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Veterinary Assistant or Laboratory Animal Caretaker

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What Do Veterinary Assistant or Laboratory Animal Caretaker Do?

Veterinary Assistant Job Description Feed, water, and examine pets and other nonfarm animals for signs of illness, disease, or injury in laboratories and animal hospitals and clinics. Clean and disinfect cages and work areas, and sterilize laboratory and surgical equipment. May provide routine post-operative care, administer medication orally or topically, or prepare samples for laboratory examination under the supervision of veterinary or laboratory animal technologists or technicians, veterinarians, or scientists.

Life As a Veterinary Assistant

  • Clean and maintain kennels, animal holding areas, examination or operating rooms, or animal loading or unloading facilities to control the spread of disease.
  • Examine animals to detect behavioral changes or clinical symptoms that could indicate illness or injury.
  • Prepare surgical equipment and pass instruments or materials to veterinarians during surgical procedures.
  • Sell pet food or supplies to customers.
  • Write reports, maintain research information, or perform clerical duties.
  • Perform hygiene-related duties, such as clipping animals' claws or cleaning and polishing teeth.

What Skills Do You Need to Work as a Veterinary Assistant?

Below is a list of the skills most Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers say are important on the job.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Service Orientation: Actively looking for ways to help people.

Social Perceptiveness: Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Coordination: Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

  • Veterinary Attendant
  • Research Animal Attendant
  • Small Animal Caretaker
  • Animal Care Provider
  • Animal Caregiver

What Kind of Veterinary Assistant Job Opportunities Are There?

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 83,800 jobs in the United States for Veterinary Assistant or Laboratory Animal Caretaker. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 19.3% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 16,200 new jobs for Veterinary Assistant or Laboratory Animal Caretaker by 2026. There will be an estimated 15,500 positions for Veterinary Assistant per year.


The states with the most job growth for Veterinary Assistant are Utah, Nevada, and North Dakota. Watch out if you plan on working in Ohio, Maine, or Maryland. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

How Much Does a Veterinary Assistant Make?

The average yearly salary of a Veterinary Assistant ranges between $19,950 and $38,890.


Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers who work in Massachusetts, Maine, or Alaska, make the highest salaries.

How much do Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers make in each U.S. state?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $23,950
Alaska $32,170
Arizona $29,300
Arkansas $25,640
California $32,480
Colorado $30,510
Connecticut $34,850
Delaware $27,750
Florida $27,450
Georgia $25,980
Hawaii $30,050
Idaho $27,420
Illinois $28,060
Indiana $28,750
Iowa $28,410
Kansas $28,680
Kentucky $25,380
Louisiana $24,310
Maine $34,680
Maryland $29,280
Massachusetts $36,720
Michigan $26,800
Minnesota $29,830
Mississippi $23,350
Missouri $28,110
Montana $27,000
Nebraska $27,640
Nevada $28,010
New Hampshire $27,730
New Jersey $29,960
New Mexico $25,030
New York $32,320
North Carolina $28,830
North Dakota $25,120
Ohio $26,380
Oklahoma $25,080
Oregon $30,850
Pennsylvania $28,840
Rhode Island $24,850
South Carolina $25,450
South Dakota $24,610
Tennessee $24,960
Texas $26,410
Utah $24,750
Vermont $30,400
Virginia $26,750
Washington $31,180
West Virginia $24,050
Wisconsin $26,870
Wyoming $29,190

What Tools & Technology do Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Microsoft Access
  • Word processing software
  • Scheduling software
  • Practice management software PMS
  • Labeling software
  • IDEXX Laboratories IDEXX Cornerstone
  • McAllister Software Systems AVImark

How do I Become a Veterinary Assistant?

Learn what Veterinary Assistant or Laboratory Animal Caretaker education requirements there are.


How many years of work experience do I need?


Where Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers Work


The table below shows some of the most common industries where those employed in this career field work.


Similar Careers

Those thinking about becoming a Veterinary Assistant or Laboratory Animal Caretaker might also be interested in the following careers:

Are you already one of the many Veterinary Assistant or Laboratory Animal Caretaker in the United States? If you’re thinking about changing careers, these fields are worth exploring:


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More about our data sources and methodologies.

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