Veterinary technologists and technicians play a crucial role in private clinics, laboratories and animal hospitals. Under the supervision of a veterinarian, they perform a wide range of job functions that ensure the general welfare of the animals under their care. As the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov) describes, some of the typical job responsibilities of veterinary technicians can include providing animals with emergency aid, administering anesthesia to animals undergoing surgery or testing, performing laboratory tests, taking X-rays, administering medications or vaccines, and taking records of animal behavior and history. According to the BLS, veterinarian technologists typically have a four-year bachelor's degree in veterinary technology and tend to work in advanced research positions, while veterinarian technicians usually earn a two-year associate's degree in a veterinary technology program and typically work in private clinical practices.
Veterinary tech job prospects
The BLS projects that employment for veterinary technologists and technicians will increase 30 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations combined. The rapid growth in this profession can be attributed to several factors including an expansion in the general duties of veterinary technologists and technicians and a growing reliance on their skills by licensed veterinarians.
Veterinary tech salary information
The BLS median annual wage for veterinary technologists and technicians was $30,500 nationally in 2013, with the top 10 percent of earners bringing in at least $44,490 and the bottom 10 percent earning up to$21,270. The BLS notes that the industries paying the highest annual mean wage nationally in 2013 were:
- Federal executive branch: $49,000
- General medical and surgical hospitals: $39,730
- Local government: $39,570
- State government: $39,380
- Drugs and druggists' sundries merchant wholesalers: $38,970
|Career||Projected Number of New Jobs||Projected Job Growth Rate|
|Veterinary Technologists and Technicians||17,900||18.7|
Career outlook for veterinary technologists and technicians
The BLS predicts that employment opportunities for veterinary technologists and technicians may be especially plentiful in rural areas, and that job growth may exceed expectations in certain fields such as public health, food and animal safety, disease control, and biomedical research. Depending on the state, most veterinary technologists and technicians must pass a credentialing exam such as the Veterinary Technician National Examination, notes the BLS. Technologists who would prefer to gain employment in a research lab setting can also earn credentials as an Assistant Laboratory Animal Technician (ALAT), Laboratory Animal Technician (LAT), or Laboratory Animal Technologist (LATG) through the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science.
Learn more about about veterinary technologists and technicians, along with training required, at vocational and technical schools in your area and online.
Veterinary Technologists and Technicians, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes292056.htm
Veterinary Technologists and Technicians, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/veterinary-technologists-and-technicians.htm