How to Become a Veterinary Assistant in Mississippi

How to Become a Veterinary Assistant

Being a veterinary assistant means you like being surrounded by animals but also by other people.

If you also live in Mississippi and you’d like to know more about this profession, continue reading!

Veterinary Assistant Employment and Job Duties in Mississippi

Veterinary assistants can be seen working in many different settings, such as:

  • Animal clinics,
  • Animal rescue facilities,
  • Animal shelters
  • Zoos
  • Veterinary emergency centers

Below you can see some of the veterinary practices in this state:

  • Gulf Coast Veterinary Emergency Hospital
  • Horn Lake Animal Hospital
  • Brookhaven Animal Hospital
  • Animal Medical Center in Hattiesburg
  • North State Animal Hospital

Of course, if you don’t live in one of the cities these hospitals operate, you can still find businesses catering to the needs of various animals.

While there are many options when it comes to finding a job, meeting the requirements of the employer is more difficult.

There are differences when it comes to job duties as well.

These are the most common of them:

  • 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 Mississippi

The State of Mississippi doesn’t regulate the work of vet assistants.

These professionals don’t need to receive special training or a license in order to work in a facility for animals.

However, many employers will require such credentials.

While you have several certifications to choose from, the best of them is called AVA or Approved Veterinary Assistant, issued by NAVTA.

The AVA certificate is recognized across the nation and you can obtain it after you graduate from a program with approval from NAVTA and you pass an exam.

You should know that such programs are not available in all the states.

Mississippi is one of the states where such programs are not offered, however, there are a few other ways in which you can qualify for the exam.

Below you can see the alternative ways of qualifying for the exam: 

  • Externship – Individuals participating in this option have no previous experience in the veterinary field.
  • Experiential Learner and Veterinary Assistant Program: These 2 options are similar and they both require part-time employment in a facility with services for animals.

When you’re ready to take the exam, you’ll have to submit a few papers demonstrating you’re qualified, along with the certification fee of $350.

This fee includes the review of the papers.

Earning Other Credentials

Since a NAVTA program is difficult to enroll in, in this state, you can choose a post-secondary education program instead.

Through such a program you have the option to earn either an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree.

Both degrees will help you develop a better career down the line.

You can check out the schools below for such a degree.

School Name Address
College of Veterinary Medicine 240 Wise Center Drive P.O. Box 6100 Mississippi State, MS 39762
Holmes Community College 1 Hill St Goodman, MS 39079
Itawamba Community College 602 W. Hill Street Fulton, MS 38843
Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College 51 Main Street Perkinston, MS 39573

Each school will generally have its own curriculum, but the subjects are very similar:

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

It’s also possible to have the option to study a field more than others, such as:

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

Students usually spend two years studying for an Associate’s and 4 years for a Bachelor’s degree.

Salary Information for a Veterinary Assistant in Mississippi

Depending on the experience you have, as well as the type of credentials you earned, your salary will vary from the median ones seen below.

Annual Salary Range:
$17K
$27K
$37K
10%
50%
90%
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Jackson $27,926
Gulfport $27,434
Southaven $28,870
Hattiesburg $27,263
Biloxi $27,653
Meridian $27,656
Tupelo $26,320
Olive Branch $28,797
Greenville $27,737
Horn Lake $28,855

Additional Information About Vet Assistants in Mississippi

Every 2 years, holders of the AVA certification must renew their credentials.

The renewal fee for the AVA certificate is $250.

You should also stay updated in case the regulations change, and these organizations can help out in this regard:

  • VetMedTeam
  • American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)
  • Mississippi Veterinary Medical Association
  • Humane Society of South Mississippi
  • Mississippi Animal Rescue
  • Veterinary Hospitals Managers Association

READ MORE: How to Become a Veterinary Assistant

State Specific Information

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