How to Become a Veterinary Assistant in Maine

How to Become a Veterinary Assistant

Animals also deserve to be happy and healthy and a vet’s assistant plays an important part in this.

If you want to help animals feel their best and you’re also good at interacting with people, perhaps you could become a veterinary assistant in Maine!

Read on to find out more about this occupation!

Veterinary Assistant Employment and Job Duties in Maine

Given the high number of veterinary practices in Maine, you should be able to find a job in this field, relatively easy.

These are the types of facilitates where vet assistants are usually employed:

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

Below you can see some of the most reputable businesses:

  • Animal Emergency Clinic of Mid-Maine
  • Cumberland Animal Clinic
  • Eastern Maine Emergency Veterinary Clinic
  • New England Animal Hospital
  • Woodbrook Animal Clinic

These are not the only practices, as smaller ones in smaller cities also exist.

The Maine Veterinary Medical Association is the body overseeing this profession and may point you to facilities closer to you.

Even the Association might need to hire vet assistants.

Employment requirements and job duties will most likely differ from a business to another.

These are the most common duties of a veterinarian assistant:

  • 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

While not ideal, you could first volunteer at those practices, until you gain enough experience to become employed full-time.

Becoming Certified as a Vet Assistant in Maine

Maine, like many states, doesn’t mandate veterinary assistants to hold a license before starting work.

It’s up to the employers to demand one, though they commonly ask for a high school diploma, or GED, and minimum age.

Vet assistants don’t usually get licensed, but earn a certification recognized nationally.

This is the AVA credential, or Approved Veterinary Assistant, that NAVTA issues.

Candidates first need to qualify for it and then pass an exam.

For this, individuals must enroll in a training program that has approval from NAVTA.

Such programs, however, are not always available.

Below you can see the few ways you can become qualified for the NAVTA test.

Externship

Individuals with no related experience in this field can choose this option.

Through this option, you’ll gain the experience many facilities dedicated to animals, are looking for.

The programs must last for at least a few months.

Experiential Learner

With this option, you must be already working in a facility, as a part-timer.

You will be allowed to take the NAVTA exam once you accumulate a certain amount of hours on the job.

Veterinary Assistant Program

This program allows you to work at least 20 hours per week in a veterinary practice.

The exam is available when the program ends.

Earning Other Credentials

Some individuals hope to have a career in this industry.

For them, education at the post-secondary level is important.

With such education you can earn one of the following degrees:

  • An Associate Science degree in veterinary medicine
  • A Bachelor Science degree in veterinary medicine

The table below shows the schools offering these degrees.

School Name Address
Kennebec Valley Community College 92 Western Ave Fairfield, ME 04937
Kittery Adult Education 841 North Road, Dover Foxcroft, ME 04256
Southern Maine Community College 2 Fort Rd South Portland, ME 04106

The program needs approval from the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA).

The following can be among the enrollment requirements:

  • Tuberculosis clearance within a year
  • Tetanus vaccine within 10 years
  • Health insurance
  • Criminal background check

Depending on the school, the curriculum may vary, but it needs to cover:

  • Identifying the different breeds
  • Animal anatomy
  • The best ways to administer meds
  • Post-operative care
  • Handling various breeds of animals
  • Medical terminology
  • Handling chemicals

Various specializations are also available:

  • Dental Technician
  • Anesthetist
  • Internal Medicine
  • Emergency and Critical Care
  • Behavior Technician
  • Zoological Medicine
  • Equine
  • Clinical Practice
  • Nutrition
  • Clinical Pathology

The courses for an associate’s degree last for at least 2 years.

Depending on the school, you could qualify for the VTNE (Veterinary Technician National Examination) as well.

The duration of this exam is of 3 hours, it has 150 questions, and it costs $300.

Salary Information for a Veterinary Assistant in Maine

Just like with most other occupations, your experience will influence your salary as a vet’s assistant.

However, the more certifications you have, the more your salary can increase, not to mention that in some cities you can earn more by default.

Annual Salary Range:
$18K
$30K
$41K
10%
50%
90%
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Portland $30,492
Lewiston $30,180
Bangor $28,513
South Portland $30,492
Auburn $30,180
Biddeford $30,347
Sanford $31,255
Brunswick $30,222
Scarborough $30,492
Saco $30,430

Additional Information About Vet Assistants in Maine

Remember that the AVA certification has to be renewed after every 2 years.

You can use these resources to find out more:

  • VetMedTeam
  • American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)
  • Maine Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA)
  • Maine Animal Welfare Society
  • Maine Animal Shelters
  • Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland

READ MORE: How to Become a Veterinary Assistant

State Specific Information

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