Veterinary assistants help veterinary establishments run smoothly by performing various clerical and slightly technical duties. To succeed, a vet assistant must have strong interpersonal and communication skills and basic mathematics skills.
Thanks to the limited technical ability needed on the job, it is optional for veterinary assistants in New Jersey to attend a formal technical program.
Still, there are a few important factors to consider before you decide to pursue a career in the field. Questions such as the certification and licensing requirements, potential salary, and job outlook must be answered with utmost clarity. And that is exactly what we do in the following sections.
Steps To Become a Veterinary Assistant in New Jersey
Basic Education Requirements
Like most states, New Jersey has no law demanding all vet assistants obtain formal education before they can seek employment. Instead, professionals in the field do this of their own accord.
It is also quite popular for veterinary assistants to learn the job fundamentals while working. And yes, as we’ll see below, even those who begin their careers this way may go on to obtain certification and earn a higher salary.
Furthermore, despite no base educational requirements, employers have the prerogative to ask for a high school diploma or GED before hiring vet assistants.
Veterinary assistant training programs teach aspiring veterinary assistants everything they need to know to enjoy a successful career. Even though individuals can seek employment without it, most people still choose to obtain formal education as veterinary assistants for a couple of reasons.
First, it offers an easier path to securing employment because employers tend to gravitate more toward trained veterinary assistants than those who would have to be trained on the job.
Secondly, graduating from a training program, especially a NAVTA-approved program, tends to qualify graduates for certification and a higher salary.
When choosing a training program for veterinary assistants, there are always a few things to look out for, such as the quality of education, instructors, facilities, and the degree or certification on offer. And while these are very important, most people give more weight to accreditation.
This is often because accreditation bodies usually hold schools and programs to a higher standard they must meet before they’re approved.
Accreditation in veterinary assistance is a relatively new phenomenon. Still, since 2010, NAVTA, the National Association of Veterinary Technicians of America, has been responsible for accrediting veterinary assistant programs.
New Jersey State Licensure and Certification Requirements
Veterinary assistance students usually seek to attend a NAVTA-approved institution not only because it is a proof of quality but also because it qualifies them to sit for a certification examination once they graduate. Of course, The certification in question is the Approved Veterinary Assistant (AVA) certification.
Graduates of NAVTA-approved programs are issued a code upon graduation, with which they must register online and pass the 100-question certification exam with a score of no less than 75%.
Candidates who pass the above stage will be officially certified. However, remember that certification is only valid for two years and must be renewed through continuing education.
Top Veterinary Assistant Schools in New Jersey
1. Ocean County College
Aspiring veterinary assistants in New Jersey may consider Ocean County College in Toms River. The school has an impressive training program that lasts 20 weeks and offers weekend training.
2. Mercer County Community College
Mercer County Community College is another noteworthy alternative for aspiring veterinary assistants in New Jersey. The school’s vet assistant program is divided into four modules that take a month to complete.
3. Bergen County Technical Schools and Morris County Vocational School District
Lastly, high school students in New Jersey who would love a career as vet assistants may consider the programs at either Bergen County Technical Schools or Morris County Vocational School District.
New Jersey Veterinary Assistant Salary and Job Outlook
As a veterinary assistant in New Jersey, you will earn an annual average salary of $39,339 throughout your career. You may have to start lower at around $31,359 per year, which is the average yearly salary for those in the lower ten percent.
As you progress, you earn more and may get as high as $49,348, the annual average salary for those in the state’s top 10% of earners.
Based solely on experience, vet assistants in New Jersey with less than a year of experience earn an annual average salary of $37,271, while those with 3 to 5 years earn an average of $41,297 per year.
The average salary for vet assistants in New Jersey with more than ten years of experience is $46,234 per year.