There are many differences between veterinary technicians and veterinary assistants, including the tools and programs used by veterinary assistants. The training, duties and schooling are different for veterinary assistants compared to veterinary technicians, so the tools and programs they use are obviously different as well. If you’re thinking of becoming a veterinary assistant, it would be a good idea to become familiar with the tools and programs you will be using on the job before you begin training or applying.
Veterinary assistants aren’t required to complete a two-year degree, like veterinary technicians are, and although some assistants do get some veterinary training through certificate or diploma programs, you will likely have very little training before you begin this sort of job. While a veterinary technician is more like a nurse, a veterinary assistant is more of a clerical or administrative position, where most of the training is done on the job. You will likely be trained to use some of the most basic veterinary tools in the exam room, although your job there will more than likely be limited to holding the animal still for checkups and prepping the room for exams. You will also probably be responsible for cleaning out the exam rooms and kennels after animals have been in them.
The computer programs used by veterinary assistants are among the more basic and commonly known in the professional world, such as Word, Excel and QuickBooks. If you have never used any of these programs before, it would be a good idea to take a basic computer technology class at a community college or technical school so that you’ll have a general knowledge of the most common programs used in offices today. Your other clerical duties will likely involve answering phones, filing patient records, data entry, greeting patients and their owners, selling products and billing clients for services rendered.
If you want to become a veterinary assistant, you will need a high school diploma or GED, but other than that, most jobs don’t require formal training. Many employers will prefer at least a certificate or the completion of some veterinary classes, while others will be more than happy to train you on the job. More than anything, it’s important to get as much experience as possible working with animals and build an understanding of what types of tools and programs you will need to use while on the job.