What Does a Vet Tech Do?

Considering a career as a veterinary technician? Find out what veterinary technicians do on a daily basis and what the job outlook is for this career.

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vet techs are the medical professionals who work alongside veterinarians to provide care for animals. While vet techs do not have as much responsibility as veterinarians, they play an important role in animal healthcare.

Vet techs typically have an associate’s degree in veterinary technology, which takes about two years to complete. After completing their education, vet techs must pass a national exam to become certified.

Vet techs typically work in veterinary clinics, but they may also work in zoos, research laboratories, or pharmaceutical companies. Their duties vary depending on their employer, but they typically include caring for animals, performing laboratory procedures, and educating pet owners about animal care.

The Many Roles of a Vet Tech

Veterinary technicians play an important role in animal health care. They work closely with veterinarians to provide medical care for animals. Vet techs often take on many of the same responsibilities as nurses in human health care. They may give injections, take x-rays, and perform other medical procedures.

Animal Care

The majority of a vet tech’s time is spent caring for animals. This can include everything from cleaning cages and kennels to preparing animals for surgery. Vet techs often work with animals that are injured, sick, or recovering from surgery, so they must be able to handle them with care and compassion. In some cases, vet techs may also be responsible for euthanizing animals that are very sick or have been injured beyond hope of recovery.

Laboratory Work

Much of a vet tech’s job revolves around laboratory work. This may include taking and processing X-rays, collecting blood, urine and tissue samples, preparing slides for microscopes and running various laboratory tests.

Client Education

Vet techs play a vital role in client education. Because they spend so much time with clients and their pets, they are in a unique position to provide information about how to best care for animals. In addition to answering questions about medical procedures and at-home care, vet techs also provide clients with resources, such as handouts and brochures. They may even give presentations to groups of pet owners on topics such as preventive care, nutrition, and responsible pet ownership.

The Training and Education Required to Become a Vet Tech

A veterinary technician is a professional who provides direct patient care and assists the veterinarian in the animal clinic. A veterinary technician has an Associate’s degree in veterinary technology. A veterinary technician is also known as a veterinary technologist. The training and education to become a vet tech usually takes two to four years.

Associate’s Degree

While there are many certificate and diploma programs available, most employers prefer to hire vet techs with at least an associate’s degree in veterinary technology. These accredited 2-year programs are typically offered through community colleges and technical schools. During the first year, students take classes in animal science, math, and general education courses. The second year is primarily focused on labs and clinical rotations. Students may also have the opportunity to specialize in a certain area, such as dentistry or anesthesia.


In order to practice, vet techs must be licensed in the state in which they work. While requirements vary by state, most require completion of an accredited veterinary technology program and passing scores on both a national and state exam.

The National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners (NBVME) administers the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE), which all candidates must pass before becoming licensed. The VTNE is a three-and-a-half hour, computer-based exam that tests candidate’s knowledge in the following areas: general principles, anesthesia, surgical nursing, laboratory procedures, dentistry, pharmacology, imaging, nutrition and avian/exotic/zoological nursing.

Additionally, most states require candidates to pass a state jurisprudence exam that tests their knowledge of veterinary laws and ethics. A few states have approved alternative licensure routes for individuals with experience working as a vet tech or in a related field. For example, some states allow candidates to substitute years of experience for education or examination requirements.

The Benefits of Being a Vet Tech

Being a vet tech can be a very rewarding career. You will be able to work with animals and help them to stay healthy and improve their quality of life. Vet techs also have the opportunity to work with a variety of people, including pet owners, veterinarians, and other animal care professionals.

Helping Animals

There are many benefits to being a veterinary technician. One of the most rewarding aspects is the opportunity to help animals. As a vet tech, you will be responsible for providing care and treatment to sick and injured animals. You will also be able to work with healthy animals to prevent them from becoming sick or injured. By working with animals, you will be able to make a difference in their lives and in the lives of their owners.

Variety of Work

Working as a vet tech gives you the opportunity to work with many different types of animals on a daily basis. You will get to know the regular patients and their owners, but you will also meet new animals and people all the time. No two days are alike, which can make the job both challenging and exciting.

Good Salary and Job Outlook

Veterinary technicians have a good job outlook The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that job opportunities for vet techs will grow by 19% from 2019 to 2029, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is due in part to an increase in the pet population. As more people own pets, there will be a greater need for veterinary care.

In addition to strong job growth, vet techs also enjoy a good salary. The median annual wage for vet techs was $35, 320 in 2019, according to the BLS. The top 10% of earners made more than $50,410 per year, and the bottom 10% earned less than $24,600 per year.

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