How to Become a Veterinary Assistant in Illinois

How to Become a Veterinary Assistant

If you want to know more about what you must do to become a veterinary assistant in Illinois, read on!

In this guide, we gathered information related to the license you need, the salary you can expect, and other details!

Remember that this is a job for those who love animals but who can also get along with most people.

Veterinary Assistant Employment and Job Duties in Illinois

In the State of Illinois, future veterinary assistants have many facilities willing to hire them.

These are the ones where finding a job can be easy:

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

Among the best companies to work for in Illinois, we can mention:

  • Veterinary Centers of America
    • This facility has centers in this state, in cities like Chicago, Kankakee, Vernon Hills, and Franklin Park.
  • Banfield Pet Hospital
    • This pet hospital can be found in Champaign, Springfield, and Oswego.
  • Vetco Wellness Centers
    • This center can also be found in Chicago, New Lenox, Springfield, and Pekin.

What you should know is that many vet assistants start their careers through a volunteering position at one of these facilities.

Knowing what you’ll be doing daily is important especially in your decision-making process.

The duties of a veterinarian assistant vary depending on where they work, but the following are some of the most common (duties):

  • Communicating with clients
  • Making appointments
  • Request records requests from other vets
  • Inventory control
  • Cleaning vet gear
  • Sanitizing animal cages
  • Operation room cleaning
  • Help with filling prescriptions
  • Prepping exam and operating spaces
  • Keeping records updated
  • Pay attention to the dietary needs of pets
  • Make sure the animals get enough exercise

Becoming Certified as a Vet Assistant in Illinois

Currently, the State of Illinois doesn’t regulate future vet assistants.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t seek some credentials though.

Do keep in mind that at least a high school diploma or a GED is the minimum diplomas employers are seeking.

To increase your chances of landing a job, you should become an Approved Veterinary Assistant (AVA).

This distinction is recognized at a national level and is obtained after passing an exam.

Below you can learn more about earning this credential.

Externship

This option is for individuals who do not work in the industry yet.

This is a training program with theory and practice classes.

The practice part of the training is significant when seeking employment.

Experiential Learner

This option is for those who already work in a vet’s office or clinic.

Your position has to be part-time.

Veterinary Assistant Program

This option requires you to work part-time in a vet facility and this qualifies as your training.

After you complete training, you must pass the AVA test.

Other Credentials

You can also choose to enroll in a college that offers training for medical personnel in the veterinary field.

The schools in Illinois with such programs can be seen below.

School Name Address
College of Lake County 19351 W. Washington St. Grayslake, IL 60030
McHenry County College 8900 US Hwy 14 Crystal Lake, Illinois 60012-2761
Moraine Valley Community College 9000 College Pkwy Palos Hills, IL 60465

You can also enroll in an online course if you can’t attend in-person.

No matter the program, you should also complete an internship before graduating.

Below are some of the subjects you’ll study:

  • Identifying different animal breeds
  • Animal anatomy
  • The best ways to administer meds
  • Performing laboratory analyses
  • How to administer post-operative care
  • Handling various breeds of animals
  • Soothing animal patients
  • Medical terminology
  • Handling chemicals

When graduating from those schools, you can earn one of these degrees:

  • Bachelor of Science (BS) in veterinary
  • Associate of applied science (AAS) degree in veterinary technology

Simple certifications are also available in some schools, though a degree opens more doors when it comes to career options.

The duration of the training program varies.

For instance, a certificate can take less than a year to obtain, while an AAS will have you stay in school for 2 years.

Taking the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) is not an option offered by all the veterinary schools.

Salary Information for a Veterinary Assistant in Illinois

The growth of the veterinary assistant field is expected to be steady in the next few years.

This also means salaries are attractive, though they heavily depend on qualifications and experience.

Annual Salary Range:
$20K
$32K
$44K
10%
50%
90%
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Chicago $33,100
Aurora $32,824
Joliet $32,279
Rockford $30,726
Naperville $32,505
Springfield $28,797
Peoria $30,136
Elgin $32,538
Waukegan $31,236
Champaign $29,310

Additional information about vet assistants in Illinois

Usually, certifications need renewal, for which individuals are expected to continue their education.

Use these resources for more details on this aspect:

  • VetMedTeam
  • Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association
  • Illinois Humane Society
  • American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)
  • Chicago Veterinary Medical Association
  • Paws Chicago

READ MORE: How to Become a Veterinary Assistant

State Specific Information

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