What is the Difference Between a Vet Tech and a Vet Assistant?

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a vet tech and a vet assistant? If so, you’re not alone. Many people are unsure of the distinction between the two roles. Keep reading to learn more about the key differences between vet techs and vet assistants.

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Job Duties

Vet techs are trained to perform many of the same duties as a vet assistant, such as restraining animals, collecting samples, and providing support to the veterinarian during procedures. In addition, vet techs often have more training and experience in animal care and are able to perform more technical procedures, such as administering injections and taking X-rays.

Vet Tech

A veterinary technician is a professional who works under the guidance of veterinarians to provide animal care. Similar to a nurse in the medical field, vet techs provide important support and services in animal hospitals and clinics. They often work directly with pet owners, providing education on animal health and answering any questions they may have.

The daily duties of a vet tech can vary depending on the needs of the animals they are caring for. In general, they may be responsible for tasks such as feeding and bathing animals, taking X-rays and blood samples, monitoring vital signs, administering medications, conducting lab tests, preparing animals for surgery, and assisting during procedures. In some states, vet techs may also be allowed to administer vaccinations.

Becoming a veterinary technician typically requires completing an accredited two-year associate’s degree program. Some states may also require licensing or certification. After completing their education and training, vet techs can find work in a variety of settings, including animal hospitals, clinics, zoos, research facilities, and pharmaceutical companies.

Vet Assistant

Vet assistants perform a variety of clinical and clerical tasks to support the work of veterinarians and veterinary technicians. They may feed and exercise animals, provide nursing care, take x-rays and lab samples, administer medications and vaccinations, prepare animals for surgery, sterile supplies, maintain medical records and schedule appointments. Many vet assistants have completed a formal training program offered by a veterinary hospital or community college. Some states require certification for vet assistants.

Education and Certification

A vet tech is a bit like a nurse for animals. Vet techs generally have more schooling than vet assistants. They might have an associate’s degree or even a bachelor’s degree in veterinary technology. Many vet techs are certified by passing an exam administered by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Vet Tech

Veterinary technicians typically need an Associate’s degree from an accredited community college or technical school. A few states require vet techs to be licensed, but most states do not. Once they have their degree, vet techs can take a credentialing exam to become certified. The credentialing organizations are the National Veterinary Technician Association (NVTA) and the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB). Certification is not required, but it may give job applicants an edge over those who are not certified.

After they are hired, vet techs undergo a period of on-the-job training. The length of training varies, but most techs are able to work independently after about a year. Some techs choose to specialize in a particular area, such as dentistry or anesthesia. These specialists may need to take additional coursework and pass a credentialing exam in their area of expertise.

Vet Assistant

Vet assistants play an important role in animal healthcare, but their duties are generally less medically involved than those of vet techs. Vet assistants typically help care for animals by cleaning cages, preparing food, and exercising them. They also may help with administrative tasks such as answering phones, scheduling appointments, and keeping medical records. Some vet assistants may be responsible for giving medications and vaccinations under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian or vet tech.


The average salary for a Veterinary Technician is $16.02 per hour. The average salary for a Veterinary Assistant is $13.00 per hour.

Vet Tech

Vet techs are animal health technicians who provide support to veterinarians and veterinary assistants. They have completed an accredited program and have passed a state-administered examination. Their duties include preparing animals and equipment for surgery, taking x-rays, obtaining lab samples, and providing nursing care. They also dispense medications and advise pet owners on animal health care. Earning a median salary of $33,280 per year, vet techs are paid slightly less than veterinary assistants.

Vet Assistant

The average salary for a Veterinary Assistant is $29,320 per year. A Veterinary Technician is a professional who has graduated from an accredited two-year veterinary technology program and has passed a standardized national board exam. The average salary for a Veterinary Technician is $33,470 per year.

Job Outlook

Vet techs have more responsibilities than vet assistants. They often work directly with the veterinarian and are responsible for animal care, lab work, and x-rays. Vet assistants typically work with the vet techs and are responsible for cleaning cages and kennels, restraining animals, and providing customer service. The job outlook for both vet techs and vet assistants is good.

Vet Tech

Vet techs are in high demand and the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 19% growth in the field by 2026. A vet tech is an important member of the animal healthcare team and is responsible for a variety of tasks, including:

-Restraining animals during examinations and procedures
-Collecting samples for testing
-Administering vaccinations
-Taking X-rays
-Assisting the veterinarian during surgeries

Vet techs must have excellent communication skills, as they will often be the primary point of contact between the animal owner and the veterinarian. They must be able to clearly explain procedures and relay instructions from the veterinarian to the owner. In addition, vet techs must be able to handle animals of all sizes and temperaments.

Vet Assistant

Vet assistants are allied health professionals who work alongside veterinarians and vet techs to provide support in animal hospitals, clinics and other veterinary care facilities. They may perform a variety of tasks, from cleaning cages and kennels to administering medications and vaccinations, taking X-rays, collecting lab samples and more. Like vet techs, they must have a strong interest in animal health care and be able to handle the physical demands of the job, which can be challenging at times.

There is no formal education or certification required to become a vet assistant, but most employers prefer to hire candidates who have at least a high school diploma or equivalent. Some states have laws governing the scope of practice for vet assistants, so it’s important to check your state’s regulations before beginning your job search.

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