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Become A Veterinary Technician

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Working As A Veterinary 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

  • $30,120

    Average Salary

What Does A Veterinary 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.


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 A Veterinary 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.


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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124,646 Veterinary Technician jobs

University of Florida
Gainesville, FL
OPS Reproduction Veterinary Technician

$30,010 Estimated

University of Tennessee
Knoxville, TN
Veterinary Technician II, College of Veterinary Medicine

$30,120 Estimated

Exeter Veterinary Hospital
Stratham, NH
Veterinary Technician

$30,120 Estimated

Four Paws Animal Hospital
Columbus, GA
Veterinary Technician

$28,260 Estimated

University of Tennessee
Knoxville, TN
Veterinary Technician II, College of Veterinary Medicine

$30,120 Estimated

Affordable Animal Hospital
Torrance, CA
Veterinary Technician

$38,050 Estimated

Four Paws Animal Hospital
Newnan, GA
Veterinary Technician

$28,590 Estimated

Irving Pet Hospital of San Francisco
Fremont, CA
Veterinary Technician

$37,460 Estimated

Irving Pet Hospital of San Francisco
San Francisco, CA
Veterinary Technician

$37,460 Estimated

West Valley Pet Clinic
Los Angeles, CA
Veterinary Technician

$38,050 Estimated

Sycamore Veterinary Hospital
Newtown, PA
Veterinary Technician

$33,070 Estimated

Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO
Equine Sports Medicine Veterinary Technician

$30,120 Estimated

Maple Veterinary Hospital
Ann Arbor, MI
Veterinary Technician

$30,120 Estimated

Boulevard Animal Hospital
Long Beach, CA
Veterinary Technician

$38,050 Estimated

Palms West Veterinary Hospital
West Palm Beach, FL
Veterinary Technician

$31,100 Estimated

Animal Hospital of Wappingers Falls
Wappingers Falls, NY
Veterinary Technician

$38,490 Estimated

Bay Hills Animal Hospital
Arnold, MD
Veterinary Technician

$30,120 Estimated

Spay N Save
Longwood, FL
Veterinary Technician

$30,010 Estimated

University of Utah Medical Group
Salt Lake City, UT
Veterinary Technician

$30,120 Estimated

Greater Staten Island Veterinary Services
New York, NY
Veterinary Technician

$37,810 Estimated

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Real Veterinary Technician Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Veterinary Technologist Parkway Pet Hospital, Inc. La Mesa, CA Oct 01, 2010 $52,175
Veterinary Technician Western University of Health Sciences Pomona, CA Nov 01, 2011 $50,484
Veterinary Technologist Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University Tallahassee, FL Dec 13, 2016 $50,000
Senior Veterinary Technician Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University Tallahassee, FL Aug 26, 2013 $50,000
Veterinary Technician Riedstra Dairy Ltd. Mendon, MI Jan 09, 2016 $48,000
Veterinary Technologists and Technicians Virginia Tech Leesburg, VA Jun 11, 2008 $46,104
Veterinary Technician Peninsula Equine, Inc. CA Nov 01, 2012 $44,662
Health Assurance Veterinary Technician Seaboard Foods LLC Guymon, OK Sep 09, 2016 $42,200
Veterinary Technician Brooklyn Veterinary Emergency Services New York, NY Nov 01, 2010 $40,697
Veterinary Technician Synergene Therapeutics, Inc. Rockville, MD Jan 01, 2011 $40,000
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Top Skills for A Veterinary Technician


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Top Veterinary Technician Skills

  1. Lab Tests
  2. Surgery Prep
  3. Anesthesia
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Completed routine lab tests and cared for and fed animals.
  • Assisted with surgery preparation, laboratory and pharmacy tasks.
  • Monitored animals under anesthesia and recovered animals after surgery.
  • Provided administrative support and maintained a professional hospital environment
  • Monitored a number of patients per shift, including triage and emergency care.

Top Veterinary Technician Employers

What Kind Of Companies Hire a Veterinary Technician

  1. Banfield Pet Hospital
  2. VCA Antech
  3. All Pets Veterinary Hospital
  4. Banfield
  5. Animal Medical Hospital
  6. Twin Rivers Animal Hospital
  7. River Road Animal Hospital
  8. Ocean State Veterinary Specialists
  9. Kennel
  10. Brillhart Veterinary Clinic
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Veterinary Technician Videos

Veterinary Technician, Career Video from drkit.org

Veterinary Technician, Career Video from drkit.org

A Day in the Life - Veterinarian Technician