Top 5 Skills Needed to Succeed as a Veterinary Assistant

If you would like to work with animals for a living, the right training can turn your ambition into a fulfilling career as a Veterinary Assistant in less than a year! Question? How do you know if this is the right career path for you?

Veterinary Assistants are required to learn all aspects of animal care, including restraint, medical conditions, diets, surgeries, parasites, vaccines and more. This requires a certain personality, patience and commitment to help pets, pet owners and veterinarians.

Here are five skills you will need to excel as a Veterinary Assistant.

1. Communication Skills:

Veterinary Assistants work on the frontlines connecting vets, pets and pet owners. Good communication skills help them send clear messages while listening carefully to pet owners’ questions and concerns. Vet Assistants are responsible for answering phone calls, booking appointments and providing pet owners with important animal care information.

An important part of joining a veterinary clinic or hospital is having good working relationships with the entire veterinary team. Your coworkers will include vets, vet technicians and other Veterinary Assistants. Having a good attitude can help make your interactions with others productive, and help keep everyone on the same page to avoid messy misunderstandings. Nonverbal communication is also important. A confident posture and a smile can go a long way!

2. Empathy Skills:

The best Veterinary Assistants know how to engage with pet owners in a genuine and respectful way. You must be able to interact with people from all walks of life and help them feel comfortable. Vet Assistants often encounter clients that are worried, or distraught about the health condition of their pets. It is a Vet Assistant’s duty to understand and sympathize with how the clients are feeling and offer reassurance and support.

Empathy skills can also help you work with the many animals that you’ll meet. By understanding their stress and fear, you can use a comforting, relaxed and assuring attitude to calm them down, which puts them in a safer position to receive treatment.

A veterinary assistant using a stethoscope to listen to a dog's heart
As a Veterinary Assistant, your patience can help pet owners and animals feel at ease

With a Veterinary Assistant diploma you will be trained to productively interact with clients, restrain pets and more. These skills will help pets and pet owners have a positive experience every time they visit the clinic.

3. Organizational / Time Management Skills:

Veterinary Assistants perform many administrative duties such as planning, scheduling, coordinating resources and keeping spaces in order. These organizational skills are essential to assure the clinic’s or hospital’s operations run smoothly.

Vet Assistants should also have time management skills. There can be many tasks which are equally important and require attention at the same time which can be very challenging. It is up to the Vet Assistant to not only prioritize their own tasks, but also the needs of the entire veterinary team. Though it may be hard at times, it is extremely rewarding to see the positive impact you make to the clinic or hospital.

4. Technical Skills:

Veterinary hospitals and clinics rely on technical machinery and lab equipment for accuracy and diagnostics when dealing with sick or injured animals. Vet Assistants must be comfortable using these technologies so they can help with blood work and urinalysis, disinfection and sterilization of surgical instruments, as well as assisting with X-ray positioning and development for diagnostic purposes.

Veterinary Assistants also use technical skills in the front office. You must become familiar with vet clinic software which maintains medical records and clients’ contact information. It is also used for scheduling and booking appointments. By being able to use technical software and machinery, the Vet Assistant saves the veterinarian valuable time which can be better spent focussing on the patient.

A veterinary assistant analyzing an x-ray in an imaging room

5. A Passion for Animals:

Above all, successful Veterinary Assistants are passionate about animal welfare. They seek out this career because they want to make a difference in the lives of animals.

There’s nothing more rewarding than following your passion and doing what you love!

Does this sound like you? Visit Granville College to learn more about the Veterinary Assistant Diploma program!

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