Nevada veterinary assistant schools help students learn the basics of animal care along with the routine tasks required for this career. Although most veterinary assistants learn their skills on the job, some decide to pursue an education in veterinary technology and find work as a veterinary technologist or technician instead.
Becoming a veterinary assistant requires a high school diploma and on-the-job experience, but students can typically become a veterinary technician after two years or a veterinary technologist after completing a four-year degree program. These programs teach students how to perform a wide range of skills, including:
- Feeding, bathing and exercising animals
- Cleaning cages
- Performing diagnostic tests
- Monitoring animals after surgery
- Providing first aid
- Giving medication or immunizations that veterinarians prescribe
Although veterinary assistants do not need to become certified, some employers prefer to hire candidates who are. While veterinary assistants can become certified as an Approved Veterinary Assistant through the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA), laboratory animal caretakers often seek certification through the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS).
Fast Facts for Veterinary Assistants in Nevada
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the state of Nevada is home to 590 veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers. The following regions in Nevada are home to the bulk of these workers:
- Las Vegas - Paradise: 320
- Reno - Sparks: 190
- Western Central Nevada Nonmetropolitan Area: 40
Since employment in this field is still expanding, government data predicts that many more jobs will be on the way. Specifically, the U.S. Department of Labor predicts that job openings for veterinary assistants in Nevada will increase 13.4 percent from 2012 to 2022.
Salaries for Veterinary Assistants in Nevada
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers in Nevada earned an annual mean wage of $22,110 in 2014, which works out to an hourly wage of $10.63. In the meantime, the national annual mean wage for this occupation was $25,370 in 2014.
Some industries paid higher wages than average in 2014, however. Nationally, the industries that paid the highest annual mean wage in 2014 included:
- Local Government: $40,260
- Pharmaceutical and Medicine Manufacturing: $36,390
- General Medical and Surgical Hospitals: $36,110
- Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools: $34,160
- Scientific Research and Development Services: $32,050
Texas Veterinary Assistant Schools
Pima Medical Institute - Las Vegas
Although Pima Medical Institute doesn't offer a program for veterinary assistants, they do offer an 18-month program for students who want to earn an associate degree in Veterinary Technology. Meanwhile, they also offer a wide range of programs in health-related professions, some of which can be completed online. Enrollment in 2014 included 988 students and tuition and fees that year averaged out to $11,734. During the 2011-12 school year, 54 percent of students at Pima Medical Institute in Las Vegas graduated on time.
Truckee Meadows Community College
Truckee Meadows Community College offers a wide range of certificate and associate degree programs in subjects like veterinary technology, construction management, culinary arts and nursing. Enrollment was made up of 11,106 students in 2014, and tuition and fees that year averaged out to $2,700 for in-state students. During the Fall 2011 semester, which was the last time they reported, 28 percent of Truckee Meadows students graduated on time and 16 percent transferred to a four-year school.
Metro Areas Rated for Salary and Popularity
Employment per 1,000 Residents
Annual Mean Wage in 2014
Las Vegas - Paradise
Reno - Sparks
Western Central Nevada Nonmetropolitan Area
To learn more about veterinary technology programs in Nevada, we reached out to Michele Noreen, Veterinary Technician Program Coordinator of Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno.
What are some of the unique issues that veterinary technicians face in the state of Nevada?
Like most states, the Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners stipulates what veterinary technicians are allowed to do in veterinary practice. An issue that is somewhat unique to Nevada is that a veterinary technician can either study at a traditional veterinary technician program on their path to becoming a licensed vet tech or can become a technician with a Bachelor's degree in a field of science and specific hands on training. This is something that many people in the field hope will go away in the future as the curriculum for a BS in animal science or another area of science is very different from the curriculum taught by veterinary technician programs.
What is the greatest benefit of practicing this field within the state of Nevada?
The field of veterinary medicine is very challenging yet very rewarding. In human medicine, there are various areas of study for a nurse or technician - such as patient care, radiologic technology, dental hygiene, etc. With a veterinary technician, they are performing all of these duties in veterinary medicine! The veterinary technician cares for the patients but also takes the radiographs, does the dental cleanings, monitors anesthesia, etc. The scope of work for veterinary technicians is broader than in human medicine.
How will the job of a veterinary technician change in the next 10 to 20 years?
There are now specialties that veterinary technicians can pursue. Check out the NAVTA website (the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America). This is bringing more recognition for vet techs in the field. One of the challenges to veterinary medicine and veterinary technology in particular is the pay scale - techs are not paid enough, especially in comparison to human medicine. This continues to challenge technicians in the field. With veterinary school now being so expensive and vet tech school still being an affordable option, we may have more people who wanted to go to vet school go to tech school instead. Veterinarians make more money than veterinary technicians but new vets carry so much school debt, it may make more sense to pursue veterinary technology. Both roles are integral to the veterinary field.
- Long Term Occupational Projections, Projections Central, http://projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
- May 2014 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Nevada, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nv.htm
- Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/veterinary-assistants-and-laboratory-animal-caretakers.htm#tab-1
- Veterinary Technologists and Technicians, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/veterinary-technologists-and-technicians.htm#tab-1
- Interview with Michele Noreen, Veterinary Technician Program Coordinator of Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno