How to Become a Veterinary Assistant in Massachusetts

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With an increased number of pet owners in Massachusetts, there’s an increased need for veterinary assistants as well.

This occupation is for someone who loves working with animals and interacting with people.

If you fit the bill, read on to find out what you must do to become a vet assistant in Massachusetts!

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Veterinary Assistant Employment and Job Duties in Massachusetts

There are many types of facilities that offer services to animals in Massachusetts, so finding a job should be easy.

Here are some examples:

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

Knowing the best businesses in the state is also good, so have a look below:

  • The Veterinary Centers of America with centers in Everett, Quincy, Brockton, and Hanson.
  • The Banfield Pet Hospital with centers in Cambridge, Everett, and Salem.
  • The Vetco Wellness Centers and Vaccination Clinics, found in Cambridge, Waltham, Falmouth, and Mansfield.
  • New England Animal Medical Center in West Bridgewater
  • New England Pet Hospice and Home Care in Sudbury
  • Massachusetts SPCA in Boston
  • The Foster Hospital for Small Animals, at the Cumming School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University in Medford
  • Boston Veterinary Clinic in Boston

Of course, many other businesses and centers cater to the needs of animals if the ones above are not in your city.

Remember that when hiring, all the companies have a different set of requirements that may involve having some experience in the field.

If this is not your case, you can consider volunteering first and do something else, until you accumulate enough experience for the desired position.

Even your duties will be different from one facility to the next.

A veterinary assistant is expected to complete tasks like the following:

  • 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 Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, like in many other states, individuals don’t need to get licensed nor to follow any set of rules to work as veterinary assistants.

This means that you also don’t need to undergo training, although doing so will certainly increase your chances of finding better employment.

It’s best to enroll in a training program that awards a nationally recognized certification.

NAVTA issues such a credential and it’s called AVA, or Approved Veterinary Assistant.

For this, you’ll have to first attend a training program with approval from NAVTA.

The programs with approval from NAVTA are not always available.

Check to see if the following institutions have any NAVTA program available currently:

  • Boston West Veterinary Emergency and Specialty, Natick
  • Massachusetts Veterinary Referral Hospital, Woburn
  • Bulger Veterinary Hospital, North Andover

To get certified as an AVA, you have to pass an exam.

However, NAVTA also accepts the following paths for the certification exam.


This program is designed for those with no prior veterinary experience.

Experiential Learner and Veterinary Assistant Program

For these 2 options, you need to be employed at least part-time in a facility that offers services to animals.

You’ll take the exam when you accumulate the minimum experience expected of you.

Earning Other Credentials

Many individuals choose to have a career in this field.

The following degrees help them achieve their dreams:

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

Such a degree can be obtained from one of the schools seen below.

Top 9 Schools in Massachusetts

School NameAddress
Becker College61 Sever St, Worcester, Massachusetts 01609-2165
Berkshire Community College1350 West Street, Pittsfield, Massachusetts 01201-5786
Cumming School of Veterinary Medicine200 Westboro Rd, North Grafton, MA 01536
Ethos Health Veterinary Assistant Program20 Cabot Road Woburn, MA 01801
Holyoke Community College303 Homestead Ave, Holyoke, Massachusetts 01040
Massasoit Community College1 Massasoit Blvd. Brockton, MA 02303
Mount Ida College777 Dedham Street, Newton, Massachusetts 02459
North Shore Community College1 Ferncroft Rd, Danvers, Massachusetts 01923-0840
Worcester Technical High School1 Skyline Drive Worcester, MA 01605

Most of these programs are approved by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education.

While the exact curriculum will differ, you’ll generally study:

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

Some of the schools also offer specializations, such as:

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

The duration of an Associate’s degree program is 2 years while a Bachhelor’sdegree lasts for 4 years.

Salary Information for a Veterinary Assistant in Massachusetts

Your experience, specialization, or degree, will definitely influence how much you earn as a vet assistant in Massachusetts.

Annual Salary Range:

Average Salary of Veterinary Assistants in Massachusetts

City NameSalary
New Bedford$33,611
Fall River$33,611
* Salary information last updated 2024

Regional Salary in Massachusetts

RegionEmployedAvg. Annual SalaryAvg. Hourly PayTop 10% Annual SalaryBottom 10% Annual Salary
Barnstable Town, MA80$38,890$18.7$46,500$34,520
Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH1,640$44,020$21.17$58,860$31,820
Springfield, MA-CT140$38,020$18.28$46,300$29,640
Worcester, MA-CT210$40,560$19.5$51,900$31,850
* 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 Massachusetts

If you choose to become an AVA, you’ll have to renew your certificate every 2 years.

These organizations have more resources for those working with animals in Massachusetts:

  • VetMedTeam
  • Massachusetts Veterinary Medical Association
  • American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)
  • Massachusetts Humane Society
  • Massachusetts Animal Shelters and Human Societies
  • Animal Protection Center of Southeastern Massachusetts
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