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Veterinary technician job: Responsibilities, salary, and skills
Last updated: September 30, 2022
Michael Frash
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Veterinary technician job: Responsibilities, salary, and skills
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A veterinary technician is an excellent career choice for any animal lover.

It’s a job that involves taking care of animals, diagnosing injuries and illnesses, and providing treatment, all under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian.

This can be a great way to work in the animal health world without going through the lengthy and expensive schooling involved in becoming a veterinarian.

The job outlook is excellent, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reporting 16% growth between 2019-2029.

Let’s look at what exactly a veterinary technician does, how much they make, and how to become one.

What is a veterinary technician?

Veterinary technicians are, on a basic level, animal nurses that practice veterinary medicine. However, they do much more than that.

They act as patient advocates, relaying information from the patient to the doctor and advocating for their interests.

They may also act as phlebotomists (who take blood samples), anesthesia technicians (putting animals to sleep for surgery), and even help with surgical procedures.

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Becoming a veterinary technician takes a while, as there’s a lot of training involved in preparing them for so many different tasks. However, it’s a rewarding career for anyone who enjoys working with animals.

Veterinary technician job responsibilities

A veterinary technician doesn’t do just one thing. They have their hands full with many different tasks, making this an exciting and fulfilling job.

Veterinary technologists and technicians typically perform the following tasks:

  • Monitor animal’s vital signs and ensure they’re doing well

  • Bathe animals, clip their nails, and groom them on occasion

  • Restrain animals during examinations

  • Provide critical care and first aid to animals who are injured

  • Take blood and administer anesthesia

  • Administer vaccines, medications, and treatments to animals as ordered by the vet

  • Take x-rays and perform laboratory tests

  • Communicate with pet owners and record medical histories

  • Assist veterinarians with other tasks

A veterinary practice is an intensive work environment that requires multi-tasking and high levels of empathy. A veterinary technician sees animals at all stages of life, meaning it’s also an emotionally demanding job.

But the rewards are worth it for anyone who loves to work with animals. You’ll improve the quality of life for thousands of animals, both big and small, over the course of your career.

Veterinary technician skills and experience requirements

While becoming a veterinary technician doesn’t take as long as becoming a veterinarian, it does require a lot of schooling.

Vet technicians must complete a two-year associate’s degree, while technologists need to complete a four-year bachelor’s degree.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredits these veterinary technology programs, so it’s important to look for schools that the association recognizes.

After attaining a degree, it’s important to get certified. Although regulations vary depending on your state, most have to pass a credentialing exam. You’ll likely need to complete the Veterinary Technician National Examination offered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards.

Completing your degree and getting certified is enough to get your first job. There are various entry-level positions out there as well as internships, should you choose to go down that path.

For the most part, the skills needed are taught in your courses. But it pays to have excellent communication skills, a high level of empathy and compassion, and the ability to handle pressure. It can be a stressful job that requires a lot of energy.

Veterinary technician salary and employment rates

According to the BLS, a veterinary technician makes around $36,260 annually. This salary is more closely linked to techs working in veterinary clinics and animal hospitals.

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On the higher end, a vet tech can make up to $52,410 per year. Vet techs who make the most generally work in colleges and universities, assisting with research. This is a lucrative opportunity for all technicians.

When we look at job growth, we see that the job outlook will grow by 16% between 2019 and 2029. This is monumentally more than the national average (4%), ensuring that anyone in the field should be able to find work.

Veterinary technician resume tips

Here are five resume tips that will help you land a vet technician job.

1. Drop the career objective

The best resumes have a summary statement, not a career objective.

Career objectives are outdated and tell recruiters nothing of value. With a summary statement, you’ll communicate your past experiences and how they qualify you for the job you’re applying for.

2. Keep it simple

Hiring managers only look at resumes for a couple of seconds before putting them aside.

If you keep your resume simple, it’ll be easy to follow, and the hiring manager will be able to digest the important information. This is better than a flashy resume with images and color, as those distract from the main point.

3. Showcase recent experience

Rather than talk about work experience you had ten years ago, include your most recent experience.

Start with your most recent job and go in reverse chronological order, listing the last couple of jobs you’ve had. If they are relevant to the position you’re applying for, all the better.

4. Tailor your resume and cover letter to the job description

When writing your resume and cover letter, use the veterinary technician job description as a reference.

It’s not only a good way to let recruiters know you have the right skill set, but it also gets those keywords in.

Most resumes are never seen by real humans. When you use keywords, you’ll pass the automated system and get your resume in front of a real person.

5. Proofread and edit everything

Make sure you proofread your resume and cover letter. No recruiter will respond to your application if it’s filled with errors.

Veterinary technician jobs hiring right now

Here are some veterinary technician jobs that you can apply for right now.

Veterinary assistant

A veterinary assistant works under a veterinarian or vet technician and assists with miscellaneous tasks in the clinic. This job requires only a high school diploma or GED.

Find veterinary assistant jobs on Jobcase today.

Veterinary technician

There are hundreds of veterinary technician jobs out there to apply for today.

Find veterinary technician jobs on Jobcase today.

Public health veterinarian

A public health vet focuses on protecting humans and other animals from diseases caused by animals.

Find public health veterinarian jobs on Jobcase today.

Land a veterinary technician job today

If you’re looking for a career working with animals, you may want to look into becoming a veterinary technician.

It requires much less schooling than becoming a veterinarian and involves a lot of the same fulfilling work. You’ll work with animals all day long, improving their quality of life.

The BLS reports excellent growth for this job, so you’ll have no trouble getting your foot in the door.

You can find more tips for job seekers searching for a veterinary technician job by visiting our Getting Hired Resource Center.

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