Job description

Veterinary technicians work with veterinarians to evaluate, care and treat animals. The position contains a variety of duties, such as preparing for vaccinations, sterilising instruments, cleaning and wrapping wounds, checking vital statistics, and performing clerical tasks. They might also assist a veterinarian during surgery.

Duties

    • Perform a basic examination of animals before the veterinarian does a comprehensive checkup
    • Observe and record the behaviour of animals and notice symptoms of any illness
    • Discuss diets and overall medical health of pets with their owners
    • Prepare vaccinations and serums to prevent animals from contracting diseases
    • Organise and execute blood samples and transfer the samples to a laboratory for results
    • Administer anaesthesia to patients and monitor their response to the injection
    • Clean, maintain and sterilise instruments, materials and supplies for future use
    • Prepare animals for surgery and explain to owners each step taken
    • Ensure treatment rooms are clean and ready for use by the veterinarian
    • Maintain, update and organise laboratory, research and treatment records
    • Coordinate a treatment plan and answer any questions pet owners may have
    • Schedule future appointments and determine the right time for patients
    • Clean kennels and holding areas to prevent the spread of unwanted diseases

Skills, qualities and knowledge

Attention to detail
Physical stamina
Compassionate
Organisational
Problem-solving
Decision-making
Judgment
Communication
Time management
Dexterous
Administration
Teamwork
Independence

Working hours and environment

Average working hours

40hweek

Typical schedule

Full Time

Standard business hours

Veterinary technicians can anticipate a full-time schedule during regular business hours, but hours may vary depending on where they work. For example, if you’re employed at a veterinary clinic, then you can anticipate normal working hours. If you hold a position at a veterinary hospital, on the other hand, then you could have wide-ranging shifts that may require working evenings, weekends or holidays on occasion.

The work environment for a veterinary technician is a blend of celebration and regret. The high-paced workplace can make you feel ebullient that you are helping innocent animals, but then having to treat or put down sick dogs, cats and other pets can have you feeling down.

Salary

Bottom 10%

$23k

Median

$34k

Top 10%

$50k

Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.

Qualifications and training

Education level

Undergraduate

DVM / VMD degree

Study time

2years

A veterinary technician is expected to hold, at minimum, a two-year associate’s degree that concentrates in veterinary technology. It is highly recommended for those interested in pursuing this career to complete coursework in biology, chemistry and other science subjects in high school.

Licensing requirements vary by state, so it’s important to check with the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) for details. Generally, however, all veterinary technicians must pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination, a credentialing exam that proves you are adept in your field.

Job outlook

Projected growth
The projected growth rate of employment in the US from 2018 to 2028, based on data collected through the BLS Employment Projections (EP) programme. The national average growth rate for all professions is 5%.

19%

No of new jobs
The number of jobs projected to become available in the US between 2018 and 2028, based on data collected through the BLS Employment Projections (EP) programme.

21.1k

Automation risk
The probability of computerisation, based on data published in ‘The Future of Employment’, a 2013 working paper by Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne.

2.9%

Career progression

Many veterinary technicians advance to becoming veterinary technologists. Many clinics will request that you finish additional coursework, pass a further examination and attain other licensing as per the state’s regulatory mandates. Also, with years of experience, you can progress to internal medicine, X-ray machine operation and even surgery.