How to Become a Veterinary Assistant in Iowa

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If you like animals and live in Iowa, you should consider becoming a vet tech.

So, check out the info below on how to start your new career in the industry.

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Get information on Veterinary Assistant programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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Veterinary Assistant Employment and Job Duties in Iowa

These are many facilities where you can apply for a vet tech position:

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

Every facility has its own rules and needs, so your daily tasks as a veterinarian’s assistant will vary.

Some of the duties you will need to accomplish on a daily basis include:

  • 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

You can opt for an internship or voluntary based position if you don’t have any experience with pets.

You will be able to find a job if you check out the next resources:

  • Iowa Veterinary Medical Association
  • Central Iowa Veterinary Technician Association
  • National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA)
  • Veterinary Career Network
  • Vet Tech Life, an online journal for veterinary technicians
  • Vetcetera

Becoming Certified as a Vet Assistant in Iowa

You don’t have to meet any special requirements to become a vet tech in Iowa.

However, you will have to show a high school diploma or a GED.

Some facilities might also request:

  • COMPASS test
  • Proof you are a resident of the state
  • A meeting up with a mentor

You can also join a certificate program and choose a diploma.

The state of Iowa offers the AVA (Approved Veterinary Assistant) certification for vet tech candidates.

This certification is offered by NAVTA.

The program you join has to be accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA).

You also have a variety of specializations to choose from:

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

The most convenient method to get a certification is to enroll in a training program.

You can choose an in-person program, or an online course if you don’t have the time to go on campus.

Some of the topics you will study in class are:

  • 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

During your training program, the theory will be mixed with lab hours.

In the last semesters, you will attend more lab hours than theory hours.

In Iowa, the trade school that provides vet tech programs can be seen in the table below.

Top 7 Schools in Iowa

School NameAddress
Des Moines Area Community College2006 Ankeny Blvd, Ankeny, Iowa 50023-3993
Eastern Iowa Community College District306 W River Dr, Davenport, Iowa 52801-1221
Iowa Lakes Community College19 S 7th St, Estherville, Iowa 51334-2295
Iowa Western Community College2700 College Rd, Council Bluffs, Iowa 51503-1057
Kirkwood Community College6301 Kirkwood Blvd SW, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52406-2068
Northeast Iowa Community College1625 Hwy 150, Calmar, Iowa 52132-0400
Western Iowa Tech Community College4647 Stone Ave, Sioux City, Iowa 51102-5199

After your enrollment in the program, you will have to provide:

  • A tuberculosis clearance within a year
  • A tetanus vaccine within 10 years
  • Health insurance
  • A criminal background check

The training programs have a duration or about 2 years.

You could consider an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, for better credentials.

So, you can either get a B.S. in Veterinary Technology or a Associate’s Degree in Veterinary Technology.

You will also need to pass a certification test, the VTNE (Veterinary Technician National Examination).

This test has a duration of 3 hours, has 150 questions, and you will need to pay a $300 fee.

You should also register with the state of Iowa, as this will provide you more job opportunities.

Your vet tech license has to be renewed once in 3 years.

Before you can apply for renewal, you need to take 30 additional hours of class.

Salary Information for a Veterinary Assistant in Iowa

According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, vet techs in Iowa earn a yearly salary of $29,859.

The highest salaries can be seen in regions like Cedar Rapids, Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, and Des Moines-West Des Moines.

Vet techs with some experience in the field also have the chance for a higher salary.

Annual Salary Range:

Average Salary of Veterinary Assistants in Iowa

City NameSalary
Des Moines$30,734
Cedar Rapids$30,195
Sioux City$27,086
Iowa City$29,947
Council Bluffs$30,088
West Des Moines$30,734
* Salary information last updated 2024

Regional Salary in Iowa

RegionEmployedAvg. Annual SalaryAvg. Hourly PayTop 10% Annual SalaryBottom 10% Annual Salary
Ames, IA110$46,540$22.38$63,990$29,720
Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL80$31,610$15.2$42,230$27,620
Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA160$33,190$15.96$43,260$25,400
Iowa City, IA30$33,470$16.09$46,940$24,070
Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA40$31,600$15.19$37,150$28,580
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers, OCC Code 31-9096, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Additional Information About Vet Assistants in Iowa

If becoming a vet tech is one of your dreams, you can even become a full-time vet in the future.

The most crucial aspect is to join a suitable training school and finish a program.

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