Veterinary Technician Job Description and Duties

Learn what you'll do in a veterinary technician job.

The Basics

What you'll do: Most vet techs work in veterinary clinics and emergency centers caring for domestic animals. In these private practices, you will assist in such procedures as physical examinations, dental procedures, spaying and neutering, immunizations, and birthing and euthanasia. 

Where you'll work: Private clinics, research laboratories, animal hospitals, boarding kennels, animal shelters and rescues, zoos.

Degree you'll need to practice: Associate's degree

Median annual salary: $30,290*

Job Environment

veterinary technician job description

No matter whether you choose to work in a veterinary clinic, a zoo or a research laboratory, the role of a vet tech is full of exciting and rewarding challenges. When you work in the care of animals, you have a direct impact on the life of another living creature.

In veterinary technician specialties involving diverse work environments, such as zoos and laboratories, the veterinary technician job may involve slightly different responsibilities than a clinic. In a laboratory for example, you may work under the supervision of a scientist or senior technologist. Here, the focus is on scientific research that will benefit humans and animals alike.

Vet techs see heartbreak as well as success stories in the field, as animals may need to be euthanized or they may be abused, injured or ill. Too, vet techs tend to face a higher injury rate themselves as working with frightened or hurt animals may result in scratches or bites while they attempt to restrain or calm the creature.

Career Advancement

Veterinary technicians can move into such positions as Practice Manager and Field Manager as they climb the career ladder, however if you're set on working directly with animals, these types of positions are more people-focused, education and business-based.

Getting a credential, such as the Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT), Licensed Veterinary Technician (LVT), or the Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT)—which are commonly bundled under the umbrella term credentialed veterinary technician by the administering National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America—can enhance your career and provide more opportunity for advancement.

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