How to Become a Veterinary Office Manager

Overview

Veterinary office managers are responsible for making sure that the office, animal clinic or animal hospital runs efficiently. As a veterinary office manager, you are responsible for taking care of the administrative duties, while the veterinarian and his/her assistants concentrate on providing services to the animals in their care. It is important to note that while you may work in an animal care environment, you will have very little interaction with the animals.

Your primary responsibility, as a veterinary office manager, will be to bill clients, schedule vet appointments, provide human resource services, answer calls, collect payments and maintain office supplies. If you are interested in becoming a veterinary office manager, you will need to complete certain educational requirements. This article will teach you everything you need to know to enter the field of veterinary office management.

Related: How to Become a Veterinary Hospital Manager

What are the Education/Training Requirements to Become a Veterinary Office Manager?

As a veterinary office manager you are not required to take certain college courses or obtain an undergraduate degree. In some cases, previous office experience is sufficient to get a job at as a veterinary office manager. Although a formal education is not necessary, some employers may prefer that their manager has at least an associate degree in management or a related field.

If you want to become a veterinary office manager, you will need to have good communication skills because you will have to interact daily with customers, the veterinarian, veterinary assistants and vendors. You will also need good management and administrative skills. Furthermore, you will need exemplary writing, reading and computer and internet skills.

What Does a Veterinary Office Manager Do?

As a veterinary office manager, your main duties will be similar to general office manager responsibilities.

Some of your duties may include the following:

  • Scheduling vet appointments
  • Maintaining patient (animal) charts
  • Billing customers, insurance companies and/or vendors
  • Managing other employees
  • Scheduling employee shifts
  • Training new employees
  • Interviewing potential employees
  • Managing payroll
  • Ordering office supplies
  • Tracking accounts

What Skills and Qualities are Required for a Veterinary Office Manager?

  • Social Skills

If you are interested in becoming a veterinary office manager, you will be responsible for leading your office staff therefore you must have good social skills. It is important to maintain a positive attitude when speaking to the office staff. A positive attitude will inspire your employees to perform to the best of their abilities. It is also imperative that you demonstrate empathy and good communication skills when talking to clients about their cherished pets.

  • Leadership Skills

As a veterinary office manager, you will be expected to understand the inner workings of the practice. You should also be able to effectively supervise and manage the office staff. In addition, you will be responsible for providing human resource services to clients and vendors. There may be times when you have to train both new and seasoned employees and/or resolve employee and/or client conflicts. Moreover, you may be responsible for providing coaching skills to employees who are struggling.

  • Technical Abilities

In rare cases, you may be required to demonstrate veterinary technician skills. For instance, you may have to help the veterinarian or veterinarian assistants during surgery, administer medications, process X-rays and collect blood, urine and/or tissue samples for laboratory testing. In addition, you may be asked to suggest resources for clients and/or provide educational pamphlets to those with injured or ill pets. In some cases, you may be required to educate clients about various pet-related illnesses such as: heart worm, feline leukemia and/or parvovirus.

Why Do We Need Veterinary Office Managers?

Are veterinary office managers really that important? YES! They are the “machines” that keep the office functioning efficiently. In other words, a veterinarian manager oversees everything that happens in the office, which is extremely important for pet patients and their “parents.”

Veterinarian office managers work with the veterinarian to develop an office vision, mission, goals, and purpose. This professional also assumes management responsibilities, which means he or she makes sure that staff members are performing their duties as expected. This individual also makes sure that customers are paying their bills, and that the office bills are being paid. If the office is lacking medications and/or supplies, the veterinarian office manager makes sure that those medicines and/or supplies are replenished in a timely fashion.

More specifically, veterinarian office managers make decisions and assume responsibility. This includes: developing accurate job descriptions, completing employee evaluations (i.e. performance reviews), employee and customer emergency contacts, and assigning employee schedules. So, to answer the question – why do we need veterinarian office managers? Because they are indispensable!

What is the Salary for a Veterinary Office Manager?

It is important to note that there is no specific listing for veterinary office managers in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, but the average salary for a general office manager is approximately $46,000. According to the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association, the typical general office manager makes approximately $20 per hour.

In 2012, the average salary for veterinary office manager was approximately $58,000 per year (SimplyHired.com, 2012). If you live in New York, you can expect to earn approximately $58,000 per year as a veterinary office manager and if you live in Arkansas, you can expect to make approximately $42,000 per year as a veterinary office manager (SimplyHired.com, 2012).

What is the Job Outlook for Veterinary Office Managers?

The career outlook for veterinary office managers may fluctuate from year to year. This variance stems from fluctuations in the economy. When the economy is doing well, employers will be more likely to hire additional administrative assistants and/or managers, but if the economy is poor, then administrative staff is usually the first to be laid off.

It is important to note that if you are interested in entering the field of veterinary office management, you will more than likely experience fierce competition for the limited number of executive and upper-level management jobs. Office management jobs are expected to increase 15% by 2020. This increase will stem from the continuous need for employees that can ensure that offices run smoothly.

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