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Job Description: Receptionist/Animal Tech Assistant

Position Summary

A receptionist focuses on client service and communication. He or she is the first and last contact with the hospital and key to creating first and lasting impressions. The receptionist must have exceptional client service and communication skills, computer literacy, handle payment and financial issues, ability to multi-task, friendly attitude and confidence to deal with stressful situations. Receptionists support veterinarians, technicians, veterinary assistants, groomers and kennel staff in daily patient and client care. They communicate with clients in person and by phone and e-mail.

A veterinary assistant supports technicians and veterinarians in exams, treatment, surgery and boarding. The veterinary assistant assists with animal restraint, housekeeping, client communication, treatments and surgeries. Veterinary assistants support both certified veterinary technicians and veterinarians in daily patient care. They communicate with clients in person and by phone for follow-up care and patient monitoring.

Reports to: Office Manager, Practice Manager or Hospital Administrator

Job Responsibilities

Client Relations Duties, 40%:

  • Greet clients and pets by name
  • Answer phones promptly and professionally using a multi-line phone system
  • Screen and route calls to appropriate staff
  • Provide phone shoppers with descriptions of services first, price last
  • Receive and transmit faxes
  • Take and deliver messages promptly to appropriate staff, pulling medical records of patients so staff can properly document information
  • Note in medical records the details discussed during client conversations including the date, time, key points of the discussion and any action required
  • Ensure the reception area and exam rooms have current reading materials (within two months of publication date), activities for children (coloring books, Crayons) and are clean and odor free
  • Check medical and computer records for accurate client addresses, phone numbers and e-mails
  • Weigh pets each visit and record weights in medical records and on computer
  • Schedule appointments and surgeries according to hospital scheduling guidelines
  • Make surgery and appointment confirmations calls
  • Answer clients’ questions about veterinary services and products and provide knowledgeable advice about wellness, prevention and diseases
  • Fill prescriptions and provide routine administration instructions to clients
  • Echo doctors’ recommendations when checking out clients
  • Address clients as Mr., Mrs. or Miss
  • Always refer to the veterinarian as doctor. Do not use the doctor’s first name in the presence of clients.
  • Prepare consent forms, estimates/treatment plans and be able to discuss the hospital’s financial policies with clients
  • Prepare health certificates, proof of vaccination, lab reports and euthanasia certificates
  • Sell retail items and pet food
  • Advise clients on proper nutrition, flea/tick/heartworm preventatives, pre-anesthetic testing, pain management, shampoos, home dental products and other retail items
  • Maintain a clean, neat reception area and front desk (limit of 1 item per 1 foot on reception counter)
  • Foster collaborative relationships with other team members and departments

Financial Duties, 10%:

  • Enter accurate charges
  • Explain invoices to show value for the care provided, stating all services and products provided before the total
  • Collect payment when services are rendered, including making change for cash payments, processing credit cards and getting proper ID for checks
  • Verify the eligibility of clients with charge accounts (where applicable)
  • Print or record the end of day financial balances, ensuring they are accurate
  • Know fees for routine services
  • Balance cash drawer at end of day/shift

Administrative Duties, 7%:

  • Update reminders
  • Backup computer records according to practice’s operating procedures
  • Maintain adequate supply of client education materials in the reception area (i.e. brochures, handouts, business cards, etc.)
  • Maintain and provide statistical reports for no-shows, boarding cancellations and rescheduled appointments to the practice manager as required
  • Help clients schedule appointments when referred to a specialist, including directions, records and test results to bring and follow-up status of patient after specialty care
  • Prepare forms such as new client registration, medical records, health and vaccination certificates, lab results and euthanasia certificates
  • Review medical records of discharged patients for completeness and accurate charges. Based on your review, refer medical records to a doctor or technician for further review.
  • Schedule rechecks and enter callbacks
  • Prepare welcome packets for new client folders/gift bags, new puppy and kitten packs, dental gift bags, weight-loss kits, etc.
  • Ensure treatment, surgery and boarding forms are signed and an emergency number is noted
  • Admit/discharge or delegate admission and discharge of patients for boarding, surgery, dentistry, grooming or other procedures to appropriate hospital staff
  • Maintain appointment book and grooming and boarding reservations
  • Retrieve, update and file patient medical records
  • Keep reception desk and waiting room neat and clean
  • No eating is allowed at the front desk
  • Clean up after pets’ accidents in the reception area, exam rooms and exterior sidewalks and parking lot
  • Water and maintain plants in waiting and exam rooms
  • Collect specimens that clients bring in for lab analysis, label and take to the lab area. Note the date and time of specimen collection in the appropriate hospital log to ensure they are completed and the client is notified of the results. Place corresponding medical file in appropriate area.
  • Call clients whose pets are overdue for services
  • Purge files according to practice-management policies
  • Determine why the client is inactive and report the reason to the practice manager to identify trends

Client Education & Marketing Duties, 3%:

  • Promote ancillary services such as boarding, grooming, obedience training, etc.
  • Have a thorough knowledge of nutrition and flea/tick/heartworm preventatives
  • Sell and promote retail items
  • Mail thank-you, sympathy and welcome cards
  • Promote practice protocols on wellness and prevention

Technical Duties, 35%:

Patient Care

  • Care for boarding and hospitalized animals, including cage cleaning, exercising, feeding, observing signs of illness and controlling the spread of parasites and infectious diseases
  • Restrain patients for procedures performed by technicians or doctors
  • Administer medications
  • Assess change in animal status
  • Trim nails
  • Clean ears
  • Bathing and dipping procedures
  • Ensure hospital patients and boarding pets go home well groomed and in an appropriate medical state

Laboratory & Pharmacy

  • Perform basic in-house lab tests
  • Complete forms for reference lab
  • Fill out lab reports and logs
  • Clean lab area
  • Fill prescriptions


  • Unpack deliveries, reconcile against packing slip and restock supplies
  • Restock shelves and drawers in exam rooms and treatment area
  • Assist with ordering of drugs and supplies
  • Assist with purchasing and stocking of cleaning and office supplies

Housekeeping Duties, 10%:

  • Do laundry
  • Clean cages and boarding kennels
  • Help maintain clean exam rooms, treatment area and surgical suite
  • Clean public and staff areas
  • Assist with facility and yard maintenance to maintain a clean, odorless and inviting environment

Educational Requirements & Skills Needed

Educational Requirements:

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Experience in customer service

Skills Needed:

  • Ability to work in a fast-paced environment
  • Computer literacy
  • Understand veterinary terminology
  • Exceptional customer service skills
  • Keep accurate medical records, clerical work
  • Educate clients
  • Promote hospital products and services
  • Support team members

Physical Obligations:

  • Able to lift patients and carry equipment up to 25 pounds; ability to lift patients or carry equipment over 25 pounds with assistance
  • Endure sitting, standing and walking on hard floor surfaces for extended periods
  • Type information for patient records and prescription labels into the computer
  • Able to work in noisy work conditions with sounds from animals and equipment
  • Take safety precautions for exposure to toxins, drugs, anesthesia and radiation