How to Become a Veterinary Assistant in Arizona

The journey towards becoming a veterinary assistant in Arizona can be completed by following these five steps.

1. Arizona Education Requirements
2. Locate a Veterinary Assistant Training Program
3. How to Become an Approved Veterinary Assistant in Arizona
4. What’s After Schooling or Becoming an AVA?
5. Arizona Veterinary Assistant Advancement Opportunities and Continuing Education

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Veterinary Assistant Careers in Arizona

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that veterinary assistants in Arizona take home an average salary of $26,260 per year. The average salary is higher in some parts of the state as Phoenix veterinary assistants earn an average of $28,916 annually. Veterinary assistants in Tempe, Yuma, Mesa, Glendale and Scottsdale all earn average salaries that exceed $28,000 per year. There are currently more than 1,200 employed veterinary assistants in Arizona and those numbers are expected to increase dramatically. By 2024, there is expected to be 24% more veterinary assistants working on a full-time basis in the state of Arizona. Those new job openings will increase the demand for veterinary assistants and also provide more job stability. Most of the current veterinary assistant jobs in Arizona are located in Phoenix, Mesa and Scottsdale. Those areas are home to 75% of the veterinary assistant jobs in Arizona. The information below will help you immensely when attempting to find a job as a veterinary assistant or advancing your career in the veterinary field.

What job duties position as a veterinary assistant may include:

An animal healthcare team requires input and assistance from all of its members and that especially applies to veterinary assistants. Over the course of an average workday, a veterinary assistant plays an integral role in a multitude of duties. That includes assisting customers, veterinarians and also attending to a variety of tasks involving pets. The job of a veterinary assistant is multi-faceted and makes for an exciting workday.

A short list of veterinary assistant responsibilities includes the following:

  • Customer service duties upon arrival
  • Scheduling appointments and contacting clients
  • Putting in pet records requests from other facilities
  • Inventory control
  • Sanitizing equipment and supplies
  • Cleaning animal cages
  • Operating and exam room sanitization
  • Assisting with prescription filling
  • Prepping examination rooms
  • Maintaining medical records
  • Implementation special dietary needs for pets
  • Animal walking

Arizona Veterinary assistant duties range to other areas as these professionals take on a number of important job assignments.

1. Arizona Education Requirements

The state of Arizona has not set forth any educational requirements in order to commence training for the position of a veterinary assistant. However, most training programs and animal healthcare facilities recommend a minimum of a high school diploma or GED equivalency. Training may start early, as select high schools feature veterinary assistant education programs to help students accelerate the process. There are also online and distance learning programs available for Arizona residents looking to become a veterinary assistant. Some post-secondary schools in Arizona feature veterinary assistant programs that are curriculum based. Arizona has no state rule that requires a veterinary assistant to have earned an AVA (Approved Veterinary Assistant). That certificate could, however, bolster the chances of finding employment as an Arizona veterinary assistant.

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2. Locating a Veterinary Assistant Training Program

Veterinary assistant training programs provide the knowledge and skills needed to excel in such a role. Training programs arm students with a working knowledge of the job and also teach hands-on approaches. Veterinary assistant training programs include instruction in medical terminology, breed identification, proper lifting and restraining techniques, administering medicine and more.

 A few veterinary assistant campus and online programs in Arizona:

Pima Medical Institute

957 S. Dobson Road
Mesa, AZ 85202
General Phone: (480) 644-0267

Pima Community College

401 North Bonita Avenue
Tucson, AZ 85709-5000
General Phone: (520) 206-4500

Mohave Community College

1971 Jagerson Ave
Kingman, AZ 86409-1238
General Phone: (928) 757-4331

Western Maricopa Education Center

District #402
5487 N. 99th Avenue
Glendale, Arizona 85305
Phone: 623.738.0022

Central Arizona Valley Institute of Technology

789 W. Coolidge Ave.
Coolidge, AZ 85128
Phone: (520) 423.1944
Program Instructor: Ashley Williams (520) 316.4363

Mesa Community College

1833 W Southern Ave.
Mesa, AZ 85202
Phone: (480) 461-7000

Finding a NAVTA approved program:

The NAVTA (National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America) sought the need to create a veterinary assistant approval program, which was first established in 2010. This program provides an authoritative source of credentialing to the most esteemed veterinary assistant training programs in the country. Those interested in learning more on a NAVTA Approved Veterinary Assistant Program can locate a list here. NAVTA has currently approved 35 programs throughout the U.S. and Canada, as well as 3 online approved programs.

3. How to Become an Approved Veterinary Assistant in Arizona

As previously mentioned in step 2, a veterinary assistant program approved by the NAVTA is available in Arizona. However, there are other options when it comes to attaining a veterinary assistant certificate. There is online coursework and also the option of working with the VetMedTeam. Veterinary assistants, who are currently employed but not certified, now have various ways of earning an AVA (Approved Veterinary Assistant). The next section highlights the process and requirements for becoming an approved Arizona veterinary assistant.

What is an Arizona approved veterinary assistant (AVA)?

The title of Approved Veterinary Assistant (AVA) is a national certification for veterinary assistants.

What are the approved available options by the NAVTA in Arizona?

Externship Option: This option is for individuals who are not presently working in a veterinary practice, but are seeking out employment in that field. This option offers pre-employment training, which is usually requisite at pet clinics and hospitals.

Experiential Learner: This option is for employed veterinary assistant in Arizona. Candidates must be currently working a minimum of 20 hours per week in the role of a veterinary assistant.

Veterinary Assistant Program: This option applies to Arizona veterinary assistants who are already employed in a full-service veterinary practice. A 20-hour weekly minimum performing vet assistant duties is required.

Once you complete an approved option.

The completion of one of the aforementioned approved options offers you the right to take the AVA examination that applies to your designated program. This means you can set the appropriate exam terms and conditions in Arizona.

After passing the approved veterinary assistant examination in Arizona.

  • Once a passing score is received on the examination, you will be processed and able to access your documenting certificate. Congratulations, you have just become an approved Arizona veterinary assistant.

Staying current as an Arizona AVA.

Your Arizona AVA will be subject to renewal every 2 years. You must also earn 10 continuing education credits over a 2-year period, and pay a $10 renewal fee.

 4. What’s After Schooling or Becoming an AVA?

When you have completed all of the steps to becoming an Arizona approved veterinary assistant, many new doors will begin to open. Veterinary practices, animal hospitals and pet clinics are all looking for trained veterinary assistants who can come right in and be of valuable service. Producing your very own AVA is a way of proving that you have acquired the necessary skills to thrive as a veterinary assistant. Veterinarians rely heavily on competent veterinary assistants and earning an AVA shows your reliability, knowledge and value. Here is a look at some of potential employers for veterinary assistants within the state of Arizona.

Potential Veterinary Assistant Employers in Arizona:

 AZVMA (Arizona Veterinary Medical Association) This website is an excellent resource for current job openings in the state of Arizona. This is also a valuable resource for the overall veterinary field in Arizona.

100 W. Coolidge St., Phoenix, AZ 85013
Phone: 602.242.7936
Fax: 602.249.3828
office@azvma.org

 VCA (Veterinary Centers of America) The VCA is an organization that is well-known throughout the country for providing top-quality animal care. There are currently 17 VCA locations throughout the state of California. Here are a few of the VCA locations in Arizona.

VCA Mesa Animal Hospital
858 N. Country Club Drive
Mesa, AZ
480-833-7330
VCA El Mirage Animal Hospital
12850 W. Elm Street
Surprise, AZ
623-583-9335
VCA Paradise Valley Emergency Animal Hospital
6969 East Shea Boulevard
Suite 150
Scottsdale, AZ
480-991-1845

Banfield Pet Hospital Veterinarian Warren J. Wegert first introduced his vision of top-quality veterinary medicine in 1955 with the first Banfield Pet Hospital. Now, Banfield Pet Hospital boasts over 900 locations located through the United States and Puerto Rico. The hospital was built on the premise that the best relationships are formed when people work together.

Below are the Banfield Pet Hospitals located in Arizona.

Mesa North
6632 East McKellips Rd
Mesa, AZ, 85215
(480) 641-7200
Mesa East
6932 E. Hampton
Mesa, AZ, 85209
(480) 641-9000
Apache Junction
1858 S Signal Butte Rd
Mesa, AZ, 85209
(480) 358-6760

In the event that you are limited in experience when it comes to working around animals, there is the option of finding an internship or volunteering at a local pet clinic or hospital.

5. Arizona Veterinary Assistant Advancement Opportunities and Continuing Education

Not all veterinary assistants in Arizona have earned the distinction of being an approved veterinary assistant (AVA). That can all change as this can be your first step to advancing your career. Becoming an approved veterinary assistant designation could expand your job opportunities and help secure a higher pay rate. This could also be a stepping stone towards advancing up to a veterinary technician or technologist, or possibly a veterinarian. Your continuing education in the veterinary field can begin right away.

Resources in Arizona

 VetMedTeam

American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)

Arizona Veterinary Medical Association

Arizona Humane Society

The Humane Society of Southern Arizona

Yavapai Humane Society

Arizona Animal Welfare League