If your idea of the perfect job involves working with animals all day, then a veterinary technician job might be for you. Also called vet techs, technicians typically work in clinics and veterinary hospitals but are also employed at research laboratories and humane societies. They work under the direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian. They administer basic tests, monitor vital signs and take samples from patients to help with disease diagnosis. They also assist doctors during surgical exams. This job requires empathy and compassion. It can be deeply rewarding because these technicians help so many animals but also emotionally draining in other situations when an animal can’t be helped.
Work hours can vary significantly as some veterinary offices offer emergency care seven days a week. The job outlook for this field is expected to grow 16% between 2019 and 2029.
- Conduct initial review of patient and talk with owner
- Take initial readings of weight and vital signs
- Provide emergency triage to incoming critical patients. Stabilizing the patient for the doctor to further assess.
- Handle all patient imaging processes, including radiographs (X-rays), CT scans and MRIs
- Take blood for lab work to assess patient health
- Perform routine dental cleanings and imaging
- During surgeries, responsible for monitoring patient’s status under anesthesia, including blood pressure, respiration, heart rate and oxygen levels.
- Administer medicine to patient
- Provide home hospice care for senior pets to administrator medication and treatments
A high school diploma or equivalent is required. In addition, veterinary technicians earn a two-year associate degree accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).
Some states require certification, registration and licensing, but the rules vary. A related role, vet technologist, generally requires a bachelor’s degree. This job is one way to advance within the field.
- Love being around animals
- Communicate well with animal owners and veterinarians
- Are compassionate
- Are detail-oriented
- Have manual dexterity and steady hands
- Have the physical strength to constrain and lift large animals