Veterinary Technologists and Technicians: Salary, career path, job outlook, education and more

Education Required
Veterinary technologists and technicians must complete a postsecondary program in veterinary technology. In 2016, there were 221 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-one colleges offer a 4-year bachelor’s degree in veterinary technology.
Job Outlook
The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026: 20% (Much faster than average)
(The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.)
Licenses/Certifications
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.
Median pay: How much do Veterinary Technologists and Technicians make?
$32,490 Annual Salary
$15.62 per hour

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

What do Veterinary Technologists and Technicians do?

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
  • Take x rays and collect and perform laboratory tests, such as urinalyses and blood counts
  • Prepare animals and instruments for surgery
  • Administer medications, vaccines, and treatments prescribed by a veterinarian
  • Collect and record animal’ case histories

Veterinary technologists and technicians may observe the behavior and condition of animals in addition to restraining animals during exams or procedures. 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 also may 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.

Careers for Veterinary Technologists and Technicians

  • Certified veterinary technicians
  • LVTs
  • Laboratory animal technologists and technicians
  • Licensed veterinary technicians
  • Registered veterinary technicians
  • Veterinary lab techs
  • Veterinary laboratory technicians
  • Veterinary surgery technicians
  • Veterinary surgery technologists
  • Veterinary technicians
  • Veterinary technologists
  • Veterinary x-ray operators

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