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Career Profile: Veterinary Technologists and Technicians

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.

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 114,400 people employed as veterinary technologists and technicians in the United States. The median annual salary is $36,300. Entry level employees earn approximately $25,520 per year and senior employees earn approximately $52,410 per year.

Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.

Job Duties

  • 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.
  • Prepare and administer medications, vaccines, serums, or treatments, as prescribed by veterinarians.
  • Restrain animals during exams or procedures.
  • Administer emergency first aid, such as performing emergency resuscitation or other life saving procedures.
  • Clean and sterilize instruments, equipment, or materials.
  • Provide veterinarians with the correct equipment or instruments, as needed.
  • Perform dental work, such as cleaning, polishing, or extracting teeth.
  • Observe the behavior and condition of animals and monitor their clinical symptoms.
  • Care for and monitor the condition of animals recovering from surgery.
  • 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.
  • Discuss medical health of pets with clients, such as post-operative status.
  • Clean kennels, animal holding areas, surgery suites, examination rooms, or animal loading or unloading facilities to control the spread of disease.
  • Give enemas and perform catheterizations, ear flushes, intravenous feedings, or gavages.
  • Fill prescriptions, measuring medications and labeling containers.
  • Collect, prepare, and label samples for laboratory testing, culture, or microscopic examination.
  • Prepare animals for surgery, performing such tasks as shaving surgical areas.
  • Take and develop diagnostic radiographs, using x-ray equipment.
  • Take animals into treatment areas and assist with physical examinations by performing such duties as obtaining temperature, pulse, or respiration data.
  • Prepare treatment rooms for surgery.
  • Maintain laboratory, research, or treatment records, as well as inventories of pharmaceuticals, equipment, or supplies.
  • 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.
  • Maintain instruments, equipment, or machinery to ensure proper working condition.
  • Dress and suture wounds and apply splints or other protective devices.
  • Administer anesthesia to animals, under the direction of a veterinarian, and monitor animals' responses to anesthetics so that dosages can be adjusted.
  • Conduct specialized procedures, such as animal branding or tattooing or hoof trimming.

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
114,400
Annual Openings:
10,400
Increase in Openings by 2030:
15%
Annual Salary Range:
$25,520 - $52,410
Education Requirements:
Associate's degree