What Does a Veterinary Technician Do? Job Description & Career Growth

Learn the ins- and-outs of a veterinary technician job, from possible career paths to typical responsibilities.

veterinary technician working in veterinary clinic holding a dog

Veterinary technicians are vital to ensuring that animal patients at clinics, hospitals, rescue shelters and zoos receive the best possible care and attention.

In order to care for sick or injured animals efficiently, every veterinarian needs the best available vet technician to keep operations running smoothly. As a vet tech, you’ll play a huge role in administering care to all kinds of animals in need.

What does a veterinary technician do?

If you choose to become a vet tech, the kinds of duties you perform on a daily basis will depend on the type of facility you work in, but you’ll always be assisting vets in caring for animal patients. Your duties will likely encompass a wide array of tasks, from keeping medical records to administering shots and medication. General tasks could include:

  • Observing animal patients for changes in behavior
  • Preparing animals for exams or surgery
  • Giving animals nursing care or first aid
  • Collecting and test lab samples
  • Taking and developing X-rays
  • Giving medications, shots, or treatments
  • Collecting and maintaining patient records

What career paths can I take as a veterinary technician?

Your job will always require working with animals, but there’s more than one way to put your degree to work and you may find yourself particularly drawn to a certain vet tech specialization. These specializations include:

  • Veterinary internal medicine: Researching general wellness and preventative medicine for animals
  • Critical care: Providing emergency care to sick or injured animals
  • Zoo keeping: Caring for animals in zoos or aquariums

As technology in the veterinary world grows, more and more career opportunities are opening up. Because of this, there are more specializations you can study within your vet tech program than ever before. During your program, you can focus your studies on one or more specialized areas, including:

  • Avian Medicine
  • Biomedical Research
  • Clinical Pathology
  • Dentistry
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Exotics
  • Large Animals
  • Small Animals
  • Surgery
  • Clinic Supervision

Whether you choose to study a specialized subject or not, there is a wide variety of facilities you can work at including labs, private clinics and animal shelters.

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.

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Tell us a little about yourself and we’ll connect you with schools that offer veterinary technician degree programs.