How To Become a Veterinary Anesthesia Assistant

Licensed veterinarians are in great demand. To become a veterinarian, you have to earn a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree and be state-licensed to be able to practice. It is quite difficult to be admitted to a veterinary school. In the US there are only 28 colleges that meet the accreditation standards set by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).

Veterinarians are highly-educated doctors who swear to protect the health of animals as well as humans. Even with the high demand, the veterinary medicine field is still under-employed. It is a highly specialized field and there are only a few institutions offering the course of study, which limits admissions.

In recent years, specializations in veterinary medicine have become a trend. The AVMA recognizes twenty veterinary specialties much like human medical practice. This includes specializations in radiology, oncology, neurology, ophthalmology, emergency and critical care, cardiology, surgery, internal medicine, behavior, dermatology and anesthesiology among others. Specialization in any of these fields requires more training after you graduate through residency and internship and passing another examination.

1.    If you want to move further up the rank, and increase your salary, then you can enroll in a Veterinary Technician Anesthesia certification course that is being offered by the Academy of Veterinary Technician Anesthetists (AVTA).

2.    After you have passed your training, you need to get a state license to be able to practice. Each state has different regulations when it comes to licensing or requirements. Candidates have to take oral, written and practical examinations regulated by the Board of Veterinary Examiners of each state. Some states allow an examinee’s passing scores to be transferred between states provided the same type of examination is used by both states.

3.    Once licensed you have to work for three years and devote 6000 hours in veterinary medicine, with 4,500 of those hours centered on administering anesthesia care to patients and complete other requirements before you can get certified in your specialization.

  • Complete more than 40 hours of continuing education related to anesthesia administration. Requirement is 40, so you should accumulate more hours to be on the safe side.
  • Submit some 50 to 75 varied case logs that include cases from ASA I-V (classification of patients with severe systemic disease that is life-threatening). A total of 50 cases must be approved by the certification committee
  • Submit properly formatted case reports that will show your skills in difficult cases. The format is as follows:
i.    Date and Case Log Number
ii.    Name and Brief Description of Patient
iii.    Summary of Patient’s physical status on presentation
iv.    Reason/s for anesthesia
v.    Anticipated patient complication
vi.    Anesthetic plan
vii.    Anesthesia care/Patient support
viii.    Post anesthesia recovery
ix.    Copy of anesthesia record

  • Certification from the licensed veterinarian that lists your abilities and outlines your capability to perform all the skills required of a Veterinary Technician Anesthesia specialist.

4.    Once you have compiled all the required documents, you can then submit these together with your application for certification.

The veterinary field is very competitive. It is a long, uphill climb to be a licensed practitioner but your hard work will definitely pay off. With the fierce demand for specialists in the field, there are plenty of jobs that are available and the remuneration is infinitely rewarding.


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