A career in the veterinary industry is usually appealing for several reasons. The industry is constantly growing with increased demand every year, and it also offers the opportunity for enthusiastic individuals to work with wonderful animals and put a smile on the face of numerous pet owners every day.
Among the array of interesting careers in the veterinary world, becoming a vet assistant is usually the quickest and most straightforward. A career in this field also allows you to work closely with veterinary technicians and veterinarians to see if you would like to further your career in the same industry or consider a different alternative altogether.
Below we provide a comprehensive guide containing everything you’ll need to know to become a veterinary assistant in Texas.
Steps To Become a Veterinary Assistant in Texas
There are no official educational requirements to become a veterinary assistant in Texas. The state has its specific certification requirements, but the conditions can typically be fulfilled even by candidates who still need to attend a formal training program.
For this reason, it is not uncommon to find veterinary assistants getting their training on the job.
Through on-the-job training, veterinary assistants often secure employment even after having yet to practice or obtain formal training. Instead, they learn directly under the supervision of vet technicians and fellow vet assistants.
Of course, they may be entitled to slightly lower pay when starting.
Additionally, even though technically no postsecondary education is needed to become a veterinary assistant, most employers ask for candidates to at least have a high school diploma or GED.
Even though it is possible to become a veterinary assistant without being formally trained beforehand, those who wish for a stronger theoretical foundation and the possibility of higher pay still gravitate towards obtaining formal education from a respectable program.
One of the most important things to consider when choosing a training program is accreditation. This is not to say that non-accredited programs are not good enough (many of them are). Attending an accredited program usually helps you become certified quicker - as shown below.
The most prominent body in charge of accrediting veterinary assistant programs is the National Association of Veterinary Technicians of America (NAVTA).
Texas State Licensure and Certification Requirements
Since most states have no educational or licensing requirements for their veterinary assistants, NAVTA remains the only body in charge of providing credentials in the country. There are a few exceptions to this, however, and Texas is one of them.
There is a need for state-level certification in Texas, and the body responsible for this is the Texas Veterinary Medical Association. The TVMA certification requires veterinary assistants to accumulate 500 hours of work experience under a licensed vet tech.
They must also sit for and pass a level I certification exam followed by a level II certification exam after 500 additional hours of work experience.
Top Veterinary Assistant Schools in Texas
1. Pima Medical Institute
Pima Medical Institute offers Texas, residents the opportunity to start a successful career as veterinary assistants through its certificate program. The school also has two different campuses in El Paso and Houston for more convenience.
The program lasts nine months and includes rigorous classroom sessions and hands-on training at approved clinics.
2. Palo Alto College
Palo Alto College in San Antonio has a training program designed to bring up talented veterinary assistants in the state. In a 32-credit program, students here graduate with a certificate and are prepared to be certified by the Texas Veterinary Medical Association (TVMA).
3. Cedar Valley College
Located in Lancaster, Cedar Valley College is another impressive destination for veterinary assistants in Texas looking for a solid program. The school is mostly geared towards continuing education courses.
4. Online Options
Individuals looking for NAVTA-approved online programs for veterinary assistants may consider the programs at The Animal Behavior College, Penn Foster College, and Ashworth College.
Texas Veterinary Assistant Salary and Job Outlook
The average yearly salary for veterinary assistants in Texas is $35,295. For entry-level workers, the salary often falls towards at least $27,332, while those who have spent significant time on the job may earn as high as $45,577 every year.
Experience, however, is one of many factors to consider. The location of employment also matters.
Vet assistants in Dallas, for instance, earn an annual average of $40,975, while those in Cedar Park make a yearly average of $40,446.
Based solely on experience, vet assistants in Texas with less than one year earn an average of $33,440 per year, while those with 3 to 5 years earn $37,052 per year.
The average salary for veterinary assistants with 6 to 9 years of experience in Texas is $39,472 annually.