What is an Associate Veterinarian?

If you are an animal lover and enjoy helping them out, chances are that veterinary science is meant for you. The post of an associate veterinarian is a beginner’s position but their responsibilities are equally as important as that of an experienced one. An assistant veterinarian assists the Veterinarian in their routine activities and day-to-day processes in the veterinarian’s office. They must also carry out customer-focused activities such as scheduling appointments, liaising with other veterinary staff, and handling billing. Let us know ‘What is an Associate Veterinarian?’

What is an Associate Veterinarian?

What is an Associate Veterinarian?

In today’s article, we share everything that you need to know to pursue a career as an Associate Veterinarian. The topics discussed include:

  • Roles of an Associate Veterinarian
  • Annual wages  of an Associate Veterinarian
  • How to become an Associate Veterinarian?
  • Qualities of a good Associate Veterinarian
  • Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Roles of an Associate Veterinarian:

An associate veterinarian plays a vital role in an animal hospital. Their responsibilities range from taking care of your pets to perhaps scheduling your appointments. Some other integral roles of an associate veterinarian are as follows: 

  • Providing accurate information about the pet to the client to help them understand the needs of their pet’s health condition. 
  • Overseeing the wildlife rehabilitation programs for native species.
  • To mentor the students pursuing veterinary studies – including high school students and those studying for veterinary assistance and veterinary technology studies.
  • To take care of all kinds of local and exotic animals. 
  • Taking care of the wildlife rehabilitation programs for native species that include federal and state rehabilitation licenses. 
  • To supervise laboratory testing, flock management staff for in-house poultry operations, and reagent selection.

Annual Wages of a AV:

Associate Veterinarians can make anywhere between $41,000 to $149,000 per year. On average, they make $78,407 annually in the U.S. The Annual wages of a veterinarian associate vary based on the geographical location, organization, and specialization. Someone working in New York, California, and New Mexico earns higher than veterinarians staying in other places. 

How to Become an Associate Veterinarian?

To become an associate veterinarian, one must undergo years of rigorous education, training, and licenses. The education pathway varies based on geographical location. In India, one can enter Veterinary School after completing high school. While in the U.S.A, one can enter Veterinary School only after finishing the undergraduate degree. The steps to becoming an associate veterinarian are as follows:

Join a veterinarian program from an accredited school

The first step to becoming an associate veterinarian is joining a veterinarian sciences program from an accredited school. There are around 30 Veterinary schools in the U.S. that offer the veterinary program for four years. For the first two years, students learn basic subjects such as anatomy, pharmacology, nutrition, biochemistry, microbiology, immunology, etc. In the last two years, the students must learn more advanced topics such as oncology, dermatology, exotic animal medicine, surgery, and neurology.

Obtain the state license to practice as an associate Veterinarian

The procedure to obtain a license in the U.S. varies from state to state. However, students are typically required to clear the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam (NAVLE) or Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) which is conducted by the National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners (NBVME). The topics included in these exams include laboratory procedures, pharmacology, nutrition, diagnostic imaging, and animal care.  

Opt for clinical residency

After graduating the veterinary school, one must complete their clinical residency where students gain hands-on experience under their supervisors in clinical settings. Students can apply for clinical residency as soon as they completion of their DVM program or after they clear the licensure examination. The residency typically ranged from one to two years which students get the opportunity to improve their medical-related skills.

Develop strong intrapersonal skills

As an associate veterinarian, you must be able to work well with other healthcare members and pet owners. Developing strong intrapersonal skills will not only communicate efficiently but help you to easily collaborate with others. You can provide clear instructions that help everyone to work towards a common goal. 

Qualities of a Good Associate Veterinarian:

Being in the medical field requires a person to have several qualities. Having a good bedside demeanour is the top requirement for being a part of the medical healthcare system. Some qualities of a good associateveterinarian are as follows:


Empathy is the top requirement for anybody in the medical profession. As the patients of the veterinary sciences cannot express their pain and situation through words, the doctor must take special care in fostering the quality of empathy. It helps in offering better treatment to the animals. 


Another quality that anybody in the medical profession should possess is compassion. While the medical profession is very lucrative, it has a lot of stress, and there are chances that one might ignore qualities like being compassionate. Staying focused on the work and understanding its importance will make it easier to experience compassion for the animals. 

Critical Thinking:

Critical thinking is the key to efficient problem-solving. Doctors who possess this quality can handle various challenging problems and ensure a stress-free environment for both themselves and the animals.


In the present landscape, the veterinary medical profession is highly lucrative because more and more people are opting for furry babies. The students who study veterinary sciences can work for various NGOs, Government, and private organisations. Having Empathy, compassion and critical thinking are some of the key qualities that will help you to take care of the animals. 

Frequently asked questions:
  1. What are the work hours of a licensed veterinarian?

A licensed veterinarian normally works a 9-5 job. They may have to keep switching between the day and night shifts but the working hours are pretty much fixed. However, veterinarians with lots of fieldwork may have different work hours.

  1. What are the common workplaces for an associate veterinarian?

An associate veterinarian normally works in clinics and hospitals. They can work on a farms and in other government or private organisations. 

What is an Associate Veterinarian?

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