Veterinary assistants perform a wide range of duties that make them critical to the functioning of any veterinary medical establishment. Along with carrying out administrative tasks such as keeping records and liaising with pet owners, they are also trained to carry out specific clinical duties ranging from drawing blood to assisting with surgical procedures.
For veterinary assistants in Tennessee, the path to starting a career and potentially moving on to a more complex field is relatively straightforward. There are, however, some essential requirements to keep in mind.
We discuss all of these in critical detail below.
Steps to Become a Veterinary Assistant in Tennessee
Below are all the essential requirements an aspiring veterinary assistant in Tennessee must remember to start their career.
Become Familiar with Training Prerequisites
All aspiring veterinary assistants in Tennessee must be familiar with the prerequisites for securing admission into a training program and employment afterward. As it happens, the only such requirement in Tennessee is that individuals must have a high school diploma or a GED.
This provision is familiar to all training programs and employers in the state.
Understand Training Alternatives
There are two different training alternatives for aspiring veterinary assistants in Tennessee to consider – enrolling in an academic program or learning from an on-the-job training program.
Community colleges and veterinary training academies all over the country offer academic training for veterinary assistants. The highlights of these programs include:
- Extensive curriculum dealing with all areas of veterinary assistant duties and interpersonal skills,
- Hands-on training through externship,
- Certificate of completion that often leads to better employment opportunities and
- In cases where the school is certified by NAVTA, additional professional credentials are needed.
Some veterinary clinics and animal shelters in the state offer aspiring veterinary assistants the opportunity to acquire their training on the job. This means individuals can secure positions in these establishments without prior academic training.
Consider Certification Alternatives
The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) offers an Approved Veterinary Assistant (AVA) credential to enable vet assistants nationwide to showcase their expertise to potential employers.
While such certification is not mandatory for veterinary assistants in Tennessee, it does go a long way in helping them sell their skills to potential employers and set themselves apart from the competition.
Consider exploring careers with similar paths:
State Licensure & Certification Requirements
The above steps are enough to start a veterinary assistant career in Tennessee without worrying about state-mandated licensing or certification.
For those who would like to consider the AVA credential mentioned above, the exam does come with a $100 application fee. The credential must also be renewed every two years by obtaining 10 continuing education credits and paying the $10 renewal fee.
Lastly, there are certain conditions required to qualify for this examination. One is to attend a NAVTA-accredited program, while the second option is to meet the work experience requirements.
Learn about licensing and certification in neighboring states:
Top Veterinary Assistant Schools in Tennessee
Below are a few noteworthy veterinary assistant training programs in Tennessee for interested individuals to consider.
Tennessee College of Applied Technology
Tennessee College of Applied Technology in Memphis is a top-class training institution in the state offering high-quality veterinary tech assistant training. Students can earn a certificate in 12 months.
The topics of interest include hygiene, sanitation, animal feed and nutrition, genetics, record-keeping, animal diseases, and more.
Lincoln Memorial University
A private university in Harrogate, Lincoln Memorial University offers a veterinary assistant program through which students can graduate with an associate degree in veterinary health.
Vol State Community College
Vol State Community College is another beautiful destination for training as an aspiring veterinary assistant in Tennessee. This program can be completed in two semesters, and students get to graduate with a technical certificate. Topics include an introduction to veterinary anatomy and veterinary assistant nursing.
Salary and Career Outlook
Veterinary assistants in Tennessee earn an annual average salary of $34,365. Those who fall into the state’s top 10% of veterinary assistants (by their average wage) take home as much as $43,763. Those who fall into the bottom 10% – judging with the same criteria – take home an annual average salary of $26,985.
Like all states, location plays a huge role in determining a veterinary assistant’s salary in Tennessee. By this criterion alone, Franklin is the best city in Tennessee to be a veterinary assistant, thanks to its average annual wage of $40,127.
The other top-paying cities include:
- Menses with an annual average salary of $37,953,
- Nashville, with an average yearly salary of $36,934,
- Brentwood, with an annual average wage of $36,286,
- Mount Juliet with an average yearly salary of $36,146,
- Murfreesboro, with an annual average wage of $33,681,
- Knoxville, with an average yearly salary of $32,853 and
- Chattanooga has an annual average wage of $31,520.