Vet Assistant in FL

How to Become a Veterinary Assistant in Florida

Working as a veterinary assistant can be a rewarding career, especially for those who love animals and want to care for them.

Vet assistants in Florida have few educational and training requirements, making it easier to enter the workforce than most other professions.

Education & Training

Those with little to no experience in animal care should consider attending a vet assistant training program.

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Get information on Veterinary Assistant programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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Florida training programs are available in person on various campuses and online.

    City College

    • Altamonte Springs, Fort Lauderdale, Gainesville, Hollywood, Miami


    Lake Technical College
    The Veterinary Assisting program at Lake Technical College is designed to prepare students for employment in the veterinary industry. The 750-hour program spans approximately 25 weeks and covers veterinary science, animal first aid, the human-animal bond, animal breeds and husbandry, preventive medicine, disease control, and the use of veterinary tools and equipment. Students also learn surgical assisting and preparation techniques. Graduates are eligible for industry certification as a Veterinary Assistant (CVA) through the Florida Veterinary Medical Association.

    • Eustis


    Southern Technical College
    10 month diploma program for the Certified Veterinary Assistant (CVA) exam.

    • Auburndale, Brandon, Fort Myers, Orlando, Port Charlotte, Sanford, Tampa


Courses You Might Take

While attending a veterinary assistant program, the courses you may take cover topics involving:

  • Emergency wound care
  • Pet nutrition and prescription diets
  • Animal behavior and handling
  • Body systems
  • Terminology
  • Surgery and x-ray prep
  • Physical examinations
  • History of vet sciences and domesticated animals
  • Animal diseases
  • Proper medication administration

How Much Does it Cost?

To attend a vet assistant school in Florida, you can expect tuition to cost under $1,000 or as high as $4,000, depending on your program.

This price usually includes supplies, books, and the cost of any certifications you might earn. Online programs are often more affordable, as well.

How Long Does it Take?

Vet assistant programs in Florida usually take less than a year to complete, with many schools advertising as little as 7 months to become certified.

Typically, the time spent in a classroom is separate from your externship, which may last up to 8 weeks.

helping dog in clinic

Salary

How Much Do Vet Assistants Make in Florida?

The following city salary data illustrates how much you can earn as a vet assistant in different areas of the state:

Location Annual Low Annual Median Annual High Hourly Low Hourly Median Hourly High
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater $27,040 $33,630 $37,800 $13.00 $16.17 $18.17
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach $28,480 $35,330 $45,140 $13.69 $16.99 $21.70
North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton $27,350 $31,960 $38,260 $13.15 $15.37 $18.39
Jacksonville $24,590 $31,420 $38,200 $11.82 $15.11 $18.37
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford $27,040 $31,780 $38,420 $13.00 $15.28 $18.47
Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island $28,570 $35,790 $43,470 $13.74 $17.21 $20.90
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach $28,480 $35,330 $45,140 $13.69 $16.99 $21.70
Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent $22,570 $30,040 $36,920 $10.85 $14.44 $17.75

source: careeronestop.org

Career Overview

What is an Approved Veterinary Assistant?

Schools accredited by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians (NAFTA) provide students with the opportunity to become qualified as Approved Veterinary Assistants (AVA).

The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America

To do so, students must accomplish one of the following:

  • Complete an approved veterinary assistant training program and work at a full-service vet practice for 20 hours a week
  • Earn experiential learning as a vet assistant already employed at a full-service practice for 20 hours a week
  • Complete an externship with hands-on instruction if not currently employed at a vet practice

By meeting one of these requirements, you qualify to take the exam that allows you to earn national certification as an AVA.

To take the test through NAVTA, there is a $100 fee. AVAs must renew their certification every two years for a $10 fee and have evidence of taking 10 continuing education credits.

Additional Tips

You might also want to look for a vet assistant training program in Florida that offers certification under the Florida Board of Veterinary Medicine. These accreditations make you feel confident in your training and education.

FVMA logo

Also, look for a program that’s affiliated with local vet facilities so they can easily connect you to the right externship.

Florida Vet Assistant Requirements

There are no educational standards or state-sponsored licensing for vet assistants in Florida. A veterinary assistant certification in Florida is also not required, but the education and training provided are crucial to the role.

Having a certification or earning your title as an AVA can also boost your chances of landing the job you want.

Typical Employer Requirements

Often, employers have their own standards for the people they want to hire as vet assistants. For example, most clinics, hospitals, and other animal care agencies prefer to hire individuals with at least a high school diploma or GED.

They also look for candidates experienced in animal care, which you can obtain by attending a hands-on training program.

Without prior experience working as a vet assistant or inside an animal healthcare facility, you might want to try volunteering at a clinic, shelter, or humane society.

Entry-level vet assistants typically receive on-the-job training whether or not they attended a program.

UF Small Animal Hospital

Where Do Vet Assistants in Florida Work?

Veterinary assistant jobs in Florida are available in multiple work environments. Most vet assistants work inside veterinary offices, clinics, animal hospitals, shelters, zoos, and research laboratories.

Employers may have specific requirements for different jobs involving education, training and certifications.

Job Description

Vet assistants are vital to the animal healthcare industry. They provide critical support services to veterinarians and vet technicians.

Most of their job revolves around office administration, working directly with pet owners, and hands-on work with dogs, cats, livestock, and other animals.

Responsibilities

Often, veterinary assistants have the most contact with the animals inside a clinic or animal hospital. They play a meaningful role in the lives of pets and their owners, ensuring day-to-day operations run smoothly and clients, both human and animal, feel comforted.

They make it easier for veterinarians to perform their roles, as well, by providing important services like:

  • Scheduling appointments and vaccines
  • Answering phone calls
  • Managing patient records
  • Explaining procedures to pet owners
  • Feeding, grooming, and exercising animals
  • Cleaning equipment
  • Assisting with aftercare
  • Keeping track of inventory
  • Filling prescriptions

While this work is ideal for people who feel passionate about animal welfare, it can also be emotionally and physically demanding. Assistants often must deal with sick pets and worried owners while also restraining animals when they get out of hand.

Career Outlook

The demand for veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers is forecasted to increase by 20% from 2022 to 2032, surpassing the average growth rate for all occupations. Over the decade, an average of 26,800 job openings are expected annually, driven largely by replacements due to workforce turnover, including retirements and career changes.

source: BLS.gov

While demand for veterinary assistant jobs in Florida is high, some individuals might be interested in similar careers. Those who still want to work with animals may look for programs in laboratory animal care, animal training, or working inside a zoo.

Search Veterinary Assistant Programs

Get information on Veterinary Assistant programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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