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Veterinary Assistant Degrees for Military and Veterans

What is a Veterinary Assistant Degree?

A Veterinary Assistant Degree trains students in the basics of how a veterinary office runs. Students may earn a certification, but they do not have to have one; however, while it isn’t required, it can help increase their odds of landing a job. They can do this within six months to a year online or by taking courses through a community college or trade school.

Veterinary Assistants typically hold entry-level positions. Some tasks include assisting veterinarians in handling animals during exams, feeding, grooming and exercising animals and keeping a clinic’s offices clean. 

They also perform administrative duties like scheduling appointments, managing records, and handling client inquiries. Overall, their role is essential in how well a veterinary practice functions,and their presence ensures the well-being of the animals under their care.

What can you do with a Veterinary Assistant Degree?

As it is an entry-level position, a vet assistant can only tackle the responsibilities mentioned above. However, With more education, they can move on to other, more lucrative jobs in the industry. These include:
  • Vet Tech- Vet techs are essentially nurses to doctors but in a veterinary setting. They help vets prep animals for surgery, administer medications and provide first aid to animals. Veterinary assistants will need to pursue an Associate’s degree and pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination. Annual average salary: $43,740.
  • Animal Clinic Manager- An animal clinic manager works less directly with animals and takes on roles that are more administrative. They are in charge of a vet office’s scheduling and customer relations. They may be required to take business courses if they are dealing with finances. Annual average salary: $132,811. 
  • Veterinarian- A vet treats the injuries and illnesses of animals. They will have an additional four years of graduate studies when attaining their Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree. Courses will be more in-depth and clinically focused in third year. In their fourth year, students will get hands-on and practical experience working with animals. Annual average salary: $107,298.

Is a Veterinary Assistant Degree Hard?

Loving animals is a great reason to become a vet assistant, and while the degree isn’t hard, the job can be. With the degree, students learn the basics in law and ethics in veterinary healthcare, animal anatomy and physiology, restraint techniques, how to conduct basic exams, and pharmaceutical tasks, among other duties. 

Is a Veterinary Assistant Degree worth it?

Animals are unpredictable. They can bite, and assistants may find their days are spent picking up feces and getting urinated on. They may work with abused animals and help with euthanization.

There are also important qualities that vet assistants must possess. According to the BLS, applicants must be communication and detail-oriented, dexterous (as they will be handling animals), empathetic and have physical strength.  

The BLS states that the job market for vet assistants is good and should grow 14% by 2030. However, the pay is low, at just $33,435 annually. This degree can be a stepping stone to more education and higher-paying jobs in the industry. If you love animals and want to start a veterinary career, being a vet assistant is a great way to begin.

Select VA-Approved Colleges with Animal and Livestock Sciences Programs

Ready to start your Degree in Animal and Livestock Sciences? Some partner schools have paid for promotional consideration.

Jefferson State Community College- Jefferson State Community College offers a Veterinary Assistant Associate’s Degree. It has  GI Bill-approved programs, offers credit for military experience, is approved for Tuition Assistance, and awards credit for the  CLEP exam.

Pima Community College- Pima Community College offers Veterinary Assistant Associate’s Degree. Pima Community College has GI Bill approved programs, offers credit for military experience and awards credit for the CLEP exam. Pima Community College is a Yellow Ribbon school and is approved for Tuition Assistance.

Mesa Community College- Mesa Community College offers a Veterinary Assistant Associate’s Degree and has GI Bill approved programs, offers credit for military experience, awards credit for CLEP and  DSST exams and is approved for Tuition Assistance. .

Foothill College- Foothill College offers a Veterinary Assistant Associate’s Degree. Foothill College has GI Bill approved programs and offers credit for military experience.

*Average annual salaries adapted and calculated from sources including and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates. For more information, click here.