Veterinary Technologist & Technician Career Information

The following information is from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Veterinary Technologists and Technicians. Please visit the website for a more comprehensive breakdown of the data.



Veterinary technologists and technicians, supervised by licensed veterinarians, do medical tests that help diagnose animals’ injuries and illnesses.

Veterinary technologists typically work in more advanced research-related jobs, usually under the guidance of a scientist or veterinarian. They work primarily in a laboratory setting and may administer medications, prepare tissues samples, or record an animals’ genealogy, weight, diet, and signs of pain.

Veterinary technicians generally work in private clinical practices under the guidance of a licensed veterinarian. They may work in a laboratory helping veterinarians conduct diagnostic tests, but they also talk with animal owners. They may explain a pet’s condition or how to administer medication prescribed by a veterinarian.

Job Duties

  • Observe the behavior and condition of animals
  • Provide nursing care or emergency first aid to recovering or injured animals
  • Bathe animals, clip nails or claws, and brush or cut animals’ hair
  • Restrain animals during exams or procedures
  • Administer anesthesia to animals and monitor their responses
  • Take x-rays and collect and perform laboratory tests, such as urinalyses and blood counts
  • Prepare animals and instruments for surgery
  • Administer medications, vaccines, and treatments prescribed by a veterinarian
  • Collect and record animals’ case histories


National Average Annual Pay (2019): $36,670

Top 5 States

1. Connecticut


2. Nevada


3. Virginia


4. New York


5. California


Bottom 5 States

50. Louisiana


49. West Virginia


48. Utah


47. Wyoming


46. Arkansas



To become a veterinary technician, you will go to a post-secondary veterinary program. You need an associate’s degree and it’s about a 2-year program.

To become a veterinary technologist, you need a bachelor’s degree which takes about 4 years to complete.

Both technologists and technicians must pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) to be registered, licensed, or certified. The exam is offered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards.

Veterinary technology or technician programs are accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

  • 1. Enter a Veterinary Technology/ Technician Program

    Veterinary technicians earn a 2-year associate’s degree.

    Veterinary technologists earn a 4-year bachelor’s degree.

  • 2. Pass the VTNE exam

  • 3. Find a Job as a Veterinary Technician or Veterinary Technologist


Detail Oriented

Veterinary technologists and technicians must pay attention to detail. They must be precise when recording information, performing diagnostic tests, and administering medication.


Veterinary technologists and technicians must treat animals with kindness and must be sensitive when dealing with the owners of sick pets.

Manual Dexterity

Veterinary technologists and technicians must handle animals, medical instruments, and laboratory equipment with care. They need a steady hand for intricate tasks such as doing dental work, giving anesthesia, and taking x rays.

Physical Strength

Veterinary technologists and technicians need to be able to manage and lift animals.

Communication Skills

Veterinary technologists and technicians communicate with supervisors, other staff, and animal owners. A growing number of technicians counsel pet owners on animal behavior and nutrition.

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