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!
What 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.
On the job, you would:
Care for and monitor the condition of animals recovering from surgery.
Maintain controlled drug inventory and related log books.
Administer anesthesia to animals, under the direction of a veterinarian, and monitor animals' responses to anesthetics so that dosages can be adjusted.
Arts and Humanities
Math and Science
arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics
medicine and dentistry
listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
communicate by speaking
listen and understand what people say
Ideas and Logic
notice when problems happen
use rules to solve problems
Hand and Finger Use
put together small parts with your fingers
hold or move items with your hands
do two or more things at the same time
People interested in this work like activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions.
They do well at jobs that need:
Attention to Detail
You might use software like this on the job:
Animal Intelligence Software Animal Intelligence
McAllister Software Systems AVImark
Data base user interface and query software
associate's degree or high school diploma/GED usually needed
Get started on your career:
New job opportunities are very likely in the future.