How to Become a Veterinary Assistant in Washington

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If you are interested in working in a lucrative field and love animals, a vet assistant career might be right for you.

Check out the requirements in Washington to learn more about this job.

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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 Washington

Once you are trained, you can work for various facilities, which include the following:

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

Being a vet assistant will not get boring, as you will have many daily tasks.

These will include but not limited to:

  • 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 always choose an externship first, or even volunteer, to learn about dealing with animals.

Becoming Certified as a Vet Assistant in Washington

In Washington, vet assistant certification is not required by law.

However, most companies prefer to employ vet assistants who have a certification.

For that, you can choose a training program that suits your needs.

After you finish training, you will be eligible to apply for the AVA (Approved Veterinary Assistant) certification.

The vet assistant certification in Washington is provided by the NAVTA for those who graduate from a training program it approved.

If you are looking to pursue more credentials, consider a specialization.

Some of these include:

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

In Washington, there are numerous vet assistant programs you can enroll in either online or in person.

Online training programs are a good option if you are hired or cannot move around to get to the campus.

The training programs for vet assistants include theory classes, but also hands-on practice.

The theory covers the subjects below:

  • 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

As of now, the training programs for vet assistants in Washington can be seen in this next table.

Top 6 Schools in Washington

School NameAddress
Lower Columbia College1600 Maple St. Longview, WA 98632
Northwest Career & Technical Academy2205 West Campus Place Mount Vernon, WA 98273
Pima Medical Institute555 S. Renton Village Place Renton, WA 98057
Pima Medical Institute9709 3rd Ave N.E. Suite 400 Seattle, WA 98115
Renton Technical College3000 NE 4th St. Renton, WA 98056
Skagit Valley College2405 E. College Way, Mount Vernon, Washington 98273

If you work in a vet place for at least 20 hours weekly, you are eligible to become an experiential learner.

The training programs for vet assistants in Washington can last between 6 months and 2 years.

If you choose a college program instead of a diploma, you can be issued a B.S. in Veterinary Technology or an Associate’s Degree in Veterinary Technology.

In Washington, you will have to pass the VTNE (Veterinary Technician National Examination) exam to become certified.

The exam is available through the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB).

To join the test, you need to send in a fee and schedule it online.

The subjects will cover:

  • Emergency Medicine/Critical Care
  • Dentistry
  • Pain Management/Analgesia
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Surgical Nursing
  • Pharmacy and Pharmacology
  • Laboratory Procedures
  • Anesthesia
  • Animal Care and Nursing

You should keep in mind that after 2 years, your vet assistant certification will not be valid anymore.

To renew it, you have to submit a fee of $10 but also attend 10 more hours of education.

Salary Information for a Veterinary Assistant in Washington

According to the research done by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, vet assistants in Washington have a median yearly salary of $33,322.

However, salaries vary according to the area you live in, your experience in the field, and your credentials.

Annual Salary Range:

Average Salary of Veterinary Assistants in Washington

City NameSalary
Federal Way$33,816
* Salary information last updated 2024

Regional Salary in Washington

RegionEmployedAvg. Annual SalaryAvg. Hourly PayTop 10% Annual SalaryBottom 10% Annual Salary
Bellingham, WA100$37,380$17.97$45,500$31,400
Bremerton-Silverdale, WA150$37,890$18.22$48,220$31,470
Kennewick-Richland, WA100$37,430$18$47,470$31,810
Mount Vernon-Anacortes, WA60$37,740$18.14$47,670$31,770
Olympia-Tumwater, WA180$37,230$17.9$43,140$31,650
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA2,220$40,410$19.43$45,810$36,640
Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA270$35,550$17.09$42,330$30,610
Yakima, WA110$35,450$17.04$43,750$31,140
* 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 Washington

Some other useful resources include:

  • Washington Veterinary Technician Association
  • Big Sky Veterinary Technician Association
  • National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA)
  • Veterinary Career Network
  • Vet Tech Life
  • Vetcetera
  • Where Techs Connect
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