Working as a vet receptionist is very different from your average corporate reception job. As the first point of contact for people with sick or dying pets, you’ll need a whole range of skills that you won’t learn in an office.
As you gain experience as a vet receptionist, you may transition to other roles, such as a vet tech or front office manager at a veterinary hospital.
Whether this is a short-term step or a long-term career for you, here’s how to develop yourself as a vet receptionist.
As well as greeting visitors, booking appointments and keeping records, you may have some medical responsibilities too, like dispensing medications, admitting and discharging patients, and arranging follow-up care. You’ll meet both humans and animals who are anxious and suffering, and you’ll need to know how to deal with both in a caring way.
While no school can substitute for real-life experience on this front, continuous learning is the best way to prepare. One way to achieve that is through certification. Many community colleges and veterinary organisations offer certificates and diplomas in this area.
You’ll also need a good knowledge of veterinary and medical terminology, as well as the strong organisational skills and technical know-how every receptionist needs. It’ll be useful to gain reception experience working for a local business, although some vet clinics may offer training on the job.
You won’t need a degree to work as a vet receptionist, but most employers will expect you to have some experience of working with animals. To get that experience, you could consider doing an internship at a vet clinic, doing a summer job on a farm, or volunteering with an animal charity.
As a vet receptionist, you’ll need to be ready to take part in all aspects of animal care, including monitoring patients, feeding them, and collecting samples. You’ll also need to be able to handle them with empathy and make them feel at ease–and the same goes for their humans, so strong communication and people skills are equally important.
Vet receptionists have to stay positive and adapt on the spot to emotional situations. You may be smiling at a newborn puppy one minute and supporting someone through the death of their pet the next. This calls for emotional control and mental toughness. But it’s certainly more rewarding than your average receptionist role.