A veterinary assistant works under the supervision and guidance of licensed veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and research scientists in caring for animals and assisting with exams and procedures. In the US, veterinary assistants earn $25,509 per year, compared to C$28,500 ($21,546 USD) in Canada. Earnings in Australia and New Zealand are similar at AU$45,000 ($33,949 USD) and NZ$42,479 ($30,822 USD), respectively. Among the countries reviewed in this guide, UK veterinary assistants fall on the lower end of the payscale at £15,105 ($16,838 USD). Salaries vary worldwide as further outlined in this guide.
How Much Does a Veterinary Assistant Make?
The chart below outlines salary ranges with US dollar conversions for veterinary assistants worldwide.
Veterinary Assistants Salary Determinant Factors
Salaries vary worldwide for veterinary assistants with geographic region having the greatest influence on income. Additional details on a career as a veterinary assistant and pay in select countries worldwide are explained in the following paragraphs.
1. How Much Does a Veterinary Assistant Make by Country
Veterinary Assistant Salary in the US
Veterinary assistants in the US earn between just under $19,000 and $33,000 per year. Those paid on an hourly rate earn between $9 and $15 per hour, and overtime pay ranges from $14 to $23 per hour. Bonus potential can add up to nearly $2,000 in additional income. Those with experience in emergency trauma earn about 18% more than the national average for this career. Some regions of the US may offer higher pay with veterinary assistant salaries in Los Angeles and San Diego at 20% and 12% more, respectively, than the national average.
Veterinary Assistant Salary in Canada
In Canada, starting salaries for those beginning their career as veterinary assistant is about C$20,000 per year. Earnings increase steadily and peak at about C$45,000 per year for those with 20 years’ or more experience. If paid an hourly age, earnings range between C$11 and C$17 per hour, with overtime pay at $13 to $26 per hour. Bonus pay can add another $500 in overall earnings.
Veterinary Assistant Salary in the UK
Veterinary assistants in the UK earn about £10,000 when beginning their careers. With experience and additional responsibility, earnings increase to about £33,000 per year. Another £550 can be earned through bonus pay. Those receiving an hourly wage earn between £7 and £9 per hour.
Veterinary Assistant Salary in Australia
Entry level veterinary assistants in Australia earn a starting annual salary of about AU$34,000. Earnings increase significantly with experience and additional responsibility to about AU$98,000 per year. The average hourly wage for veterinary assistants in Australia is about AU$17.50.
Veterinary Assistant Salary in New Zealand
In New Zealand, entry level veterinary assistants earn a starting salary of about NZ$34,000, increasing with experience to about NZ$50,000. The average hourly wage is about NZ$20 per hour. There is opportunity for bonus pay that can increase overall earnings by about $633.
2. How Much Does a Veterinary Assistant Make According to Experience?
Income for veterinary assistants varies worldwide, but experience also plays an influential role in overall earnings. Three countries experience triple digit growth in income from entry level to senior level pay. While offering the lowest salary range among the countries in this guide is the UK, which also has the greatest increase in pay at 230%. The difference between entry level and senior level pay in Australia is 188%, followed by Canada at 125%. In the US, incomes increase throughout one’s career, with senior level pay at about $14,000, or 74% more than entry level salaries. Starting pay in New Zealand is on the higher end among our list of reviewed countries, and may lead the lower increase of 47% in salary growth.
3. How Much Does a Veterinary Assistant Make According to Work Environment?
Veterinary assistants work in animal hospitals, veterinarian clinics, and research laboratories. While there is little variance in pay by work setting, it is possible that larger animal health facilities pay higher wages compared to smaller, private practices. Additionally, research that is coordinated by educational institutions may offer lower salaries and little potential for bonus pay compared to for-profit organizations. Those employed by animal hospitals offering emergency care may have greater opportunities for overtime pay due to the 24-hour care provided to animals.
Veterinary assistants typically work Monday through Friday during normal business hours with some weekend, evening, and holiday hours required for those employed in animal hospitals. While most veterinary assistants work a full-time schedule, there are opportunities for flexible hours and part-time work. While work can sometimes be emotionally difficult, most veterinary assistants express a high level of job satisfaction.
Bonuses and Benefit Packages
Bonus potential for veterinary assistants is small, but three of the five countries reviewed in this guide indicate that bonus pay is common. Slightly more than half of the veterinary assistants in the US and Canada do not receive any healthcare benefits, while this number is higher in the UK at 84%. Additional pay for overtime hours is typical and can significantly increase overall earnings.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates 9% growth in veterinary assistant careers from 2014 to 2024, a rate that is higher than the growth rate for all careers. This growth is due to naturally occurring growth rates in employment overall, as well as high employment turnover that is common with this position. To work as a veterinary assistant, the equivalent of a high school diploma is required and most training occurs on the job under the guidance of experienced veterinary technicians, nurses, and veterinarians.
Veterinary assistants earn lower incomes compared to other healthcare workers, but the level of education and training required is minimal and reflective of this pay range. Healthcare benefits are not typically offered, but some employers offer bonus pay and overtime pay is common. While many veterinary assistants work full-time hours, flexible and part-time schedules are available. Future job growth is expected to increase in the coming years, which should support salaries and provide sufficient opportunities for those entering this career.