Vet Tech Info: Career Overview

Check out an overview of a veterinary technician career and the responsibilities that come with the job.

The Basics

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: $30,290*

Veterinary Technician Career Skills

vet tech info

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
  • Laboratories
  • Marine parks
  • Wildlife refuges
  • Zoos

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 2014-15 Occupational Outlook Handbook; 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