Many people are interested in veterinary practice.
And one of their frequently asked questions involved veterinary technicians and veterinary assistants.
Maybe it’s because these two fields perform almost the same job and duties in a veterinary facility.
Despite them working with and assisting veterinarians, they have their differences as well.
We understand that a full understanding of the two is important for you.
So we provide you with information to help you differentiate the two.
And in doing so, we’re able to help you choose a career that suits your needs and interests.
Read on to learn the similarities and differences between a vet tech and a vet assistant.
Table of Contents
Similarities, Differences, and Overlap
Both vet techs and assistants work closely with veterinarians performing similar tasks.
In fact, their similarities are numerous and people often get confused about them.
Well, for one:
- Both assist the vet
- Neither may diagnose animals nor prescribe medication/treatment
- Can be employed in the same animal care facilities, like animal shelters, vet clinics, zoos, etc.
On the other hand, their differences lie in:
- Scope of practice
For instance, in regards to education, vet assistants only need a high school diploma or GED.
But for vet techs, they need an associate’s degree from an accredited college or university.
Vet Assistant vs. Vet Tech
In this section, we provided a comparison of both careers.
This way, you’d get an overview of the similarities and differences of the two based on several factors.
Keep in mind that both are growing and in-demand careers.
Still, this doesn’t guarantee your employment opportunities in the future.
A Side-by-Side Comparison
|Factor||Vet Assistant||Vet Tech|
|Average annual pay*||$29,930||$36,260|
|Projected job growth*||14% by 2030||15% by 2030|
|Number of employed professionals*||107,200||114,400|
|Average number of jobs available each year*||19,800||10,400|
|Entry-level educational attainment**||High school diploma or equivalent GED||Associate’s degree|
|Program/course details||Hands-on experience on:
|Attend courses, including:
Specializations require additional courses.
|School accreditation||Approved by NAVTA||Accredited by the AVMA|
|Certification or license requirements||Pass the Approved Veterinary Assistant exam by NAVTA||Pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination|
|Renewal requirements for certification or license||
|Practice supervision||Under licensed vets and/or vet techs||Under licensed vets|
|Duties and responsibilities||
|Tools and equipment used||Proficiency in:
Requires additional training and supervision to operate machinery like:
|Opportunities for specialization||None||Yes|
*Data taken from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics May 2020 report
**Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation
As you can see, there’s a fine line between a vet assistant and a vet tech.
At first glance, they appear the same, but when you pick out the details, you’d see the difference.
We hope the information you received here helps you in your career choices.
For more information about these two careers, check out these pages: