How to Become a Veterinary Assistant in Alaska

How to Become a Veterinary Assistant

People from Alaska could consider becoming veterinary assistants if they like working with animals.

This article will present the steps needed towards this occupation as well as the salary this professional can expect having.

Requirements for a Veterinary Assistant in Alaska

In Alaska, there are no state-wide requirements for a person who wants to become a veterinary assistant.

Employers, however, might ask for certifications or diplomas.

The certifications will improve your chances of developing a career in this field.

The most commonly requested document is the high school diploma or GED.

Some employers could ask for an associate’s degree in the field and even for a NAVTA credential.

Veterinary Assistant Employment and Job Duties

To improve your chances of getting a better-paid position, you should consider completing an internship as well, not just meet the requirements mentioned above.

Veterinary assistants work in a variety of settings.

These include:

  • Veterinary clinics,
  • Animal hospitals,
  • Animal shelters
  • Zoos
  • Educational institutions

As the name suggests, a veterinary assistant helps a veterinarian with a series of tasks.

The tasks can include:

  • Managing client records
  • Keeping inventory count
  • Instrument sterilization and sanitation
  • Cage cleaning and disinfecting
  • Preparing rooms for examining animals
  • Preparing rooms for surgery
  • Maintaining updated medical records
  • Handling animal walking and exercise

Usually, depending on where you work, you will have to complete other duties.

Earning the National Certification for Veterinary Assistants

While there’s no actual need for a certification in Alaska, individuals can obtain one.

The best one to obtain is a national certificate.

If you’re interested in getting certified nationally, you first need to attend some training.

It is possible to attend classes for this profession while in high school.

Individuals can also enroll in online courses or certificate programs organized by post-secondary schools.

The classes will teach students:

  • How to identify different breeds of animals
  • The best ways to administer meds
  • How to administer post-operative care
  • Handling various breeds of animals
  • Medical terminology
  • Handling chemicals

You’ll have to attend between 100 and 240 hours of classroom education as well as some practice hours.

These are some schools you can check out for a program of interest.

School Name Address
ADVANCED PAIN CENTERS OF ALASKA (APCA) 1917 Abbott Road, Suite 100, Anchorage, AK 99507
ALASKA CAREER COLLEGE 1415 E Tudor Road Anchorage, AK
ALASKA NATIVE TRIBAL HEALTH CONSORTIUM (ANTHC) 4000 Ambassador Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508
ALASKA REGIONAL HOSPITAL 2801 DeBarr Road, Anchorage, AK, 99508
ILISAGVIK COLLEGE 100 Stevenson St, Utqiagvik, AK 99723
UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA 3211 Providence Drive Anchorage, AK
UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA 505 South Chandalar Drive Fairbanks, AK

To be accepted, you might have to meet a different set of requirements, depending on the school.

Online learning could be less costly as well as having fewer restrictions compared to in-person courses.

There are 2 certifications you can earn:

  • Approved Veterinary Assistant (AVA)
  • Certified Veterinary Assistant (CVA)

To obtain either one, you’ll need to complete a training program and then pass an exam.

The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) offers the AVA certificate.

The NAVTA certification can be obtained at 3 programs across Alaska.

Additionally, for the NAVTA certificate, you can also:

  • Complete an internship – you must find employment with a veterinarian
  • Obtain experiential learning – you must be working part-time
  • Get certified while employed – you need permission to take the exam if you are already employed

These programs last up to 1 year, therefore you don’t need to spend a lot of time studying.

You can enroll in both full-time and distant forms of education.

For the exam you’ll need:

  • Proof of completing your training
  • To pay the fee

The AVA certification must be renewed every 2 years.

For this, you’ll need to pay a fee as well as continuing your education with approved classes.

Salary Information for a Veterinary Assistant in Alaska

In Alaska, there is a small number of vet assistants, but there is a steady demand for such professionals.

Average salaries in Alaska for veterinary assistants are generally higher compared to the rest of the country.

However, make sure to get certified and seek employment in larger cities if you want to earn more than your peers.

Annual Salary Range:

$21K
$34K
$48K
10%
50%
90%
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Anchorage $34,653
Juneau $34,345
Fairbanks $34,510
Wasilla $34,186
Sitka $33,877
Ketchikan $33,877
Kenai $34,186
Palmer $34,186
Bethel $34,186
Kodiak $34,186

Additional Information for Veterinary Assistants in Alaska

Most veterinary assistants will interact with pet owners and not only.

It is therefore mandatory for these professionals to also have good communication skills.

Time management is another useful ability to have for this position.

READ MORE: How to Become a Veterinary Assistant

State Specific Information

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