Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers

veterinarian
$34,740 Median Wage (2022)
26,800 Projected job openings (2022-2032)
20.50% Projected growth (2022-2032)

Feed, water, and examine pets and other nonfarm animals for signs of illness, disease, or injury in laboratories and animal hospitals and clinics. Clean and disinfect cages and work areas, and sterilize laboratory and surgical equipment. May provide routine postoperative care, administer medication orally or topically, or prepare samples for laboratory examination under the supervision of veterinary or laboratory animal technologists or technicians, veterinarians, or scientists.

Experience Requirements Overview

  • Job Zone Two: Some Preparation Needed
  • Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.
  • These occupations usually require a high school diploma.
  • Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.

Education, Training and Experience

Required Level of Education: High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED)

Related Work Experience: N.A.

On-Site or In-Plant Training: N.A.

On-the-Job Training: Anything beyond short demonstration, up to and including 1 month

Detailed Work Activities

  • Order medical supplies or equipment.
  • Monitor patients to detect health problems.
  • Monitor patient progress or responses to treatments.
  • Give medications or immunizations.
  • Clean medical equipment.
  • Maintain medical equipment or instruments.
  • Administer basic health care or medical treatments.
  • Clean patient rooms or patient treatment rooms.
  • Hold patients to ensure proper positioning or safety.
  • Conduct diagnostic tests to determine patient health.
  • Control prescription refills or authorizations.
  • Collect biological specimens from patients.
  • Assess physical conditions of patients to aid in diagnosis or treatment.
  • Assist practitioners to perform medical procedures.
  • Prepare medical instruments or equipment for use.
  • Feed patients.
  • Assist patients with daily activities.
  • Record vital statistics or other health information.
  • Teach medical procedures or medical equipment use to patients.
  • Prepare patient treatment areas for use.
  • Stock medical or patient care supplies.
  • Dispose of biomedical waste in accordance with standards.
  • Schedule patient procedures or appointments.
  • Perform clerical work in medical settings.
  • Prepare medical reports or documents.
  • Process medical billing information.
  • Inventory medical supplies or equipment.
  • Sell products or services.

Work Values

Achievement

Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.

Working Conditions

Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.

Recognition

Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.

Relationships

Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.

Support

Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.

Independence

Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.

Tasks

  • Hold or restrain animals during veterinary procedures.
  • Monitor animals recovering from surgery and notify veterinarians of any unusual changes or symptoms.
  • Fill medication prescriptions.
  • Clean and maintain kennels, animal holding areas, examination or operating rooms, or animal loading or unloading facilities to control the spread of disease.
  • Examine animals to detect behavioral changes or clinical symptoms that could indicate illness or injury.
  • Perform routine laboratory tests or diagnostic tests, such as taking or developing x-rays.
  • Assist veterinarians in examining animals to determine the nature of illnesses or injuries.
  • Administer medication, immunizations, or blood plasma to animals as prescribed by veterinarians.
  • Collect laboratory specimens, such as blood, urine, or feces, for testing.
  • Perform office reception duties, such as scheduling appointments or helping customers.
  • Clean, maintain, and sterilize instruments or equipment.
  • Record information relating to animal genealogy, feeding schedules, appearance, behavior, or breeding.
  • Provide emergency first aid to sick or injured animals.
  • Prepare surgical equipment and pass instruments or materials to veterinarians during surgical procedures.
  • Educate or advise clients on animal health care, nutrition, or behavior problems.
  • Prepare examination or treatment rooms by stocking them with appropriate supplies.
  • Prepare feed for animals according to specific instructions, such as diet lists or schedules.
  • Provide assistance with euthanasia of animals or disposal of corpses.
  • Write reports, maintain research information, or perform clerical duties.
  • Perform hygiene-related duties, such as clipping animals' claws or cleaning and polishing teeth.
  • Perform enemas, catheterizations, ear flushes, intravenous feedings, or gavages.
  • Perform accounting duties, such as bookkeeping, billing customers for services, or maintaining inventories.
  • Exercise animals or provide them with companionship.
  • Place orders to restock inventory of hospital or laboratory supplies.
  • Sell pet food or supplies to customers.
  • Dust, spray, or bathe animals to control insect pests.
  • Administer anesthetics during surgery and monitor the effects on animals.
  • Groom, trim, or clip animals' coats.

Work Styles

Achievement/Effort

Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.

Persistence

Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.

Initiative

Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.

Leadership

Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.

Cooperation

Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.

Concern for Others

Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.

Social Orientation

Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.

Self-Control

Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.

Stress Tolerance

Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.

Adaptability/Flexibility

Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.

Dependability

Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.

Attention to Detail

Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.

Integrity

Job requires being honest and ethical.

Independence

Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.

Innovation

Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.

Analytical Thinking

Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.

Data Source: This page includes information from the O*NET 28.0 Database by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license. O*NET® is a trademark of USDOL/ETA. This page includes Employment Projections program, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics program, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.