Veterinary technologists and technicians typically do the following:
In addition to helping veterinarians during animal exams, veterinary technologists and technicians do a variety of clinical, care, and laboratory tasks.
Veterinary technologists and technicians who work in research-related jobs ensure that animals are handled carefully and are treated humanely. They may help veterinarians or scientists on research projects in areas such as biomedical research, disaster preparedness, and food safety.
Typically working with small-animal practitioners who care for cats and dogs, veterinary technologists and technicians also may have tasks that involve mice, cattle, or other animals.
Veterinary technologists and technicians may specialize in a particular discipline, such as dentistry, anesthesia, emergency and critical care, and zoological medicine.
Veterinary technologists typically work in more advanced research-related jobs, usually under the guidance of a scientist or veterinarian. Some technologists work in private clinical practices. Working primarily in a laboratory setting, they may administer medications; prepare tissue samples for examination; or record an animal’s genealogy, weight, diet, and signs of pain.
Veterinary technicians generally work in private clinical practices under the guidance of a licensed veterinarian. Technicians may do laboratory tests, such as a urinalysis, and help veterinarians conduct a variety of other diagnostic tests. Although they do some of their work in a laboratory, technicians also talk with animal owners. For example, they explain a pet’s condition or how to administer medication prescribed by a veterinarian.
Veterinary technologists usually have a 4-year bachelor’s degree in veterinary technology. Veterinary technicians usually have a 2-year associate’s degree in a veterinary technology program. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredits veterinary technology programs. Most of these programs offer a 2-year associate’s degree for veterinary technicians; others offer a 4-year bachelor’s degree for veterinary technologists
People interested in becoming a veterinary technologist or technician can prepare by taking biology and other science courses in high school.
Although each state regulates veterinary technologists and technicians differently, most candidates must pass a credentialing exam. Most states require technologists and technicians to pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE), offered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards.