What Does a Veterinary Technician Do?Vet techs work directly under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian to provide care for sick or injured animals. They observe animal behavior and perform medical tests to help make diagnoses; provide emergency first aid to animals who have been injured; administer anesthesia to animals undergoing surgical procedures; take X-rays; prepare animals for surgery; administer treatments and medications; and maintain files. Vet techs work in a variety of environments, including private vet clinics, laboratories, animal hospitals, boarding kennels, animal shelters, rescue leagues, and zoos.
What Is the Salary and Job Outlook for Vet Techs?Veterinary technicians earn an average annual salary of $30,290 according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is a fast growing career, with 30 percent increase in jobs projected by 2022. That means that there will be more than 25,000 new positions in that time frame for vet techs in the United States.
How Does One Become a Vet Tech?Veterinary technicians must complete a two-year associate’s degree program that’s accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). There are currently 217 such programs in the United States. Most states also require vet techs to be licensed, a process that varies by state but typically involves passing the Veterinary Technician National Examination. Veterinary technicians who would like to further their education can go on to become vet technologists, which is a four-year bachelor’s degree program.
The ideal candidate to become a vet tech is someone who is compassionate, detail-oriented, and has excellent communication and problem-solving skills. The work is sometimes physically and emotionally demanding, particularly for those techs whose responsibilities include euthanizing animals. However, this career can be quite rewarding for the right person. If that sounds like you, get started by contacting a veterinary technician program in your area.