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Become An Animal Technician

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Working As An Animal Technician

  • Getting Information
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings
  • Deal with People

  • Stressful

  • Make Decisions

  • $31,800

    Average Salary

What Does An Animal Technician Do

Veterinary technologists and technicians perform medical tests under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian to assist in diagnosing the injuries and illnesses of animals.

Duties

Veterinary technologists and technicians typically do the following:

  • Observe the behavior and condition of animals
  • Provide nursing care or emergency first aid to recovering or injured animals
  • Bathe animals, clip nails or claws, and brush or cut animals’ hair
  • Restrain animals during exams or procedures
  • Administer anesthesia to animals, and monitor their responses
  • Collect laboratory samples, such as blood, urine, or tissue, for testing
  • Perform laboratory tests, such as urinalyses and blood counts
  • Take and develop x rays
  • Prepare animals and instruments for surgery
  • Administer medications, vaccines, and treatments prescribed by a veterinarian
  • Collect and record patients’ case histories

Veterinarians rely on technologists and technicians to conduct a variety of clinical and laboratory procedures, including postoperative care, dental care, and specialized nursing care.

Veterinary technologists and technicians who work in research-related jobs do similar work. For example, they are responsible for making sure that animals are handled carefully and treated humanely. They also help veterinarians or scientists on research projects in areas such as biomedical research, disaster preparedness, and food safety.

Veterinary technologists and technicians most often work with small-animal practitioners who care for cats and dogs, but they may also perform a variety of tasks involving mice, rats, sheep, pigs, cattle, birds, or other animals.

Veterinary technologists and technicians can specialize in a particular discipline. Specialties include dentistry, anesthesia, emergency and critical care, and zoological medicine.

Veterinary technologists usually have a 4-year bachelor’s degree in veterinary technology. Although some technologists work in private clinical practices, many work in more advanced research-related jobs, usually under the guidance of a scientist or veterinarian. Working primarily in a laboratory setting, they may administer medications; prepare tissue samples for examination; or record information on an animal’s genealogy, weight, diet, and signs of pain.

Veterinary technicians usually have a 2-year associate’s degree in a veterinary technology program. They generally work in private clinical practices under the guidance of a licensed veterinarian. Technicians may perform laboratory tests, such as a urinalysis, and help veterinarians conduct a variety of other diagnostic tests. Although some of their work is done in a laboratory setting, many technicians also talk with animal owners. For example, they explain a pet’s condition or how to administer medication prescribed by a veterinarian.

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How To Become An Animal Technician

There are primarily two levels of education for entry into this occupation: a 4-year program for veterinary technologists and a 2-year program for veterinary technicians. Typically, both technologists and technicians must pass a credentialing exam and must become registered, licensed, or certified, depending on the state in which they work.

Education

Veterinary technologists and technicians must complete a postsecondary program in veterinary technology. In 2015, there were 231 veterinary technology programs accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Most of these programs offer a 2-year associate’s degree for veterinary technicians. Twenty-three colleges offer a 4-year bachelor’s degree in veterinary technology. Nine schools offer coursework through distance learning. 

People interested in becoming a veterinary technologist or technician should take high school classes in biology and other sciences, as well as math.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Although each state regulates veterinary technologists and technicians differently, most candidates must pass a credentialing exam. Most states require technologists and technicians to pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE), offered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards.

For technologists seeking work in a research facility, the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) offers the following certifications for technicians and technologists: Laboratory Animal Technician (LAT) and Laboratory Animal Technologist (LATG).

Although certification is not mandatory, workers at each level can show competency in animal husbandry, health and welfare, and facility administration and management to prospective employers. To become certified, candidates must have work experience in a laboratory animal facility and pass the AALAS examination.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Veterinary technologists and technicians spend a substantial amount of their time communicating with supervisors, animal owners, and other staff. In addition, a growing number of technicians counsel pet owners on animal behavior and nutrition.

Compassion. Veterinary technologists and technicians must treat animals with kindness and must be sensitive when dealing with the owners of sick pets.

Detail oriented. Veterinary technologists and technicians must pay attention to detail. They must be precise when recording information, performing diagnostic tests, and administering medication.

Manual dexterity. Veterinary technologists and technicians must handle animals, medical instruments, and laboratory equipment with care. They do intricate tasks, such as dental work, giving anesthesia, and taking x rays, which require a steady hand.

Problem-solving skills. Veterinary technologists and technicians need strong problem-solving skills in order to identify injuries and illnesses and offer the appropriate treatment.

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Animal Technician jobs

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Animal Technician Demographics

Gender

Female

56.9%

Male

41.2%

Unknown

1.9%
Ethnicity

White

76.9%

Hispanic or Latino

13.6%

Asian

7.4%

Unknown

1.5%

Black or African American

0.6%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

57.8%

French

8.9%

Portuguese

4.4%

German

4.4%

Swedish

2.2%

Chinese

2.2%

Ukrainian

2.2%

Czech

2.2%

Dakota

2.2%

Japanese

2.2%

Deseret

2.2%

Slovak

2.2%

Russian

2.2%

Arabic

2.2%

Thai

2.2%
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Animal Technician Education

Schools

University of California - Davis

8.5%

Texas A&M University

7.6%

University of Missouri - Columbia

7.6%

Iowa State University

6.8%

Michigan State University

5.9%

University of Massachusetts Amherst

5.9%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

5.1%

Delaware Valley University

5.1%

University of Arizona

5.1%

Frederick Community College

4.2%

University of Georgia

4.2%

Towson University

4.2%

Oklahoma State University

4.2%

Western Michigan University

4.2%

Colorado State University

4.2%

University of Maryland - University College

3.4%

Savannah College of Art and Design

3.4%

Ohio State University

3.4%

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

3.4%

Houston Community College

3.4%
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Majors

Animal Science

19.7%

Biology

18.2%

Medical Assisting Services

9.9%

Business

7.5%

Psychology

4.9%

Zoology

4.1%

Criminal Justice

3.9%

Veterinary Medicine

3.6%

Health Care Administration

3.6%

Computer Science

2.6%

Ecology, Population Biology, And Epidemiology

2.6%

General Studies

2.4%

Nursing

2.4%

Environmental Science

2.4%

Veterinary Science

2.4%

Chemistry

2.1%

Animation

2.1%

Liberal Arts

1.9%

Biotechnology

1.9%

Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology

1.7%
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Degrees

Bachelors

47.4%

Other

21.8%

Associate

11.4%

Masters

10.2%

Certificate

4.6%

Doctorate

3.1%

Diploma

1.3%

License

0.3%
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Internship
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Real Animal Technician Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Animal Technician 9 Kelly Services, Inc. Bethesda, MD Sep 15, 2016 $53,323
Animal Technician Kelly Services, Inc. Bethesda, MD Sep 16, 2013 $50,067
Animal Technician Flying Triangle Ranch, LLC Craig, CO May 24, 2016 $43,472
Animal Technician The Rockefeller University New York, NY Jun 05, 2012 $43,300
Animal Technician University of Utah Salt Lake City, UT Nov 02, 2012 $29,307

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Top Skills for An Animal Technician

LaboratoryAnimalCareSurgicalProceduresAnimalHusbandryEuthanasiaInvestigatorsIVAnimalRoomsBloodCollectionResearchAnimalsCustomerServiceAnimalHealthChecksGLPAnimalFacilityAnimalCagesVivariumDataEntryIacucUsdaDailyCareIM

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Top Animal Technician Skills

  1. Laboratory Animal Care
  2. Surgical Procedures
  3. Animal Husbandry
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Organize the scheduling of surgical procedures and maintain files of commonly used procedures and equipment.
  • Coordinated daily animal husbandry of several species such as rabbits, rats, and mice.
  • Performed euthanasia of animal with an understanding and compassion.
  • Used aseptic techniques on care of pathogen free rodents and felines and the training of personnel and investigators of these techniques.
  • Collaborate with USDA representatives during site inspections.

Top Animal Technician Employers

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Animal Technician Videos

Laboratory Animal Technician

A Day in the Life - Veterinarian Technician

Veterinary Technician Training: Lab Skills 1: Part 1 - Basic Blood Collection

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