Veterinary Technologist and Technician

Veterinary technologists and technicians assist veterinarians and they can perform a wide range of medical tests under their supervision. Veterinary technologists and technicians are to veterinarians what nurses are to doctors, they help veterinarians diagnose and treat animals in animal hospitals and research facilities. Although there are some differences between a veterinary technologist and a technician, these differences are usually small and concern the type of degree they obtain.

Job overview

Although veterinary technologists and technicians cannot perform a few actions such as surgery, diagnosing and prescribing, they can do most activities under vets’ supervision, helping them treat ill or injured animals.

A veterinary technologist or technician is able to provide animal care and help veterinaries in everyday activities. What you can expect to do as a veterinary technologist or technician:

  • Keep an eye on animal patients and observe their condition and behavior
  • Offer emergency first aid to injured animals
  • Administer anesthesia and see how the animals react by monitoring their vital signs
  • Collect samples such as blood, urine and tissue and perform various laboratory tests on them
  • Prepare all things needed in order to facilitate the surgery which is about to be performed by a veterinary
  • While they cannot prescribe medication, they can administer it to animals such as vaccines, medication or other forms of treatment

Most veterinary technologists and technicians work in private animal clinics, veterinary testing laboratories or animal hospitals. They can also work in other related fields such as research projects, or they can assist various organizations and ensure that the animals are handled and cared for appropriately.

A veterinary tech may become specialized in a certain field or discipline such as anesthesia, dental technology or emergency care.

Statistics show that veterinary technologists and technicians held around 91 percent of the jobs in the veterinary services industry, with approximately 80,200 jobs in 2010. It is predicted that the number of jobs for veterinary technologists and technicians will dramatically increase over the course of the next few decades, with a growth rate of 52 percent between 2010 and 2020.


Veterinary techs can expect a median annual wage of around $29,710 according to a statistic from 2010. The lowest wage was less than $20.500and was responsible for lowest 10% while the top 10% managed to earn more than $44,030. According to statistics, veterinary technologists and technicians are better paid in research positions compared to similar positions.


In order to become an accredited veterinary technician, you should follow a college two-year veterinary technology program,at the end of which you will obtain an associate degree. Aspiring veterinary technologists should attend 4-year college programs. Both degrees will include training in the fields of laboratory and clinic work and you will learn how to work with animals and how to treat them.

There are other requirements, such as licensing, which might vary from state to state. The most common is to take the AAVSB-administered Veterinary Technician National Examination.

Reviews & Advice

With more than 11 specialties in this field, your choice of work field can vary from college and university laboratories to independent research facilities, private animal clinics and hospitals. If you are aspiring to become a veterinary technologist or technician and you are still a high school student, you should make sure to follow science classes such as biology and chemistry, but also math and physics.

Another advice would be to volunteer at a facility that works with animals, such as an animal shelter. Doing so might not only help you determine if this is the right job for you, but you will also gain precious experience that might help you in the future, plus volunteer work is always seen with good eyes when it comes to employment.

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