Veterinary assistants bridge the gap between veterinarians and pet owners. Through the course of a single day in a veterinary establishment, there are so many clinical and administrative tasks that have to be effectively taken care of that veterinarians and veterinary technicians cannot do it alone.
For this reason, veterinary assistants are often regarded as being just as necessary to the functioning of a veterinary establishment as other crucial staff.
For their rewards, veterinary assistants in North Carolina enjoy a consistent stream of demand for their services, a reasonable salary, and, most importantly, an opportunity to leverage their experience to advance their careers and move on to more profound roles in the industry.
Steps to Become a Veterinary Assistant in North Carolina
Interested individuals must consider the essential requirements below to become a veterinary assistant in North Carolina.
High School Diploma/GED
The first key requirement to consider when starting a career as a veterinary assistant in North Carolina is the high school diploma and GED requirement. Usually, training institutions and employers will refuse to offer admission or employment to candidates who do not possess at least one of these credentials.
Formal Academic Training
Once the above requirement is fulfilled, the next step for an aspiring veterinary assistant in North Carolina is to obtain training from an academic institution. Now, academic training is optional, and several veterinary assistants in the state start their careers without getting academic training.
However, those who acquire training from academic programs – particularly NAVTA-approved ones – do so because these programs offer benefits, including more accessible employment, higher pay, and job growth.
NAVTA accreditation is essential when choosing a vet assistant training program because it helps pave a direct path to certification. Upon graduation, candidates who attend a NAVTA-accredited school will receive a link to apply for their Approved Veterinary Assistant credential exam.
By obtaining a 75% passing score in this 80-question exam, they will be given their official AVA certification, which will help immensely in securing employment, getting a higher salary, and furthering their careers.
Lastly, instead of enrolling in an academic program, aspiring veterinary assistants in North Carolina may kick-start their careers by simply applying for “on-the-job” training at a veterinary establishment willing to offer such training.
Top Veterinary Assistant Schools in North Carolina
Below are some of the top veterinary assistant training programs in North Carolina.
North Carolina Central University
North Carolina Central University offers an online course to prepare individuals in the state for careers as veterinary assistants. The program includes 225-course hours and can be completed in six months. Topics include animal anatomy and physiology, medical records maintenance, animal restraint, nutrition, vaccinations, and how to assist during surgery.
Other Notable Mentions
Other notable mentions include:
- The veterinary assistant program at Randolph Community College in Asheboro,
- Piedmont Community College’s veterinary assistant level 1 program, and
- North Carolina A&T State University’s veterinary assistant certificate program.
State Licensure & Certification Requirements
Like most states, North Carolina does not set educational, licensure, or certification requirements for veterinary assistants in the state. As mentioned, most of these are usually down to the institutions and potential employers.
Those who have completed the steps above have already fulfilled most of the requirements to secure employment. One last thing to consider, however, is certification. Even though it is not compulsory, certification can still go a long way to set veterinary assistants apart and give them an easier time securing employment.
The most prominent credential to concern yourself with as a fresh veterinary assistant in North Carolina is the Approved Veterinary Assistant national certificate offered by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA).
Salary and Career Outlook
The annual average salary for veterinary assistants in North Carolina is $35,010. Those who fall into the top 10% of veterinary assistants by their average salary take home as high as $45,763, while those who fall into the bottom 10% based on the same criteria take home an average annual wage of $26,784.
Location is essential to how much a veterinary assistant will earn in North Carolina. Sorting by this criterion alone, Charlotte is the best city to be a veterinary assistant in North Carolina, with an annual average salary of $37,774.
The other top-paying cities include the following:
- Burlington with an annual average salary of $35,502,
- Concord, with an average yearly salary of $34,793,
- Raleigh, with an annual average wage of $33,933,
- Huntersville, with an annual average wage of $33,103,
- Wilmington, with an average annual salary of $32,689,
- Winnabow, with an average yearly salary of $32,660, and
- Fayetteville has an average annual wage of $31,887.