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Career and Education Opportunities for Veterinary Attendants in Portland, Maine

Veterinary attendants can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Portland, Maine area. Currently, 650 people work as veterinary attendants in Maine. This is expected to grow by 3% to 660 people by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for veterinary attendants, which sees this job pool growing by about 22.8% over the next eight years. Veterinary attendants generally feed, water, and examine pets and other nonfarm animals for signs of illness, disease, or injury in laboratories and animal hospitals and clinics.

Income for veterinary attendants is about $11 per hour or $24,620 per year on average in Maine. Nationally, their income is about $10 hourly or $21,210 annually. Earnings for veterinary attendants are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Veterinary in Maine and not quite as good as general Veterinary category earnings nationally. Veterinary attendants work in a variety of jobs, including: animal caregiver, animal care service worker, and veterinarian assistant.

The Portland area is home to twenty-three schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Portland where you can get a degree as a veterinary attendant. Veterinary attendants usually hold a high school diploma or GED, so you can expect to spend only a short time studying to be a veterinary attendant if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Veterinary Attendant

Veterinary Attendant video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, veterinary attendants feed, water, and examine pets and other nonfarm animals for signs of illness, disease, or injury in laboratories and animal hospitals and clinics. They also clean and disinfect cages and work areas, and sterilize laboratory and surgical equipment.

Veterinary attendants hold or restrain animals during veterinary procedures. They also monitor animals' recovering from surgery and notify veterinarians of any unusual changes or symptoms. Equally important, veterinary attendants have to ready examination or treatment rooms by stocking them with appropriate supplies. They are often called upon to assist veterinarians in examining animals to establish the nature of illnesses or injuries. They are expected to clean and maintain kennels, animal holding areas, examination and operating rooms, and animal loading/unloading facilities to manage the spread of disease. Finally, veterinary attendants dust or bathe animals to manage insect pests.

Every day, veterinary attendants are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. They need to evaluate problems as they arise. It is also important that they articulate ideas and problems.

It is important for veterinary attendants to administer medication and blood plasma to animals as prescribed by veterinarians. They are often called upon to execute office reception duties such as scheduling appointments and helping customers. They also sell pet food and supplies to customers. They are sometimes expected to administer anesthetics during surgery and monitor the effects on animals. Somewhat less frequently, veterinary attendants are also expected to write reports, maintain research data, and execute clerical duties.

Veterinary attendants sometimes are asked to clean and sterilize instruments and apparatus. And finally, they sometimes have to execute accounting duties, including bookkeeping, billing customers for services, and maintaining inventories.

Like many other jobs, veterinary attendants must be reliable and be thorough and dependable.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Veterinary Attendant Training

University of Maine at Augusta - Augusta, ME

University of Maine at Augusta, 46 University Dr, Augusta, ME 04330-9410. University of Maine at Augusta is a small university located in Augusta, Maine. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 4,731 students. University of Maine at Augusta has an associate's degree program in Veterinary/Animal Health Technology/Technician & Veterinary Assistant which graduated eighteen students in 2008.


Assistant Laboratory Animal Technician: The technician certification designations of ALAT, LAT, and LATG are well known and widely used throughout the varied fields of laboratory animal care.

For more information, see the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science website.


Animal Medical Technician

Licensing agency: Department of Professional & Financial Regulation
Address: Office of Licensing and Registration, Attn: Geraldine Betts, Administrator, 35 State House Station, Gardiner Annex-Northern Avenue, Augusta, ME 04333-0035

Phone: (207) 624-8603
Website: Department of Professional & Financial Regulation Office of Licensing and Registration Attn: Geraldine Betts, Administrator


Portland, Maine
Portland, Maine photo by Pauk

Portland is situated in Cumberland County, Maine. It has a population of over 62,561, which has shrunk by 2.6% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Portland, 102, is above the national average. New single-family homes in Portland are priced at $164,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, twenty-three new homes were built in Portland, down from thirty-two the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Portland are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, accommodation and food services, and construction. The average commute to work is about 19 minutes. More than 36.4% of Portland residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 13.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Portland is 6.3%, which is less than Maine's average of 7.6%. About 14.1% of Portland's residents are below the poverty line, which is worse than the state average.

The percentage of Portland residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 40.4%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Mariners Church, Swedenborgian Church and Stroudwater Christian Church are among the churches located in Portland. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Church of Christ and the United Methodist Church.

Portland is home to the Cumberland Wharf and the Browns Wharf as well as Longfellow Square and Hadlock Field. Shopping centers in the area include Mill Creek Shopping Center, Monument Square Shopping Center and Portland East Shopping Center. Visitors to Portland can choose from Motel 6, Fairfield Inn Portland Airport and Ramada Limited Portland for temporary stays in the area.