Are You Right for a Vet Assistant Position?

Do you love animals? Do you want to work with them?If so, you can pursue a career as a vet assistant.

But working as a vet assistant isn’t just about helping the animals in your care. There are more things you have to do in a day that you probably haven’t thought about, as well as rules and regulations you need to follow.

To help you determine if you’re the right fit for the job, here’s everything you need to know about a vet assistant.

What does a vet assistant do?

As a vet assistant, you’ll be working in an animal hospital or clinic and taking care of the animals under the supervision of a vet or vet technician.

You’ll have to do the following tasks:

  • Feed, bathe, and exercise animals.
  • Clean the animals’ cages.
  • Restrain animals during examinations and treatment.
  • Set up, clean, and sterilise examination and operating rooms, as well as the equipment used in them.
  • Use equipment like needles or catheters to treat diseases or perform surgical procedures.
  • Do lab work, draw blood, collect urine samples, administer medicine and vaccinations.
  • Explain to clients why it’s important to have their pet’s teeth cleaned, and so on.
  • Perform clerical duties, such as helping out the receptionist at the front desk.
  • Help with inventory, filling scripts, and updating medical records.
  • Assist with nursing care.

What skills does a vet assistant need?

A person needs soft skills to succeed in this career. You must be able to:

  • Listen actively to understand and follow the vet or vet technician’s instructions.
  • Notice changes in an animal’s condition to allow you to take the appropriate action.
  • Provide excellent customer service — you need a strong desire to help others.
  • Identify and solve problems.
  • Work in a team.
  • Communicative effectively with others.
  • Stay calm in a busy environment.
  • Think critically when making decisions or solving problems to help you determine what your options are, evaluate them, and then choose the option with the most promising outcome.

A Diploma of Pet Care and Vet Assisting can equip you with these skills.

Advantages and disadvantages of being a vet assistant

Like all jobs, working as a vet assistant has its pros and cons. Here’s what they are:


  • Working with animals –This is the best part of the job and most likely why you’re considering working in the veterinary industry. If you love animals like everyone else does in the profession, you’ll be in for a ride. You’ll get to see and work with a variety of animals every day, such as cats, dogs, hamsters, guinea pigs, snakes, lizards, birds, and more.
  • Wearing scrubs –You don’t have to wear a formal suit or dress to work. Simply come in to work in medical scrubs. They’re more affordable and comfortable to wear too.
  • Being part of a team that wants to help animals –When the team shares the same goal, which is helping animals, you’ll not only enjoy each other’s company, you’ll also be able to work better together and achieve your goal.


  • Working with animals can be nasty, sad and dirty –Some animals couldbite or scratch you if they’re scared or aggressive. Some animals could be victims of abuse or be very ill or seriously injured and when all hope is lost, the only option is to euthanize them and dispose of their remains, which you may find hard to do or upsetting. What’s more, working with animals means you’ll also be wearing poop, vomit, anal glands, dog fur, and cat hair throughout the day.
  • Working at night and in the holidays –Many animal hospitals and clinics are open 24/7, so your work schedule might include night and holiday shifts.

Legal aspects related to being a vet assistant in Australia

If you wish to work as a vet assistant in Australia, you must adhere to the legislation in force in your state or territory. For example, you must follow the veterinary professional standards developed by the Australasian Veterinary Boards Council. These standards set out what’s acceptable veterinary practice to ensure the quality of the Australian veterinary profession.

You must also adhere to the national policies developed by the Australian Veterinary Association‘s Policy Advisory Council. These policies are approved by the Board and relate to the ethical dimension of animal health and welfare, the use of veterinary medicines and equipment, veterinary procedures, professional practices for veterinarians, and more.

Do you still want to become a vet assistant?

If you can do what the job entails, have the required skills, don’t mind the cons, and can follow the rules and regulations associated with the profession, you might find being a vet assistant a very rewarding and satisfying career.

Interested? Check our Diploma of Pet Care and Vet Assisting and enrol today!

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Gladys Mae


Gladys Mae serves as the General Manager and Head of Student Services at the International Career Institute. Gladys holds a degree in Mass Communication - Broadcast Media from the University of San Jose-Recoletos. She joined ICI in 2010 and has over the past 12 years been instrumental in providing leadership and guidance to staff and students alike. Prior to joining ICI Gladys led a multifaceted career with key roles in the banking and business process outsourcing industries.