Whether you’re interested in entering the veterinary field or expanding an existing role in the industry, completing a veterinary assistant program and earning a certification can be a smart move. Veterinary assistants are an integral part of a veterinary medical team, making this a rewarding career choice.

Further, this field is experiencing significant growth, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts 20% growth in the next ten years. Currently, there are about 26,800 job openings per year.

What Is a Veterinary Assistant?

A veterinary assistant’s role is to support the staff at a veterinary clinic or other setting in which animals receive medical care. The duties of a veterinary assistant may vary based on the scope of the role and the needs of the practice but may include the following:

  • Animal handling and restraint
  • Assistance with medical procedures
  • Patient care and monitoring
  • Client communication and education
  • Facility maintenance and sanitation


As a veterinary assistant, you will work under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian or supervising DVM (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine).

Within the veterinary hospital industry are multiple members of a veterinary medical care team, which can sometimes lead to confusion about the various roles. While a veterinary technician and a vet assistant sound similar, there are distinct differences in their roles and responsibilities.

Specifically, veterinary technicians may undergo more formal education and take courses related to animal care technologies, while vet assistants may not need a formal education and can instead enter the field with successful completion of a certification or on-the-job veterinary assistant training.  

Pathways To Becoming a Certified Veterinary Assistant

If you’d like to become a certified veterinary assistant, you can complete a certified veterinary assistant program (CVA program for short) and receive a certification. Requirements vary by state, but you will typically need a high school diploma or equivalent before enrolling in the program.

In order to be able to take the certification exam, you must also complete a training program. If you want to take the Approved Veterinary Assistant Examination, you must first enroll in and finish a training program that’s approved by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA). There is also a path toward certification through the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).

There are also progressive CVA levels to bolster your career. Each CVA level has different required skills and competencies required to advance.

The Role of Approved Programs in Vet Assistant Certification

Enrolling in an approved certified veterinary assistant program is crucial to ensure you receive quality instruction and can enter the profession equipped with the skills needed to succeed. This is imperative to educate veterinary assistants to help protect animal welfare, while giving you valuable credentials for career advancement.

Examining the Vet Assistant Certification Exam

Being able to pass the certification examination requires scoring a 70% or better and submitting proof of completion of the Skills Validation Checklist. The exam is multiple choice and consists of 400 questions about medical terminology, veterinary practice office procedures, and nursing care.

It can be nerve-wracking to take an exam, so we recommend doing practice exams so that you can identify weak areas and knowledge gaps. You can also turn to the Internet for supplemental online training and online courses, including getting additional practice answering questions in areas likely to be tested.

Career Opportunities and Benefits of Certification

Being a veterinary assistant is a rewarding career, and a CVA certification can make you more marketable and provide job security. As the industry expands, having a CVA program on your resume can make you increasingly desirable to veterinary companies looking for vet assistants who have more than just basic skills.

In terms of what you can expect to earn, there’s a wide range based on location, experience, and your level of certification. In 2024, the average salary range was between $28,550 per year to $46,630. Some veterinary medical personnel may also receive benefits, including health insurance, paid time off, sick pay, bonuses, and discounts for veterinary services.

Continuing Education and Renewal of Certification

After you receive a certification, you must renew it every two years and submit proof of receiving continuing education credits (typically by attending professional seminars presented by industry experts) to ensure you are up-to-date on the essential skills required for animal care.

You can expect to receive a renewal notice in the mail up to 90 days before your certification expires. If you do not renew in time, you may be notified by email of the lapse.


Learning is a never-ending process, and it’s something to support and celebrate. Weave provides veterinarians and their techs with tools that streamline your practice, freeing brain power for educational pursuits. To see Weave in action, schedule a demo.

Want to see
more about

9 out of 10 people check online reviews before choosing a business

Weave helps you easily collect and monitor reviews on Google and Facebook. These reviews can be some of the best marketing for your business.

Schedule Demo