How to Become a Veterinary Assistant in California

How to Become a Veterinary Assistant

California has many pet owners and this means there is a high demand for veterinary personnel.

Becoming a vet assistant in California is one of the fastest ways to get hired.

Read on to find out what you need to do!

Requirements for a Veterinary Assistant in California

There aren’t many requirements for a future veterinary assistant.

Most of them are related to skills, age, and come from employers.

When it comes to the skills needed for this position, they’re as follows: 

  • Good communication
  • Able to multitask
  • Stress resistant
  • Time management
  • Anger management
  • Team player

Some of the skills are needed because you’ll work with angry or upset people as well.

A good physical condition is preferable, as handling some animals requires more strength.

According to the laws in California, individuals need only a high school diploma or GED to become a veterinarian assistant.

It’s the employers who usually require higher education or certifications than that.

The minimum age to get hired for this position is 18 years.

Veterinary Assistant Employment and Job Duties

There are a number of facilities hiring veterinarian assistants in California:

  • Pet clinics,
  • Animal rescue facilities,
  • Animal shelters
  • Zoos
  • Educational institutions

Depending on where you work, your duties and tasks as a vet’s assistant will differ.

Some of the most common tasks and duties 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

Earning the National Certification for Veterinary Assistants in California

As per law, in California, individuals who want to become a veterinarian assistant needs:

  • To be at least 18 years old
  • A high school diploma or GED

In reality, employers will often ask for the national certification and sometimes even a degree in the field.

The national certification is issued by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (or NAVTA).

NAVTA will certify you as an Approved Veterinary Assistant after you pass the exam.

Only candidates who complete one of the following conditions are accepted to take the exam:

  • Complete the NAVTA-approved coursework
  • An internship – employment with a veterinarian is a must for this option
  • Obtain experiential learning – you must be working part-time in a vet office
  • Get certified while employed – you need permission to take the exam if you are already employed

The NAVTA course has a minimum duration of 6 months though it can last for up to 12 months.

No matter which method you choose for certification, you’ll need to keep the documents proving you qualify.

The examination fee is $100.

As mentioned, it’s possible to obtain other certifications and even degrees for this position.

These are awarded through:

  • High schools
  • Training centers
  • Community colleges
  • Online programs

Remember that each of these institutions will have different requirements for acceptance into their programs.

Some of the shortest classes are 72 hours in length and the youngest age at which you can enroll is 16.

The curriculum of these courses will cover these subjects, and not only:

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

The shortest duration for a degree is 2 years.

The following schools offer both associate’s and bachelor’s degrees for future veterinarian assistants.

School Name Address
ADVANCED COLLEGE 13180 Paramount Blvd. South Gate, CA
ADVENTIST HEALTH 2100 Douglas Boulevard, Roseville, CA 95661
ALLIED AMERICAN UNIVERSITY 22952 Alcalde Drive Laguna Hills, CA
AMERICAN CAREER COLLEGE 1200 N. Magnolia Ave. Anaheim, CA
AMERICAN CAREER COLLEGE 236 East 3rd Street Long Beach, CA
AMERICAN CAREER COLLEGE 4021 Rosewood Avenue Los Angeles, CA
AMERICAN CAREER COLLEGE 3130 East Sedona Court Ontario, CA
AMERICAN COLLEGE OF HEALTHCARE 11801 Pierce St., Suite 100 Riverside, CA
AMERICAN COLLEGE OF HEALTHCARE 6606 Pacific Blvd Ste 204 Huntington Park, CA
ASHER COLLEGE 1215 Howe Ave Suite 101 Sacramento, CA
CALIFORNIA HEALING ARTS COLLEGE 500 East Carson Plaza Drive, Suite 103 Carson, CA
CANADA COLLEGE 4200 Farm Hill Blvd. Redwood City, CA
CAREER COLLEGE CONSULTANTS 5015 Eagle Rock Blvd Ste 302 Los Angeles, CA
CAREER NETWORKS INSTITUTE 702 W Town and Country Rd Orange, CA
CENTRAL COAST COLLEGE 480 S Main Street Salinas, CA
CHARTER COLLEGE 27125 Sierra Hwy Ste 329 Canyon Country, CA
CITY COLLEGE OF SAN FRANCISCO 50 Phelan Ave San Francisco, CA
CONCORDE CAREER COLLEGE-GARDEN GROVE 12951 Euclid Street, Suite 101 Garden Grove, CA
COSUMNES RIVER COLLEGE 8401 Center Parkway Sacramento, CA
CYPRESS COLLEGE 9200 Valley View St, Cypress, CA 90630,
DESERT REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER 1150 N. Indian Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92262
DOWNEY ADULT SCHOOL 12340 Woodruff Ave Downey, CA
EAST LOS ANGELES COLLEGE 1301 Avenida Cesar Chavez Monterey Park, CA
EMPIRE COLLEGE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS 3035 Cleveland Ave Santa Rosa, CA
EVEREST COLLEGE 2215 W Mission Rd Alhambra, CA
EVEREST COLLEGE 511 North Brookhurst St., Suite 300 Anaheim, CA
EVEREST COLLEGE 12801 Crossroads Parkway South City of Industry, CA
EVEREST COLLEGE 1045 W. Redondo Beach Boulevard, Suite 275 Gardena, CA
EVEREST COLLEGE 1460 S. Milliken Ave Ontario, CA
EVEREST COLLEGE 18040 Sherman Way Ste 400 Reseda, CA
EVEREST COLLEGE 500 West Santa Ana Blvd Santa Ana, CA
EVEREST COLLEGE 3000 S Robertson Blvd #300 Los Angeles, CA
FOUR-D COLLEGE 1020 East Washington Street Colton, CA
GALAXY MEDICAL COLLEGE 6400 Laurel Canyon Boulevard, Suite 270 North Hollywood, CA
GARFIELD MEDICAL CENTER 525 N Garfield Ave, Monterey Park, CA 91754
HACIENDA LA PUENTE ADULT EDUCATION 14101 E. Nelson Ave La Puente, CA
INFOTECH CAREER COLLEGE 8527 Alondra Blvd, #174 Paramount, CA
INSTITUTE FOR BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY 2400 Walsh Avenue Santa Clara, CA
INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY INC 564 W Herndon Clovis, CA
KAPLAN COLLEGE 555 Broadway Suite 144 Chula Vista, CA
KAPLAN COLLEGE 4040 Vine Street Riverside, CA
KAPLAN COLLEGE 9055 Balboa Avenue San Diego, CA
KAPLAN COLLEGE 2022 University Dr Vista, CA
LAURUS COLLEGE 81 Higuera St Ste 110 San Luis Obispo, CA
LOMA LINDA UNIVERSITY 11139 Anderson Street Loma Linda, CA
MAYFIELD COLLEGE 35-325 Date Palm Dr. Ste 101 Cathedral City, CA
MENDOCINO COLLEGE 1000 Hensley Creek Road Ukiah, CA
MTI COLLEGE 5221 Madison Ave Sacramento, CA
NATIONAL UNIVERSITY 11255 North Torrey Pines Road La Jolla, CA
NORTH-WEST COLLEGE 221 North Brand Glendale, CA
NORTH-WEST COLLEGE 3799 E. Burnett Street Long Beach, CA
NORTH-WEST COLLEGE 530 E Union Pasadena, CA
NORTH-WEST COLLEGE 170 W Holt Ave Pomona, CA
NORTH-WEST COLLEGE 4550 La Sierra Ave Riverside, CA
NORTH-WEST COLLEGE 1840 E. 17th Street Santa Ana, CA
NORTH-WEST COLLEGE 2121 W Garvey Ave West Covina, CA
PALLADIUM TECHNICAL ACADEMY 10503 Valley Blvd El Monte, CA
PCI COLLEGE 17215 Studebaker Rd #310 Cerritos, CA
POMONA UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT ADULT AND CAREER EDUCATION 1515 W Mission Blvd Pomona, CA
SAN DIEGO COLLEGE 3350 Market St Ste C San Diego, CA
SANTA BARBARA CITY COLLEGE 721 Cliff Drive Santa Barbara, CA
SOUTHWESTERN COLLEGE 900 Otay Lakes Rd Chula Vista, CA
SUMMIT COLLEGE 851 S. Cooley Dr Colton, CA
UEI COLLEGE 2002 N Gateway Blvd. Fresno, CA
UEI COLLEGE 661 West Redondo Beach Blvd Gardena, CA
UNITED EDUCATION INSTITUTE 6055 Pacific Boulevard Huntington Park, CA
UNIVERSITY OF ANTELOPE VALLEY 44055 Sierra Highway Lancaster, CA
VALLEY COLLEGE OF MEDICAL CAREERS 8399 Topanga Canyon Blvd Ste 200 West Hills, CA
WESTECH COLLEGE 9490 Sierra Avenue Fontana, CA
WESTWOOD COLLEGE 20 W 7th St Upland, CA
WESTWOOD COLLEGE 3250 Wilshire Blvd Ste 400 Los Angeles, CA
WESTWOOD COLLEGE 19700 S. Vermont Avenue, Suite 100 Torrance, CA
WYOTECH 2161 Technology Place Long Beach, CA

Be aware that you are not ensured to obtain the NAVTA certificate through a degree program.

Salary Information for a Veterinary Assistant in California

In California, salaries for vet assistants are higher compared to other states.

Your salary will also be influenced by the city you work in, your credentials, as well as the type of facility employing you.

Annual Salary Range:

$21K
$34K
$48K
10%
50%
90%
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Los Angeles $35,238
San Diego $33,624
San Jose $39,102
San Francisco $38,946
Fresno $30,995
Sacramento $33,678
Long Beach $34,740
Oakland $37,077
Bakersfield $33,369
Anaheim $34,818

Additional Information for Veterinary Assistants in California

Individuals who obtained the certification from NAVTA need to have it renewed.

The renewal period is after every 2 years.

The process involves the payment of a fee as well as continuing their education with relevant classes.

READ MORE: How to Become a Veterinary Assistant

State Specific Information

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