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What Does a Vet Technician Do?

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.

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Median Salary $
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Vet technicians focus on animal care, from checking a dog’s heart rate during an exam to helping the veterinarian diagnose a problem.
About 70% of U.S. households have a pet. Our love for animals has led to a growing need for vet technicians. (Credit: Tyler Olson/Shutterstock)
Duties + Responsibilities
  • 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
Education + Training

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.

You May Be a Good Fit for This Position If You
  • 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

Vet Technician training in your area


Veterinary Technician, A.A.S

Pierce College - Fort Steilacoom
Lakewood (0.0 Miles)

Veterinary Assistant Certificate

Midlands Technical College
West Columbia (0.0 Miles)

Animal Care and Veterinary Assistant Workforce Development

Montgomery College
Rockville (0.0 Miles)

Veterinary Technology, A.A.S.

Parkland College
Champaign (0.0 Miles)

Veterinary Assistant Certificate

Calhoun Community College
Tanner (0.0 Miles)

Veterinary Assistant Certificate

San Juan College
Farmington (0.0 Miles)

Veterinary Technology, A.S.

Valencia College
Orlando (0.0 Miles)

Veterinary Technology

LaGuardia Community College - CUNY
Long Island City (0.0 Miles)

Veterinary Technology, A.A.S.

Pierce College - Puyallup
Lakewood (0.0 Miles)

Veterinary Technology, A.A.S.

Piedmont Technical College
Greenwood (0.0 Miles)

Veterinary Assistant Workforce Development

Prince George's Community College
Largo (0.0 Miles)

Veterinary Technology, A.S.

Foothill-De Anza Community College District
Los Altos Hills (0.0 Miles)
Veterinary tech Allison Milstone with her dog, Reagan
Meet Ambassador Allison Milstone

Few people know what they want to do with their lives when they’re 8 years old, but Allison Milstone certainly did. A commercial during a football game sealed the deal for this vet technician. 

She didn’t start her working life in a vet’s office, but she knew she would always end up there. She says every day as a vet tech is different. “Some days it’s all puppies, kittens and sunshine. Other days it’s sick animals that need testing and diagnostics.” But it’s always worthwhile. 

Learn more about why Allison loves her job

Find Vet Technician Jobs in Your Area


Veterinary Technician or Experienced Assistant

VCA Antech, Inc.
Moraga ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 2 weeks 6 days ago

Credentialed Veterinary Technician

VCA Antech, Inc.
Woodland Hills ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 2 weeks 6 days ago

VCA Algiers Animal Hospital

VCA Antech, Inc.
Jefferson ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 2 weeks 6 days ago

Animal Technician

Livermore ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 3 weeks 5 days ago

Veterinary Technician

VCA Antech, Inc.
New Cumberland ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 3 weeks 4 days ago

Animal Care Technician I, Division of Comparative Medicine - Georgetown University Medical Center

Georgetown University
Washington ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 2 weeks 4 days ago

Veterinary Technician

Austin ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 2 weeks ago

Registered Veterinary Technician

VCA Antech, Inc.
Cincinnati ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 1 week 5 days ago