How to Begin a Professional Career as a Veterinary Technician

Veterinary Technicians: A Quick Look
Median Salary$30,290 per annum
Entry-level educationAssociate’s degree
On-the-job trainingNo
Primary employersVeterinary clinics
Number of positions (U.S.)84,800
Job Growth (2012-2022)30% (Much faster than national average)
New positions (2012-2022)+25,000

vet techWhat Is A Veterinary Technician?

Veterinary technicians work under the supervision of a veterinarian to perform diagnostic tests and help with the treatment of animals. Read more.

Salary

The median veterinary technician salary was $30,290 in 2012 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Read more.

Becoming A Vet Tech

Veterinary technicians must complete a 2 year veterinary technician program and pass a credentialing exam. Find out How to Begin a Professional Career as a Veterinary Technician here Read more.

Click here to view a listing of local veterinary technician programs in your area.

Job Outlook

The job outlook for veterinary technicians is excellent, with job growth projected at 30% between 2012-2022. Read more.

Veterinary Technician Salary

How much do veterinary technicians make? The median annual vet tech salary was $30,290 according to 2012 numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The highest paid 10% of vet techs earned $44,030 or more, while the lowest paid 10% earned $21,030 or less. Veterinary technicians in research institutions earn more on average than those working in veterinary clinics.

How To Become A Vet Tech

Veterinary technicians must obtain a 2 year associate’s degree. While requirements vary state by state, typically veterinary techs must also become licensed, certified, or registered. How long does it take to become a vet tech? It takes approximately 2 years to become a veterinary technician. It takes 4 years for veterinary technologists – who perform similar tasks as technicians.

Educational Requirements

Veterinary technicians must graduate from an accredited veterinary technology program. There are currently 191 veterinary technology programs in the United States that are accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). All veterinary technology programs offer a 2 year associate’s degree, but 21 colleges also offer a 4 year bachelor’s degree program in veterinary technology.

Licensing, Certification, Registration

Most states require veterinary technicians pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) in order to be credentialed. The VTNE is a national 150 item exam administered by the American Association of Veterinary State Board, but the exam itself does not qualify the applicant for licensing, certification, or registration – unless they have also completed the other licensing requirements. Because licensing and certification requirements vary state-by-state, individuals seeking more details are advised to visit their local state board website.

Additional Information

If you'd like to know more about becoming a veterinary technician, you can request more information.

Veterinary Technician Job Description

What does a veterinary technician do? Veterinarian technicians (and technologists) carry out many of the same types of tasks that a nurse would for a physician, except vet techs work for veterinarians. Many vet techs also work in research laboratories. Veterinary technicians who work in veterinary offices typically carry out a wide variety of procedures in order to aide the veterinarian’s work. Some vet techs also specialize in specific aspects of veterinary care. For example, a vet tech might specialize in anesthesia, dental technology, emergency care, or zoological medicine.

Duties

Here are some of the typical day to day duties of a veterinary technician:
  • Manage and observe the animals under the veterinarian’s care
  • Provide emergency first aide to injured or recovering animals
  • Administer medication and/or vaccines, as prescribed by the veterinarian
  • Prepare equipment and injured animals for surgery
  • Collect laboratory samples
  • Perform clinical tests
  • Take X-rays and develop them

Job Outlook

The vet tech job outlook is excellent. The number of job positions in the country is expected to increase 30% from 2012-2022, which is far faster than the national average for all occupations of 11%. This increase in jobs will be driven by a growing pet population, as well as considerable advances in veterinary technology, which requires more veterinary technicians. Americans are also more willing to spend money on veterinary care than in the past. The increased attention to veterinary care has caused more veterinarians to become specialists, and in turn specialized vet techs are in demand to assist veterinarians in their practice. Additionally, the veterinary industry is increasingly turning to vet techs to perform lab work and general care that would have previously been in the domain of the veterinarian. And as the complexity of veterinary work increases, there will be a greater employment demand for vet techs over veterinary assistants.

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Posted in Glossary of Careers, Medical and Health Professions

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