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!
Related Careers: Veterinary Assistant, Veterinary Technologists and Technicians, Animal Breeders, Farm Animal Caretakers, NonFarm Animal Caretakers, Animal Trainers & Animal Scientists
Sources: Minnesota CAREERwise & CareerOneStop
Typical Work Tasks
People who work in this career often:
- Maintain medical facility records.
- Administer anesthetics or sedatives to control pain.
- Administer basic health care or medical treatments.
- Administer non-intravenous medications.
- Apply bandages, dressings, or splints.
- Assist healthcare practitioners during examinations or treatments.
- Assist patients with hygiene or daily living activities.
- Immunize patients.
- Position patients for treatment or examination.
- Prepare patients physically for medical procedures.
Typical Working Conditions
- Frequent contact with others.
- The importance of being accurate or exact.
- Working with a group or team.
- Frequent decision-making.
- Close physical proximity with other people.
- Exposure to minor burns, cuts, bites, or stings.
- Responsibility for others’ health and safety.
- Exposure to contaminants (like gases or odors).
- Wearing common protective or safety equipment such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, hard hats, or life jackets.
- Meeting strict deadlines.
Tools & Technology used by Veterinary Technician
Source: Minnesota CAREERwise
Most Important Skills for Veterinary Technician
- Thinking Critically—Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- 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—Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Monitoring Performance—Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Speaking—Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Being Aware of Others—Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Helping Others—Actively looking for ways to help people.
- Coordinating with Others—Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
- Learning New Things—Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Understanding How People Learn—Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
Most Important Knowledge Areas for Veterinary Technician
- 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.
- Mathematics—Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Clerical—Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
- 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.
- English Language—Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Biology—Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
- Education and Training—Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
- Sales and Marketing—Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
- Computers and Electronics—Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- Administration and Management—Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Different careers may be a good fit for your personality or interests. This career is:
- Realistic—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.
- Investigative—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.
Source: Minnesota CAREERwise
|Wages Per Hour For Veterinary Technicians (MN)|
Low indicates 25% of workers earn less and 75% earn more. Median indicates 50% of workers earn less and 50% earn more. High indicates 75% of workers earn less and 25% earn more.
This career is seeing very high growth compared to other careers. There will be a 17.1% growth new for Veterinary Technicians to meet market demand between 2018-2028. This includes the demand due to replacement (workers leaving the occupation or retiring) as well as growth.
Source: Minnesota CAREERwise
This career requires at least some college, and most professionals have an associates or bachelors degree. This career does require a license and there are certifications are helpful for growth.
View the local continuing education options from our partners: Central Lakes College & MSTATE
Helpful High School Courses
Examples of helpful classes that help you prepare for this career:
- Community Health
- Computer Applications
- Human Development
- Medical Ethics
- Research Methods
- Safety and First Aid/CPR
- World Languages
Source: Minnesota CAREERwise
Visit the Minnesota State Northern Agricultural Center of Excellence for more information about this and related careers, as well as links to education and training programs.
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