Difference Between a Veterinarian & Veterinary Technician

Vet vs Vet Tech … read on to see the difference.

The above two careers work hand in hand in the provision of animal health care.

One may perceive a veterinarian and veterinary technician as one career but that’s not entirely true.

The two are quite different.

For instance, a veterinarian is tasked with a lot more responsibilities and thus undergoes far more schooling compared to the veterinary technician.

Due to the high number of tasks, the veterinarian receives a bigger salary compared to the veterinary technician.

To clearly expound on how distinct the two careers are, below are some differences to help you distinguish between the two.


As mentioned earlier, the veterinarian undergoes a longer schooling period compared to the veterinary technician.

First and foremost, a veterinarian is required to do a bachelor’s degree accompanied with a pre-medicine concentration.

Additionally, for one to be titled as a doctor of veterinarian medicine, he/she should undergo schooling for an extra four years.

On the other hand, a veterinary technician is required to undergo a 2-year post-secondary program.

After which, he/she can be offered a certificate and license to practice.

An additional 4-year post-secondary program can make the technician a certified veterinarian technologist.

This guarantees more responsibilities and more income.

Occupational Responsibilities

Due to the fact that the veterinarian has undergone more schooling.

He/she is often equipped with nearly all the right skills regarding animal health.

As a result, the veterinarian is tasked with a lot of responsibilities which may include carrying out surgery, diagnosis, recommending medication amongst others.

The veterinary technician, on the other hand, is in most cases an assistant of the veterinarian.

He/she may be required to carry out the least technical duties such as doing blood tests, keeping health records, giving medication amongst others.

Average Pay

In the world of veterinary care, the more responsibilities you have, the higher your income is.

In this case, because the veterinarian has more responsibilities, then their salary is higher than that of veterinary technicians.

From records published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2011, it was noted that veterinary technicians earn an average of $15 per hour.

The veterinarian, on the other hand, earns an average of $43 per hour.

This translates to $31, 570 and $91,250 per year for veterinary technicians and veterinarian respectively.

This shows that there is a big gap in pay between the two.

Job Outlook

The best thing about being either a veterinarian or a veterinary technician is that finding a job won’t be a hard task for you.

There being only twenty-eight accredited veterinarian courses in the US, this guarantees that as long as a veterinarian qualifies and receives certification then getting employed won’t be a challenge.

Statistics provided by the Bureau of Labour determined that there would be a high job growth rate for both veterinarian and veterinary technicians in between the year 2010 and 2020.

Moreover, the statistics show that veterinary technicians should seek employment in rural areas because there, they will have a higher chance of finding employment.

Final Words

The above are the key differences between a veterinarian and a veterinary technician.

However, both careers are well paying and finding employment is easy.

Being either of the two requires that you maintain professionalism and adhere to the ethical code of conduct.

Despite the veterinarian earning more than the veterinary technician, the two highly depend on each other in order to provide quality animal health care services.

If you intend on becoming a veterinarian, it’s best you start by being a veterinary technician.

As a vet tech, you will be able to gain mentorship from an expert who will equip you with all the right skills.

Remember, as much important as the curriculum is, practicals are very essential.

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