Vet Tech Info: Career Overview
Check out an overview of a veterinary technician career and the responsibilities that come with the job.
What you'll do: You'll first and foremost work in direct support of a veterinarian during exams, diagnoses and surgical procedures.
Where you'll work: Animal clinics, college or university, emergency clinics, diagnostic laboratories, zoos, wildlife refuges and facilities, military service, medical research, animal control facilities
Degree you'll need: Bachelor's or associate's degree and successful test results on the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE)
Median annual salary: $29,710*
Cities with high employment levels: Houston, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, Santa Ana, New York, Phoenix, Baltimore
Veterinary Technician Career Skills
In a veterinary technician career, you'll be relied upon to facilitate and, when appropriate, execute procedures prescribed by the doctor. In this role, you are a critical member of a veterinary team. Your primary responsibility is to provide high quality, humane care to animals during all stages of their life.
In addition to assisting the veterinarian in routine clinical and laboratory procedures, you will be expected to know the daily functions of the clinics or laboratories in which you work.
Some of the skills you'll need in your veterinary technician career include:
- Knowledge of the medical equipment, such as x-ray machines, heart machines, etc.
- Administering inoculations
- Preparing and restraining animals during procedures
- Suturing and dressing wounds
- Advising pet owners on proper care
Vet Tech Info: Career Outlook
With cities experiencing higher population growth, the population of pets rises correspondingly, creating greater demand for veterinary care. But pets are not the only patients in a vet tech’s care. Other veterinary technician career options include:
- Animal control
- Biomedical facilities
- Food industry
- Humane societies
- Marine parks
- Wildlife refuges
Field of work and experience influence your vet tech salary and benefits. Continue reading to learn more.
Where Veterinary Technicians Work
Working in a community-based animal clinic is a desirable career choice for several reasons:
- You are an active part of your community
- You have an opportunity to learn and grow in a forward-moving profession
- The show of gratitude from your animal patients is instantaneous
Experienced employees in a veterinary technician career can also be found managing veterinary staff at a clinic or laboratory. Still others may wish to choose from a number of additional veterinary technician specialties as their focus.
One thing is certain. No matter where you work, there will always be animals that need your care. As an educated professional, you can make a difference in the quality of their lives.
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics wage data published March 27, 2012; Veterinary Technologists and Technicians.
*The salary information listed is based on a national average, unless noted. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.
Education and Careers
- Veterinary Technician Education Read about course information and requirements toward your certification.
- Certification Information Learn what you need to do to become a certified veterinary technician.
- School Accreditation Get information about the benefits of attending an accredited vet tech school.
- Professional Interview Read the interview of an experienced veterinary technician and get an inside look at the profession.
- Training Information Find out how to choose the right education program and internship.
- Career Options Discover some of your options when you are choosing a veterinary technician career.
- Job Information Find out the responsibilities of a veterinary technician and the tasks they perform.
- Veterinary Tech Specialties Check out some of the specialties a veterinary technician career offers.
- Salary Information Find information about the earning potential of different veterinary technician jobs.
- Veterinary Assistant Career Learn about getting into the field as a veterinary assistant and the duties they perform.
- Resources and Links Browse a compiled list of vet tech resources to research your certification.