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Veterinary Technologists and Technicians
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Description: what do they do?
Perform medical tests in a laboratory environment for use in the treatment and diagnosis of diseases in animals. Prepare vaccines and serums for prevention of diseases. Prepare tissue samples, take blood samples, and execute laboratory tests, such as urinalysis and blood counts. Clean and sterilize instruments and materials and maintain equipment and machines. May assist a veterinarian during surgery.
Also known as:
Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT), Emergency Veterinary Technician (Emergency Vet Tech), Internal Medicine Veterinary Technician (Internal Medicine Vet Tech), Licensed Veterinary Technician (LVT), Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT), Veterinarian Technician (Vet Tech), Veterinary Laboratory Technician (Vet Lab Tech), Veterinary Nurse (Vet Nurse), Veterinary Technician (Vet Tech), Veterinary Technologist

    What does this information tell me?

    This description is a quick overview of what workers in this career might do.

    "Also known as" shows other common names for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from an O*NET database. Learn more on the Help page.

Career video
    Transcript: Veterinary technologists and technicians are the quiet heroes of animal care. These animal health care workers assist veterinarians in diagnosing and treating animals who are hurt or sick. Also called "vet techs," they provide nursing care or emergency first aid, take samples, and run tests in the lab. In the operating room, vet techs administer anesthesia, monitor patients' vital signs, and assist surgeons in a variety of ways. The vet tech even acts as dental hygienist, evaluating animals' teeth and cleaning them with special equipment. The work can involve lifting heavy animals. It can also be demanding, requiring great patience and empathy. Sick animals are often messy... and may bite and scratch when afraid. Sadly, some can't be helped. Vet techs are also responsible for administering euthanasia, when the veterinarian and family agree it is the kindest treatment option. Veterinary technologists and technicians typically work in private clinics and animal hospitals. Other settings include laboratories, colleges, and universities. Some jobs require evening, weekend, or holiday work hours. Variable schedules are common. Veterinary technologists usually have a bachelor's degree in veterinary technology, while veterinary technicians need an associate's degree in veterinary technology. Both technicians and technologists must become registered, licensed or certified, depending on their state requirements. And while vet techs' patients can't say "thank you," they have other ways to show their appreciation!
View transcript
Outlook: will there be jobs?
Image. Employment outlook for this occupation
New job opportunities are very likely in the future.

This occupation is:
  • Expected to grow much faster than average


    What does this information tell me?

    Outlook information can tell you whether a career is expected to be in demand in the future—that is, whether there are likely to be job openings if you choose this career. Please note that this does not account for the impacts of the current pandemic. Many occupations are likely to have very different outlooks due to the rapidly changing economy. When new outlook information is developed, it will be reflected here.

    Careers can have one of three outlooks:

    • A Bright outlook means new job opportunities are very likely in the future
    • An Average outlook means that a small number of new job opportunities are likely in the future (less than an 8 percent increase)
    • A Below Average outlook means new job opportunities are less likely in the future

    You can also view local job listings in this field by clicking "Find job openings". This can help you see if local businesses are hiring—another way of looking at demand.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET Bright Outlook occupations and My Next Move career outlook designations. Note this information is only available at a national level, so even if you selected a state, you’ll see this information for the whole country.

Projected employment
California
9,900
2018 Employment
12,000
2028 Employment
21%
Percent change
1,090
Annual projected job openings
United States
112,900
2019 Employment
131,200
2029 Employment
16%
Percent change
10,900
Annual projected job openings

    What does this information tell me?

    Projected employment shows how much employment is expected to grow in this occupation over a 10-year period. This can help you decide if this career is a good choice for future job opportunities. You can look at projected employment in your state, or in other states where you might consider living.

    You can see the total number of people employed in this occupation in 2018 (for states) or 2019 (for the United States), the number expected to be employed in 2028 (for states) or 2029 (for the United States), and rate of growth over those years.

    The projections are based on assumptions of unemployment rates and labor productivity growth rates.  While the projected numbers may not be exact, they are helpful to compare one career to another, or one location to another.

    Please note that these projections do not account for the impacts of the current pandemic. Many occupations are likely to have very different projections due to the rapidly changing economy. When revised data are available, they will be published here.

    What is the source of this information?

    State-level data come from Projections Central and each state's Labor Market Information office, 2018-28.

    National-level data come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, 2019-29.

Typical wages

Annual wages for Veterinary Technologists and Technicians in California
This graph displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
This chart displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
LocationCaliforniaUnited States
10%$32,070$25,520
25%$37,490$30,030
Median$46,370$36,260
75%$56,520$43,890
90%$64,610$52,410


    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you a range of how much most workers in this occupation earn per hour, in the location that you selected.

    You can select from three views of this data:

    • The Graph shows you wages at the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th and 90th percentiles. Note that the lowest (10th %ile) wage shown is not necessarily a "starting wage." Instead it means that 10 percent of all workers in this career earn less that this amount, and 90 percent earn more. However, you can assume that you might earn close to the 10th or 25th %ile wages when you start out in most careers.
    • Select "Chart" to see a visual comparison between national wages and wages in the location you selected.
    • Select "Table" to see more wage data the national and local level.

    Please note that wage data are not available at the city or ZIP code level. If you selected a city or ZIP code, you will see wage data for the regional area.

    You can learn more about wages for this and other occupations by clicking “See more wages” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    The wage information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics Program, May 2020 survey. For more detailed state wage data, please find the link to your state's wage data program in the Other Resources box.

Education and experience: to get started
People starting in this career usually have:
  • Associate's degree
  • No work experience
  • No on-the-job training

Programs that can prepare you:

    What does this information tell me?

    This shows you the typical level of education, work experience, and on-the-job training that most people have when they start in this career. Note that these are not requirements for entering this field, but the information can help you understand how qualified you might be.

    Interested in starting in this career? You can search for education programs in your local area by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, Education and training assignments by detailed occupation, 2019.

Typical education
How much education do most people in this career have?
Chart. Percent of workers in this field by education level attained

    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you the range of education levels that people who currently work in this field have. You can use this to see if you fit in this range. Note that this includes ALL people who work in this field and not just those getting started.

    Interested in getting qualified for this career? You can search for programs that lead to the education needed, in your local area, by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, Educational attainment for workers 25 years and older by detailed occupation, 2018.

Certifications: show your skills
Let employers know you have the skills to do well at this job.
Earning a certification can help you:
  • Get a job
  • Get a promotion

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find certifications" you'll see a list of national certifications that are related to this career. From there, you can learn how to achieve one of these certifications to help you enter or get ahead in this field.

    What is the source of this information?

    This collection of occupational certifications is collected and regularly updated by CareerOneStop. Learn more at Certification Finder Help.

Licenses: do you need one?
Some states require an occupational license to work in this career.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find license details in your state" you'll see the license name and contact information for the agency in your state that oversees licensing for this field. If you have not selected a location, you'll see a list of all state licenses for this occupation.

    What is the source of this information?

    Information on licensed occupations is gathered in each state by Labor Market Information units under a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. Learn more at License Finder Help.

Apprenticeships: learn on the job
Apprenticeships combine paid on-the-job-training with classroom lessons.

Activities: what you might do in a day
  • Administer anesthetics or sedatives to control pain.
  • Monitor patient conditions during treatments, procedures, or activities.
  • Monitor patients following surgeries or other treatments.
  • Maintain medical facility records.
  • Test biological specimens to gather information about patient conditions.
  • Immunize patients.
  • Prepare medications or medical solutions.
  • Administer non-intravenous medications.
  • Position patients for treatment or examination.
  • Treat medical emergencies.
  • Clean medical equipment or facilities.
  • Sterilize medical equipment or instruments.
  • Assist healthcare practitioners during examinations or treatments.
  • Treat dental problems or diseases.
  • Administer basic health care or medical treatments.
  • Prepare patients physically for medical procedures.
  • Collect biological specimens from patients.
  • Prepare biological specimens for laboratory analysis.
  • Communicate detailed medical information to patients or family members.
  • Process x-rays or other medical images.
  • Operate diagnostic imaging equipment.
  • Prepare medical supplies or equipment for use.
  • Maintain medical equipment or instruments.
  • Apply bandages, dressings, or splints.
  • Schedule patient procedures or appointments.
  • Provide health and wellness advice to patients, program participants, or caregivers.
  • Maintain inventory of medical supplies or equipment.
  • Order medical supplies or equipment.
  • Train medical providers.
  • Supervise patient care personnel.
  • Merchandise healthcare products or services.
  • Perform clerical work in medical settings.
  • Process medical billing information.
  • Assist patients with hygiene or daily living activities.
  • Care for animals.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical work activities that people in this career might do on the job. You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More activities” to see more detailed examples of activities for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these activities to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET’s Detailed Work Activities.

Knowledge
People in this career often know a lot about:
  • Medicine and Dentistry - Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of general knowledge areas that are most commonly required for jobs in the career. Knowledge is typically gained through education and related experience.

    This list can help you learn if you are prepared for a job in this career. It can also help you decide on education or training programs that could help you prepare for the career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Knowledge descriptors.

Skills
People in this career often have these skills:
  • Active Listening - Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
  • Critical Thinking - Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
  • Reading Comprehension - Reading work-related information.
  • Speaking - Talking to others.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list the work-related skills most commonly required for jobs in the career.

    This list can help you understand how well your current skills fit this career. It can also help you plan your education or professional development.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Skills descriptors.

Abilities
People in this career often have talent in:
  • Deductive Reasoning - Using rules to solve problems.
  • Inductive Reasoning - Making general rules or coming up with answers from lots of detailed information.
  • Near Vision - Seeing details up close.
  • Oral Expression - Communicating by speaking.
  • Problem Sensitivity - Noticing when problems happen.
  • Oral Comprehension - Listening and understanding what people say.
  • Written Comprehension - Reading and understanding what is written.
  • Speech Recognition - Recognizing spoken words.
  • Information Ordering - Ordering or arranging things.
  • Speech Clarity - Speaking clearly.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list of personal qualities that might influence work and are most commonly required for success in this career.

    This list can help you understand if your natural strengths and abilities are a good fit for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Abilities descriptors.

Interests
  • Investigative - Occupations with Investigative interests frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. They often involve research and figuring out problems mentally.
  • Realistic - Occupations with Realistic interests frequently involve practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of work environment-preferences that are most commonly associated with the career. It can help you understand if your natural interests are a good fit for this career.

    Click "Take an interest assessment" for a quick 30-question assessment that can help you understand your interests and see careers that might be good matches for them.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Interest descriptors.

Typical tasks
  • Administer anesthesia to animals, under the direction of a veterinarian, and monitor animals' responses to anesthetics so that dosages can be adjusted.
  • Care for and monitor the condition of animals recovering from surgery.
  • Maintain controlled drug inventory and related log books.
  • Perform laboratory tests on blood, urine, or feces, such as urinalyses or blood counts, to assist in the diagnosis and treatment of animal health problems.
  • Prepare and administer medications, vaccines, serums, or treatments, as prescribed by veterinarians.
  • Restrain animals during exams or procedures.
  • Administer emergency first aid, such as performing emergency resuscitation or other life saving procedures.
  • Clean and sterilize instruments, equipment, or materials.
  • Provide veterinarians with the correct equipment or instruments, as needed.
  • Perform dental work, such as cleaning, polishing, or extracting teeth.
  • Observe the behavior and condition of animals and monitor their clinical symptoms.
  • Give enemas and perform catheterizations, ear flushes, intravenous feedings, or gavages.
  • Fill prescriptions, measuring medications and labeling containers.
  • Prepare animals for surgery, performing such tasks as shaving surgical areas.
  • Collect, prepare, and label samples for laboratory testing, culture, or microscopic examination.
  • Discuss medical health of pets with clients, such as post-operative status.
  • Take and develop diagnostic radiographs, using x-ray equipment.
  • Clean kennels, animal holding areas, surgery suites, examination rooms, or animal loading or unloading facilities to control the spread of disease.
  • Take animals into treatment areas and assist with physical examinations by performing such duties as obtaining temperature, pulse, or respiration data.
  • Prepare treatment rooms for surgery.
  • Maintain laboratory, research, or treatment records, as well as inventories of pharmaceuticals, equipment, or supplies.
  • Maintain instruments, equipment, or machinery to ensure proper working condition.
  • Dress and suture wounds and apply splints or other protective devices.
  • Provide assistance with animal euthanasia and the disposal of remains.
  • Schedule appointments and procedures for animals.
  • Provide information or counseling regarding issues such as animal health care, behavior problems, or nutrition.
  • Monitor medical supplies and place orders when inventory is low.
  • Supervise or train veterinary students or other staff members.
  • Perform a variety of office, clerical, or accounting duties, such as reception, billing, bookkeeping, or selling products.
  • Bathe animals, clip nails or claws, and brush or cut animals' hair.
  • Conduct specialized procedures, such as animal branding or tattooing or hoof trimming.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical tasks that people in this career might do on the job.  You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More tasks” to see more detailed examples for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these tasks to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET‘s Tasks.

    What does this information tell me?

    These are additional online resources related to this career. You may find different or more detailed information at these sources.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information is collected and maintained by CareerOneStop.