Certification for veterinary assistants.
Q: How do I become a certified veterinary assistant?
"It's hard to find a veterinary assistant program," says Julie Legred, CVT, 2008 National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) president. Legred knows of one state veterinary medical association—Texas—that offers a certified veterinary assistant program, and a few veterinary technology schools accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) have veterinary assistant options tied to them.
Julie Legred, CVT
When you complete these programs, you'll be awarded a certificate that proves your expanded knowledge about caring for pets. This will not only impress current and potential employers but also boost your skills and confidence. Unfortunately, the document won't signify you've been certified by an AVMA-accredited institution—even when you finish a program from an accredited entity. Why? Because the AVMA hasn't decided how to define the relatively new career of veterinary assistant. But NAVTA hopes to change that.
"Veterinary assistants are important members of the healthcare team," Legred says. "That's why NAVTA is in the early stages of developing a credentialing process for veterinary assistants." This will outline an assistant's role and lend public recognition to the career. NAVTA is optimistic that the process will be in place within the next few years.
In the meantime, seek out an assistant program to get a jump on job satisfaction and security. You may want to start your search at the NAVTA Web site, navta.net. Under the site's education section, you'll find NAVTA's recommended curriculum and review process for veterinary assistant programs and an explanation of assistants' versus technicians' duties. You'll also find a state-by-state list of online and on-campus AVMA-accredited technician programs. Contact NAVTA to see which of these programs also offer an assistant component.