42,215, while those on the less favorable end will likely take home an average salary of around $29,215 annually.
Branson is the highest paying city to be a veterinary assistant in Missouri, with an annual average salary of $37,602.
Vet assistants in Saint Louis, Jefferson City, Blue Springs, and Columbia complete the top five with annual average salaries of $37,154, $36,255, $34,532, and $33,687, respectively.