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Career profile Veterinary Technician

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

Veterinary Technician

Also known as Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT), Emergency Veterinary Technician (Emergency Vet Tech), Internal Medicine Veterinary Technician (Internal Medicine Vet Tech)

Interests Profile
  • Realistic
  • Investigative
  • Conventional
Pay Range
$25,520 - $52,410 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Critical Thinking
  • Active Listening
  • Reading Comprehension
Knowledge Areas
  • Medicine and Dentistry
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Biology
Core 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.
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What does a Veterinary Technician do?

Veterinary Technicians perform medical tests in a laboratory environment for use in the treatment and diagnosis of diseases in animals.

In addition, Veterinary Technicians

  • 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.

What kind of tasks does a Veterinary Technician perform regularly?

Veterinary Technicians are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following 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.
  • Restrain animals during exams or procedures.
  • Prepare and administer medications, vaccines, serums, or treatments, as prescribed by veterinarians.
  • Administer emergency first aid, such as performing emergency resuscitation or other life saving procedures.
  • Clean and sterilize instruments, equipment, or materials.
  • Perform dental work, such as cleaning, polishing, or extracting teeth.
  • Provide veterinarians with the correct equipment or instruments, as needed.
  • 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.
  • Take and develop diagnostic radiographs, using x-ray equipment.
  • Discuss medical health of pets with clients, such as post-operative status.
  • Prepare animals for surgery, performing such tasks as shaving surgical areas.
  • Collect, prepare, and label samples for laboratory testing, culture, or microscopic examination.
  • Prepare treatment rooms for surgery.
  • 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.
  • 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.

The above responsibilities are specific to Veterinary Technicians. More generally, Veterinary Technicians are involved in several broader types of activities:

Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Assisting and Caring for Others
Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Documenting/Recording Information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.

What is a Veterinary Technician salary?

The median salary for a Veterinary Technician is $36,260, and the average salary is $37,860. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Veterinary Technician salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Veterinary Technicians earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Veterinary Technicians earn less than $25,520 per year, 25% earn less than $30,030, 75% earn less than $43,890, and 90% earn less than $52,410.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Veterinary Technicians is expected to change by 14.9%, and there should be roughly 10,400 open positions for Veterinary Technicians every year.

Median annual salary
$36,260
Typical salary range
$25,520 - $52,410
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
14.9%

What personality traits are common among Veterinary Technicians?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Veterinary Technician are usually higher in their Realistic and Investigative interests.

Veterinary Technicians typically have very strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Also, Veterinary Technicians typically have very strong Investigative interests. Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Veterinary Technician tend to value Relationships, Support, and Independence.

Most importantly, Veterinary Technicians strongly value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Second, Veterinary Technicians moderately value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Lastly, Veterinary Technicians moderately value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Veterinary Technicians must consistently demonstrate qualities such as attention to detail, stress tolerance, and dependability.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Veterinary Technicians, ranked by importance:

Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Stress Tolerance
Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.

What education and training do Veterinary Technicians need?

Veterinary Technicians often have training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

Veterinary Technicians usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Veterinary Technicians

  • 1.7% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 15.7% completed high school or secondary school
  • 23.5% completed some college coursework
  • 32.8% earned a Associate's degree
  • 22.6% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 2.3% earned a Master's degree
  • 1.3% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Veterinary Technicians

Veterinary Technicians may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as medicine and dentistry, customer and personal service, or biology knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Veterinary Technicians might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

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.
Mathematics
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Chemistry
Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.

Important Abilities needed by Veterinary Technicians

Veterinary Technicians must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Veterinary Technicians need abilities such as oral expression, deductive reasoning, and inductive reasoning in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Veterinary Technicians, ranked by their relative importance.

Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Deductive Reasoning
The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
Inductive Reasoning
The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Information Ordering
The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).

Critical Skills needed by Veterinary Technicians

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Veterinary Technicians frequently use skills like critical thinking, active listening, and reading comprehension to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Veterinary Technicians, ranked by their relative importance.

Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Speaking
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Monitoring
Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.