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Career Advice on How to Become A Veterinary Assistant and Laboratory Animal Caretaker

General Career Information

Veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers spend their days taking care of animals either in a veterinarian’s office or center or in a laboratory setting.  The work can entail checking to make sure that animals are free of disease and that they are well fed and that their cages and living areas are clean.  Veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers will make sure that work areas are cleaned well.  In terms of hygiene, laboratory animal caretakers will make sure that laboratory equipment and when applicable, surgical equipment is cleaned and sterilized.
 

Career Facts:

Veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers, while they both work with animals, may find that their work environments differ. This is something essential to note before beginning a job search or career planning. Veterinary assistants are usually working with people’s pets, contributing to medical evaluation and care of these animals.  This may mean feeding, watering and generally caring for the welfare of the animals that are in veterinarian care.  Laboratory animal caretakers will be working with animals that are being used for medical research and are more likely to be working with scientists.

Of course, while the jobs are similar, there is no doubt a difference in the work environment when comparing working as a veterinary assistant to working as a laboratory animal caretaker.  Those interested in this general career category should weigh the differences between these two work environments when selecting a job.

 

Career Opportunities and Job Outlook- Above Average:

In 2006, there were about 75,000 veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers in the United States.  That number is expected to grow at an above average pace between now and 2016.

There are a variety of industries where veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caregivers can expect to find employment.  Veterinarian offices, scientific establishments, universities and colleges, medical institutions, the pharmaceutical industry are all potential areas of employment for veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caregivers.

 
Job Outlook is Fair
 

A Day in The Life:

The average day for the average veterinary assistant or laboratory animal caregiver will clearly differ significantly.  The work setting for a laboratory animal caregiver is more clinical and academic, whereas the work environment for a veterinary assistant is, by the nature of the job, more interactive and social.  Veterinarian staff members are prone to interact with animal caregivers.  Further, the fact that most animals at a veterinarians office are there for medical treatment or medical evaluation also changes the overall climate of the job. 

In both these work settings, veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caregivers are likely to help meet the basic daily needs of the animals in their care.  This will mean taking care of feeding, watering and cleaning of cages or living areas.  Also veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caregivers will evaluate the overall health of the animals in their care.

 

Average Salary:

The average salary for veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caregivers is about $11 per hour.
 

Career Training and Qualifications:

In general, veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caregivers acquire their training on the job.
 

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