In order to apply for an apprenticeship as a veterinary assistant, the following subjects should have been graded good or very good at secondary school. In German , because in order to write a report for the veterinarian, there should be an error-free spelling. In mathematics , because good knowledge of basic arithmetic and percentage calculations is required to create calculations. Some knowledge should be available in biology in order to be able to assist the doctor with a treatment and in chemistry that facilitates the work in a laboratory. A certain basic knowledge of data processing should be there, because this is of great benefit for keeping electronic patient files. The training takes place in a veterinary practice or an animal clinic and at the vocational school. The theoretical lessons take place in a specialist class. In order to do an apprenticeship for this profession, one should be interested in documenting certain treatment processes, careful accounting of services rendered and the provision of equipment or dressing material. As a veterinary assistant you perform an advisory function and in some cases have to support the animal owner. If you want to include all of this in your work, you can apply to a veterinarian.
What to do in a doctor's office
The trainee works in the treatment room, in the laboratory or at reception. Their tasks include sterilizing medical instruments , taking blood samples to a laboratory and filling out forms on the computer. You have to deal with sick or injured animals that can sometimes bite or scratch, so you must not let them upset you or become nervous. Dealing with pet owners, who are of course afraid for their pet, is not always easy and requires a certain amount of skill. In order to protect yourself from diseases and infections, protective gloves and a face mask must be worn. Of course, medical confidentiality must also be observed here even by a trainee. She must adapt to the working hours in practice and also be available for any on-call duty.
The training lasts 3 years, but can be shortened by half a year under certain circumstances. In the first 18 months, the following topics are covered in the veterinary practice, with hygiene and infection control playing a major role. Communication, administration and preparing accounts are further tasks. Then the veterinary medicine cabinet is checked, after which small jobs are carried out in a laboratory. Information on X-rays and the associated radiation protection is also given. During this time, the trainees at the vocational school are taught how to receive patients and how to accompany them to treatment. Also how to recognize an infectious disease, how to prevent incidents and what to do during an emergency situation. Now they also learn how to obtain and manage the necessities and they help with the diagnosis and treatment of the patient. It is also important how certain practice processes are organized. An intermediate examination takes place at the end of the second school year.
The last year of training
In the third year of training, patient care is taught in the veterinary practice, you learn about dispensing medication and emergency management. In the third year of training, the vocational school teaches about diseases of the musculoskeletal system and X-ray and radiation protection measures are carried out. Furthermore, assistance is provided during an operation and the animal is then cared for. An important point is also that learn to issue an invoice after a treatment.
In a veterinary practice, the trainee earns around 530 euros in the first year, then 600 euros in the second and 650 euros in the last year. The training itself is free of charge, but the cost of learning materials for the lessons at the vocational school must be paid. The trainee is also responsible for the journey to the place of training or any accommodation there.
The profession of a veterinary assistant is a recognized training occupation and a final examination must be taken. Prerequisites for admission are written proof of training and the certificate of the intermediate examination. The practical part of the exam consists of an exam task and has to be completed in a time of 75 minutes. This involves assisting with an examination of an animal. The written exam is taken in the subjects of business organization and administration, infectious diseases and epidemic protection, radiation protection and veterinary medicine. There are also questions on the topics of economics and social studies.
After the education
If the exam for a veterinary assistant has been successfully completed, she will now find employment in a veterinary practice, a veterinary clinic, in veterinary laboratories, in a zoo or an animal shelter. Of course it is also possible to settle in research. However, those among them who have a higher education entrance qualification can also consider a subsequent course of study.
(Image source: Federal Employment Agency)