Veterinary Tech Job Description

Veterinary technician assisting with a pet check up.  Vet tech's assist veterinarians and help deliver quality care to animals of all sizes.

Veterinary technician assisting with a pet check up.  Vet tech's assist veterinarians and help deliver quality care to animals of all sizes.


Veterinary Tech Job Description: Veterinary techs typically conduct clinical work in a private practice under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian. They often perform various medical tests and treat and diagnose medical conditions and diseases in animals.

For example, they may perform laboratory tests such as urinalysis and blood counts, assist with dental prophylaxis, prepare tissue samples, take blood samples, or assist Veterinarians in a variety of tests and analyses in which they often use various items of medical equipment, such as test tubes and diagnostic equipment.

Most of the Veterinarian Tech Job description occurs in a laboratory setting. However, there are significant areas where they deal with the public and animals directly. For example, some veterinary technicians obtain and record patients’ case histories, expose and develop x rays and radiographs, and provide specialized nursing care. In addition, experienced veterinary technicians may discuss a pet’s condition with its owners and train new clinic personnel.

Veterinary technologists and technicians assisting small-animal practitioners usually care for companion animals, such as cats and dogs, but can perform a variety of duties with mice, rats, sheep, pigs, cattle, monkeys, birds, fish, and frogs. Very few veterinary technologists work in mixed animal practices where they care for both small companion animals and larger, nondomestic animals.

Working Environment

People who love animals get satisfaction from working with and helping them. However, some of the work may be unpleasant, physically and emotionally demanding, and sometimes dangerous. At times, veterinary technicians must clean cages and lift, hold, or restrain animals, risking exposure to bites or scratches. These workers must take precautions when treating animals with germicides or insecticides. The work setting can be noisy.

Veterinary technologists and technicians who witness abused animals or who euthanize unwanted, aged, or hopelessly injured animals may experience emotional stress. Those working for humane societies and animal shelters often deal with the public, some of whom might react with hostility to any implication that the owners are neglecting or abusing their pets. Such workers must maintain a calm and professional demeanor while they enforce the laws regarding animal care.

In some animal hospitals, research facilities, and animal shelters, a veterinary technician is on duty 24 hours a day, which means that some may work night shifts. Most full-time veterinary technologists and technicians work about 40 hours a week, although some work 50 or more hours a week.

Training and Qualifications -to be a Veterinarian tech

Most entry-level veterinary technicians have a 2-year associate degree from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)-accredited community college program in veterinary technology in which courses are taught in clinical and laboratory settings using live animals. About 16 colleges offer veterinary technology programs that are longer and that culminate in a 4-year bachelor’s degree in veterinary technology. These 4-year colleges, in addition to some vocational schools, also offer 2-year programs in laboratory animal science. Several schools offer distance learning.

Licensing and Credentialing

Each state deals with the issue of licensing or registration differently. Depending on the state a veterinary tech may be licensed, credentialed or registered. Almost all states require the same certification process in the form of graduation from an accredited school of veterinary technology and passing an national veterinary exam.

Significant Points for the Veterinarian Tech Job Description

Animal lovers get satisfaction from this occupation, but aspects of the work can be unpleasant, physically and emotionally demanding, and sometimes dangerous.

Entrants generally complete a 2-year or 4-year veterinary technology program and must pass a State examination.

Employment is expected to grow much faster than average.

Overall job opportunities should be excellent; however, keen competition is expected for jobs in zoos and aquariums.

Career Progression

Opportunity to become lead tech exists in larger practices. Many Veterinary techs further their career in veterinary medicine by becoming a fully trained Veterinarian.

Resources for Veterinary Technologist Job Description:

Veterinary Technologist: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition.

Association of Veterinary Technician Educators