Veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers typically do the following:
Veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers also provide nursing care before surgery and other medical procedures.
They may prepare equipment and pass surgical instruments and materials to veterinarians during surgery. They also move animals during testing and other procedures.
Veterinary assistants typically help veterinarians and veterinary technologists and technicians treat injuries and illnesses of animals.
Laboratory animal caretakers’ daily tasks include feeding animals, cleaning kennels, and monitoring animals.
Most workers entering the occupation have a high school diploma or equivalent.
Although certification is not mandatory, it allows workers to demonstrate competency in animal husbandry, health and welfare, and facility administration.
The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) offers the Approved Veterinary Assistant (AVA) designation for veterinary assistants. To qualify for the designation, candidates must graduate from a NAVTA-approved program and pass an exam.
Laboratory animal caretakers become certified through the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS). AALAS offers three levels of certification: Assistant Laboratory Animal Technician (ALAT), Laboratory Animal Technician (LAT), and Laboratory Animal Technologist (LATG). For AALAS certification, candidates must have experience working in a laboratory animal facility and pass an exam.