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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 Assistant Certificate

Macomb Community College
Warren (0.0 Miles)

Veterinary Technology, A.A.S.

Cedar Valley College
Lancaster (0.0 Miles)

Veterinary Technology, A.A.S.

Columbus State Community College
Columbus (0.0 Miles)

Veterinary Assistant Certificate

College of Lake County
Grayslake (0.0 Miles)

Veterinary Assistant Continuing Education Certificate

Community College of Baltimore County
Baltimore (0.0 Miles)

Veterinary Assistant Non-Credit Certificate

Victoria College
Victoria (0.0 Miles)

Veterinary Assistant, A.A.T.

Community College of Beaver County
Monaca (0.0 Miles)

Veterinary Technician, A.A.S.

Macomb Community College
Warren (0.0 Miles)

Veterinary Technology, A.S.

Hillsborough Community College
Tampa (0.0 Miles)

Veterinary Technician Assistant Non-Credit Certificate

Cedar Valley College
Lancaster (0.0 Miles)
Cuyahoga Community College

Veterinary Technology, A.A.S.

Cuyahoga Community College
Brunswick (0.0 Miles)

Service Industry Training

Wake Technical Community College
Raleigh (0.0 Miles)
Meet Ambassador Allison Milstone
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


Licensed Veterinary Technician

Baroda ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 5 months 2 weeks ago

Veterinary Technician Instructor - DVM Part-time

Pima Medical Institute
Phoenix ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 6 months 4 weeks ago

HIRING NOW! Carolina Veterinary Specialists - Charlotte 3rd shift ER Technician/Assistant Seven on/Seven off.

Carolina Veterinary Specialists, Inc.
Charlotte ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 9 months 3 weeks ago

Veterinary Technicians - ICU

Carolina Veterinary Specialists, Inc.
Huntersville ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 1 year 4 months ago

Animal Care Technician / Husbandry (EG - NC)

Charles River
Raleigh ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 5 months 3 weeks ago

Certified Veterinary Technician

Des Plaines ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 3 months 4 weeks ago

Study Technician Vet Ops

Greenfield ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 3 months ago

Veterinary Technician - Pacific Veterinary Hospital

Petwell Partners, LLC
Portland ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 2 months 3 weeks ago