Vet Tech Job Description: What Does a Vet Tech Do?

Veterinary technicians are a very significant part of every veterinary facility as their job is to assist veterinarians in diagnosing and treating animals,

They might look for jobs in private clinics, animal hospitals, and research facilities, and their daily duties might involve testing blood, urine, stool, and other samples, administering vaccines and other medications under a veterinarian’s direction, administering anesthesia and preparing animals for surgery and many others.

Generally, they help vets with the care and treatment of animals.

Unlike veterinary assistants, veterinary technicians must have specific training and must be licensed, so as to be able to perform tests or administer medication.

Veterinary Technician Duties & Responsibilities

People who want to become veterinary technicians should get familiar with veterinary Technician Duties and Responsibilities.

This career requires the ability to perform the following tasks:

  • Assist veterinarians
  • Monitor vital signs
  • Test blood, stool, and other samples
  • Take x-rays
  • Prepare animals for surgery
  • Perform dental procedures
  • Emergency first aid
  • Restrain animals during exams
  • Administer anesthesia
  • Administer medications and vaccines, and treatments prescribed by a veterinarian

A good comparison that we can make is between veterinary technicians and nurses.

Vet techs serve veterinarians in ways that are similar to what laboratory technicians and nurses do for doctors.

One of the duties that veterinary technicians perform is to assist with the treatment of animals by taking medical backgrounds from their owners.

However, their responsibilities may vary depending on where a veterinary technician works.

In small private practices that are designed for family pets, vet techs will spend more time assisting veterinarians with treatments and working with pet owners.

On the other hand, those who find work in research laboratories will spend much time in a laboratory setting, performing tests.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job openings for veterinary technicians and technologists are expected to grow in the years to come, and becoming a veterinary technician nowadays can be an important investment in your future.

Veterinary Technician Salary

Once you become a Registered Veterinary Technician qualified to work in the state, you can expect excellent job prospects and even better salary.

Depending on the work you perform and the facility where you work, your salary might vary.

Veterinary technicians working in research tend to earn more money than those working in veterinary offices:

  • Median Annual Salary: $33,400 ($16.05/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $49,350 ($23.72/hour)
  • Bottom 10% Annual Salary: $22,880 ($11.00/hour)

Education, Training, & Certification

Even though there are states which do not require that veterinary technician as certified and licenses, there are also those which consider this certification as mandatory.

A bachelor’s degree is not necessary.

What veterinary technicians tend to complete is a two-year program at an accredited school and pass an exam to become certified to work in the state where they live.

We are offering you the typical steps required to become a veterinary technician.

Students must graduate from one of the accredited vet tech schools and this can be done after two or four years.

A list of accredited programs in the United States and Canada are available on the AVMA website: Veterinary Technology Programs Accredited by the AVMA CVTEA.

That way you will earn an associate of science (AS), an associate of applied science (AAS), or a bachelor’s degree (BA/BS).

Then, you need to take the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) which is administered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB).

You can find AAVSB contact information for licensing boards in the U.S. and Canada on its website.

You need to have in mind that licensing requirements for veterinary technicians vary by state and you will need to get acquainted with the ones related to the state you plan to work in.

When training and experience are in question, formal training involves laboratory and clinical work with live animals.

It is worth mentioning that high school students interested in becoming veterinary technicians should take science classes such as biology and math classes or even volunteer at a veterinarian’s office or an animal shelter to gain experience.

Veterinary Technician Skills & Competencies

Besides being well educated, a veterinary technician must possess certain skills and competencies so as to be successful in this job.

Personal qualities that will help veterinary technicians succeed in the field are the following:

Veterinary technicians must possess the ability to communicate with supervising veterinarians and pet owners.

Verbal Communication is also very important as technicians must be able to convey instructions to clients and veterinary assistants.

When organizational skills are in question, veterinary technicians need to keep track of lab specimens and medications for multiple animals and be ready for teamwork as they will need to coordinate actions with veterinarians and veterinary assistants.

Physical fitness is necessary as veterinary technicians are on their feet most of the day.

Also, they need to assist with restraining animals during treatments or when taking blood.

Last, but not least, veterinary technicians need to be compassionate.

They will have to work with animals who are sick, injured, or even dying.

Job Outlook and Work Environment

Veterinary technicians have a wide range of possibilities when it comes to job prospects and they can be employed in zoos, veterinary teaching hospitals, veterinary sales, and rescue organizations.

Working at a veterinary clinic is an everlasting challenge and it is frequently offered to ideal candidates who possess certification and qualities.

The appropriate candidate who fulfills all the requirements is determined by the employers and those with certificates will have priority over those unlicensed ones.

Employers can benefit from your skills and knowledge and if you have become a licensed veterinary assistant, your chances of getting a satisfying job are better.

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