Veterinary technologists work under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian. Vet techs assist by performing a variety of tasks including: updating animal records, performing x-rays, taking blood samples, running laboratory tests and nursing sick animals.
Most vet techs work in private veterinarian offices and animal hospitals. Research facilities also offer employment opportunities for this profession. Zoos and aquariums provide a limited number of employment situations for vet techs.
Vet techs typically need to earn one or more degrees to find employment. A veterinary technician position requires a two-year degree, while a veterinary technologist usually earns a degree from a four-year program. Although the certification requirements vary from state to state, all states require that vet techs pass an exam following appropriate course work. The exam covers oral, written and practical components.
The amount of responsibility assigned to a vet tech depends on the supervising veterinarian. Most vet techs work directly with animal patients and their owners. These veterinary professionals carry out many different duties from paperwork to nursing sick pets.
Vet techs often have responsibility for diagnosing and treating diseases in animals, determining a course of treatment and following up with the patient as treatment progresses. A vet tech may assist the veterinarian by performing testing procedures such as analyzing blood or urine, preparing tissue samples and even providing dental treatment.
A vet tech could complete any of the following tasks:
Vet techs work with either small or large animals, but rarely work in a facility mixing the two types of patients. Vet techs generally need to communicate effectively, remain calm in stressful situations and demonstrate patience with animals.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be more jobs than techs for this field over the next decade. With a higher than average employment growth rate of 36%, vet tech jobs should be in abundance for both two- and four-year degreed professionals.
The Department of Labor Occupational Employment Statistics reveal that the average salary for a vet tech was over $28,000, with a salary range between $19,000 and $42,000 annually. Vet techs working for research facilities earn higher salaries, on the average, than those who are employed by private practices and animal hospitals.