Vivarium Technician Career Profile

How do I become a vivarium technician?

READ: This page helps you to read about the career and the info you need to decide on whether this is indeed the career you want to follow.

RESEARCH: ​Learn about the skills required and minimum subjects to enter this career, as well as the places where you can study further after school.

PREPARE: If you want to plan and prepare for the career, then join the OZT Community! Members have access to tools, while chatting with other students and experts from around the world. Prepare to be amazed!

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4 January 2024

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What is a vivarium technician?

A vivarium technician is a professional responsible for the care and management of a vivarium, which is a controlled Environment where living organisms, often animals, are kept for research, breeding, or educational purposes. Vivariums are designed to Mimic natural habitats and provide a controlled setting for the study of various species.

Animal Career Profiles

Career Categories

The Vivarium Technician career can be found in the following career categories:

  • Animal Care
  • Animal Health

What does a Vivarium Technician do?

With which Groups of animals does a Vivarium Technician work with?

Farm Animals Icon OZT
Farm Animals
Mammals List Icon OZT
Mammals
Reptiles List Icon OZT
Reptiles
Amphibians List Icon OZT
Amphibians

What is the level of Interaction with the Animals?

With whom does a Vivarium Technician work?

A vivarium technician collaborates with various individuals and groups to ensure the proper functioning of the vivarium and the well-being of the organisms within it. Here are some key stakeholders with whom a Vivarium Technician may work:

Researchers and scientists:

Vivarium technicians often collaborate closely with researchers and scientists who conduct experiments or studies involving the organisms within the vivarium. They may assist in providing animals for research, implementing experimental protocols, and collecting data.

Veterinarians:

Veterinary professionals play a crucial role in ensuring the health and well-being of the animals in the vivarium. Vivarium technicians work closely with veterinarians to monitor animal health, administer medications, and address any medical issues.

Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUC):

Many institutions have IACUCs that oversee and approve research involving animals. Vivarium technicians may interact with these committees to ensure that animal care and use protocols comply with ethical and regulatory standards.

Facility Managers:

Vivarium technicians work with facility managers, who oversee the overall operation and maintenance of the vivarium. This includes managing infrastructure, equipment, and environmental control systems.

Administrative Staff:

Vivarium technicians may communicate with administrative staff responsible for budgeting, procurement, and overall management of the vivarium facility. This collaboration helps ensure that resources are allocated appropriately to support the vivarium’s operations.

Animal Behaviourists:

In cases where behavioural studies are conducted, Vivarium Technicians may collaborate with animal behaviourists to monitor and assess the behavior of the organisms within the vivarium.

Students and Trainees:

In educational institutions, Vivarium Technicians may work with students, interns, or trainees who are learning about animal care, research methodologies, and vivarium management.

Biosecurity and Safety Personnel:

Vivarium Technicians collaborate with individuals responsible for biosecurity and safety measures to prevent the spread of diseases and maintain a secure and controlled environment within the vivarium.

Effective communication and collaboration with these stakeholders are essential to ensure the ethical treatment of animals, compliance with regulations, and the success of research initiatives conducted within the vivarium.

What does a Vivarium Technician focus on?

The Vivarium Technician follows established practices and procedures to provide routine animal care and husbandry and assists research staff in performing technical work related to the care and use of research animals.

What are the daily tasks of a Vivarium Technician?

The daily tasks of a vivarium technician can vary based on the specific type of vivarium, the organisms housed within it, and the overall goals of the facility. However, common daily tasks include:

Animal Care:

  • Feed and provide water to animals according to established schedules.
  • Monitor animal health, behaviour, and overall well-being.
  • Clean and sanitise animal enclosures or cages.
  • Administer medications as directed by veterinarians or researchers.

Environmental Monitoring:

  • Check and adjust environmental parameters such as temperature, humidity, and lighting.
  • Monitor and maintain proper ventilation within the vivarium.

Record Keeping:

  • Maintain detailed records of animal care, health status, and any experimental procedures.
  • Document environmental conditions within the vivarium.

Breeding Management:

  • If applicable, oversee breeding programmes and manage the reproduction of animals.
  • Monitor pregnant animals and assist with the care of newborns.

Research Support:

  • Collaborate with researchers to facilitate experiments and studies.
  • Provide animals and the necessary support for research projects.

Cage or Enclosure Maintenance:

  • Clean and sanitise cages or enclosures to ensure a hygienic environment.
  • Repair or report any issues with cages, equipment, or infrastructure.

Biosecurity Measures:

  • Implement and maintain biosecurity protocols to prevent the spread of diseases.
  • Follow quarantine procedures for newly acquired animals.

Collaboration and Communication:

  • Communicate with researchers, scientists, veterinarians, and other stakeholders to coordinate activities.
  • Attend meetings to discuss vivarium operations, animal care protocols, and research projects.

Training and Supervision:

  • Train and supervise staff, students, or volunteers involved in vivarium activities.
  • Ensure that all personnel follow established protocols and guidelines.

Compliance:

  • Ensure compliance with institutional, ethical, and regulatory standards for animal care and use.
  • Participate in inspections and audits.

Emergency Response:

  • Be prepared to respond to emergencies, such as animal health crises or facility issues.

The tasks listed above provide a general overview, and the specific duties can vary based on the vivarium’s focus and the types of organisms being housed. 

With what kind of tools and technology (if any) does a Vivarium Technician work?

Vivarium Technicians work with various tools and technologies to support the care and management of animals in laboratory settings. Here are some common tools and technologies utilized by Vivarium Technicians:

Animal Handling Equipment:

Tools such as handling gloves, forceps, and restraint devices are used for safely handling and restraining animals during procedures and routine care.

Cage and Bedding Management Equipment:

Cage washers, autoclaves, and bedding dispensers are used for cleaning and sterilizing cages, as well as preparing fresh bedding materials for animal enclosures.

Environmental Monitoring Devices:

Instruments for monitoring environmental conditions within the vivarium, including temperature, humidity, lighting, and ventilation systems, ensure optimal conditions for animal health and research integrity.

Health Monitoring Equipment:

Tools for monitoring animal health, such as thermometers, scales, and blood pressure monitors, help Vivarium Technicians assess the well-being of animals and detect any signs of illness or distress.

Laboratory Equipment:

Basic laboratory equipment, including microscopes, centrifuges, and pipettes, may be used for conducting routine tests, sample collection, and other laboratory procedures.

Data Management Systems:

Computerized systems for managing animal records, including identification information, health status, experimental protocols, and regulatory compliance data, ensure accurate and up-to-date documentation.

Security and Access Control Systems:

Security systems, including access control devices and surveillance cameras, help ensure the safety and security of animals, personnel, and research facilities.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):

Safety gear such as lab coats, gloves, safety goggles, and face masks are essential for protecting Vivarium Technicians from potential hazards, including biological and chemical exposures.

Biohazard Containment Equipment:

Equipment for handling biohazardous materials, including biological safety cabinets, spill kits, and waste disposal systems, help mitigate the risks associated with working with hazardous agents.

Training and Educational Resources:

Online training modules, educational videos, and reference materials provide ongoing professional development opportunities for Vivarium Technicians to stay updated on best practices and industry standards.

Communication Tools:

Communication devices such as phones, radios, and email systems facilitate coordination and collaboration among Vivarium Technicians, researchers, veterinarians, and other stakeholders within the facility.

Emergency Response Equipment:

Emergency response kits, first aid supplies, and evacuation plans are essential for preparing Vivarium Technicians to respond effectively to emergencies such as fires, natural disasters, or medical incidents.

Vivarium Technicians are trained to use these tools and technologies safely and effectively to ensure the well-being of animals and the success of research endeavors conducted within the vivarium. Ongoing training and proficiency in utilizing these resources are essential aspects of the role.

The working environment of a Vivarium Technician

Where does a Vivarium Technician work?

The working environment and places of employment for a vivarium technician can vary based on the type of vivarium and the specific focus of the facility. Here are some common aspects of the indoor and outdoor working environments, as well as potential places of employment:

Indoor Working Environment:

Vivarium Facilities:

Vivarium technicians primarily work within indoor facilities specifically designed to house and care for animals used in research, breeding, or educational purposes. These facilities aim to provide controlled environments with regulated temperature, humidity, and lighting.

Animal Housing Areas:

The indoor space includes animal housing areas with cages, enclosures, and specific environments tailored to the needs of the organisms being cared for.

Laboratories:

Some vivariums are closely connected to research laboratories, and vivarium technicians may work in or around these spaces to support ongoing experiments and studies.

Office Spaces:

Administrative tasks, record-keeping, and coordination with other staff members often involve working in office spaces within or near the vivarium facility.

Meeting Rooms:

Vivarium technicians may participate in meetings with researchers, veterinarians, and other stakeholders to discuss animal care protocols, research projects, and facility management.

Outdoor Working Environment (if applicable):

Outdoor Enclosures:

In some cases, vivariums may have outdoor enclosures or facilities for certain organisms. Vivarium technicians might be involved in the care and maintenance of these outdoor spaces.

Greenhouses:

If the vivarium includes plants or organisms requiring specific light conditions, vivarium technicians may work in greenhouses or controlled outdoor environments.

Places of Employment:

Universities and Research Institutions:

Many Vivarium Technicians work in academic institutions and research centres where they support scientific research and educational initiatives.

Pharmaceutical Companies:

Vivarium facilities are often found in pharmaceutical companies engaged in drug development and testing. Technicians in these settings may be involved in studies related to the effects of new drugs.

Biotechnology Companies:

Companies involved in biotechnology research and development may have vivarium facilities for studying and manipulating living organisms.

Government Agencies:

Some government agencies, such as those focused on public health or environmental research, may have vivarium facilities where Vivarium Technicians play a role in supporting research initiatives.

Zoos and Conservation Organisations:

Zoos and conservation organisations may employ Vivarium Technicians to manage and care for captive breeding programmes, as well as to support research and conservation efforts.

Medical Schools and Hospitals:

Vivariums associated with medical schools and hospitals may focus on research related to human health, and Vivarium Technicians in these settings contribute to studies on disease models and treatments.

In summary, Vivarium Technicians primarily work indoors within vivarium facilities, laboratories, and office spaces.

What is the average annual salary of a Vivarium Technician?

Salaries for Vivarium technicians can vary widely based on factors such as experience, education, location, and the specific industry or institution. Additionally, salary data may change over time, and it’s important to consult the most recent sources for accurate information. The figures provided below are approximate.

United States (USA):

$35,000 to $60,000 USD

Canada:

$40,000 to $65,000 CAD

United Kingdom (UK):

£20,000 to £35,000 GBP

India:

₹300,000 to ₹600,000 INR

Australia:

$50,000 to $75,000 AUD

New Zealand:

NZ$45,000 to NZ$65,000

Nigeria:

₦1,000,000 to ₦2,500,000 NGN

Kenya:

KSh 500,000 to KSh 1,200,000 KES

South Africa:

R150,000 to R350,000 ZAR

Regional Averages:

South America:

The salary can vary widely across South American countries. In general, it may range from $20,000 to $40,000 USD.

Europe:

The salary can vary significantly across European countries. In Western European countries, the average may range from €25,000 to €40,000 EUR, while in Eastern European countries, it may be lower.

South East Asia:

The salary can vary across countries in South East Asia. In general, it may range from $10,000 to $30,000 USD.

It’s important to consider that these figures are estimates, and actual salaries may differ based on individual circumstances, local cost of living, and industry demand.

Can a Vivarium Technician be promoted?

Promotion levels for a Vivarium Technician can vary depending on the organization, industry, and individual career goals. However, here are three common career progression levels with associated headings under each level:

Vivarium Technician (Entry-Level)

Education:

Typically requires a high school diploma or equivalent.
Some positions may prefer or require relevant coursework in biology, animal science, or a related field.

Responsibilities:

Daily care and maintenance of animals.
Monitoring and recording environmental conditions in the vivarium.
Cleaning cages, providing food and water, and basic animal health checks.
Assistance with basic research support tasks.

Certification:

Some facilities may require or prefer certification in laboratory animal science or a related field (e.g., AALAS certification).

Senior Vivarium Technician / Lead Vivarium Technician

Education:

Associates or Bachelor’s degree in biology, animal science, or a related field. Relevant work experience may be considered in lieu of a degree.

Responsibilities:

Supervision of junior vivarium staff.
More advanced animal care duties, including managing breeding programmes.
Collaboration with researchers and scientists on experimental procedures.
Increased responsibilities in facility management and maintenance.

Certification:

Advanced certifications such as LATG (Laboratory Animal Technologist) from AALAS may be pursued.

Vivarium Manager / Facility Coordinator

Education:

Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in biology, animal science, or a related field. Advanced degrees or certifications in management or administration are beneficial.

Responsibilities:

Overall management of the vivarium facility.
Budgeting and resource allocation. Coordination with researchers, administrative staff, and other stakeholders.
Development and implementation of animal care policies and protocols.

Certification:

Certification in management or administration may be beneficial, but it depends on the specific requirements of the organization.

Director of Comparative Medicine / Director of Animal Resources

Education:

Master’s or Ph.D. in biology, animal science, or a related field.
Extensive experience in vivarium management.

Responsibilities:

Strategic leadership in animal care and use programmes.
Oversight of multiple vivarium facilities.
Collaboration with senior management and institutional committees.
Ensuring compliance with regulatory standards.

Certification:

Certification as a Certified Manager of Animal Resources (CMAR) or other relevant certifications.

What difficulties can a Vivarium Technician face?

Vivarium technicians may encounter various challenges in their profession, ranging from physical demands to regulatory compliance. Here are some of the challenges they may face:

Physical Demands:

Lifting and Handling:

Caring for animals often involves lifting heavy bags of food, bedding, and equipment, which can lead to physical strain.

Repetitive Tasks:

Cleaning cages and performing routine tasks can be physically demanding and may lead to repetitive strain injuries.

Safety Concerns:

Animal Handling:

Working closely with animals, especially those used in research, poses risks of bites, scratches, or other injuries.

Chemical Exposure:

The use of cleaning agents, disinfectants, and other chemicals may pose health risks if proper safety precautions are not followed.

Variability in Working Conditions:

Environmental Conditions:

Vivariums must maintain specific environmental conditions, which can be challenging, especially in extreme weather conditions.

Facility Size:

Larger vivariums may require more extensive walking or travel between different areas.

Emotional Challenges:

Euthanasia:

Vivarium technicians may be involved in procedures such as euthanasia, which can be emotionally challenging.

Animal Welfare:

Balancing the need for scientific research with ethical considerations and the welfare of the animals can be emotionally demanding.

Business Management:

Resource Constraints:

Vivariums may operate on limited budgets, requiring careful resource management for animal care, equipment, and facility maintenance.

Staffing:

Managing personnel, including hiring, training, and addressing personnel issues, can be challenging.

Regulatory Compliance:

Stringent Regulations:

Vivariums are subject to strict regulations governing animal care and use, and non-compliance can have serious consequences.

Documentation:

Maintaining accurate and detailed records to comply with regulatory requirements can be time-consuming.

Continuing Education:

Rapid Advancements:

Keeping up with the latest research methodologies, technologies, and best practices in animal care requires ongoing education.

Certification Maintenance:

Meeting continuing education requirements for certifications, such as AALAS certification, can be a challenge.

Unpredictable Work Hours:

Emergency Response:

Vivarium technicians may need to respond to emergencies outside regular working hours.

Animal Care Schedule:

Animals require care every day, including weekends and holidays, leading to non-traditional working hours.

Interpersonal Challenges:

Communication:

Coordinating with researchers, scientists, veterinarians, and other staff members requires effective communication.

Collaboration:

Balancing the needs and expectations of various stakeholders can be challenging.

Job Insecurity:

Grant Funding:

In research institutions, the availability of funding for animal-related projects can impact job stability.

Institutional Changes:

Changes in institutional priorities or leadership can affect the vivarium’s operations and staff.

Vivarium Technicians must navigate these challenges while maintaining a commitment to the well-being of the animals, ensuring compliance with regulations, and contributing to the success of scientific research. Continued professional development, a strong commitment to ethical animal care, and effective communication are essential for overcoming these challenges in the field.

Future Growth and Possibilities

The growth of this market is always positive.

Here are the potential trends and possibilities that may influence the future of the vivarium industry:

Advancements in Technology:

The integration of technology, automation, and data analytics in vivarium management could enhance efficiency and data-driven decision-making.

Increased Emphasis on Animal Welfare:

Continued efforts to improve animal welfare standards and ethical research practices may shape the future of vivarium operations.

Collaborative Research Initiatives:

Increasing collaboration between academia, industry, and government institutions may lead to more complex research projects, impacting the demand for skilled vivarium professionals.

Globalisation of Research:

The globalisation of research efforts may contribute to increased opportunities for vivarium professionals, especially in regions experiencing growth in scientific and pharmaceutical research.

Environmental Sustainability:

Growing awareness of environmental sustainability may influence vivarium practices, with an emphasis on eco-friendly and resource-efficient operations.

Regulatory Changes:

Evolving regulations and ethical guidelines related to animal research may impact the way vivariums operate and require professionals to stay informed about compliance requirements.

Availability of Jobs

Average

Which Skills are required by a Vivarium Technician?

The skills required for a career as a vivarium technician can be divided into two very important groups. The first is the group containing life skills, which are the core skills that are necessary or desirable for full participation in everyday life. The second group is career skills, or the specific skills required to allow a person to enter and operate effectively within a specific career. Some or maybe even all of the life skills can assist in strengthening the career skills, and they might even be the same for specific careers.

Life Skills:

  • Self-awareness
  • Empathy
  • Critical thinking
  • Creative thinking
  • Decision making
  • Problem Solving
  • Effective communication
  • Interpersonal relationship
Life Skills
40%

Career Skills

  • Animal handling and care techniques
  • Basic customer service skills
  • Good health and physical fitness
  • Basic computer literacy
Career Skills
60%

Which Subjects must I have at School to prepare for this career?

The subjects you choose at school are important as they lay the foundation for further studies at college or university. While still at school, it’s also important to learn more about the animals you will work with, as well as gain some experience.

OZT has a list of various tertiary institutions where you can study further, after school. Each of these institutions also have their own Group page on OZT where you will find the exact subjects they require of you to have passed in school. Keep these requirements in mind, and discuss it with your school, guidance counselor and parents to ensure that you are prepared!

What will I need to Study to become a Vivarium Technician?

Minimum educational requirements

Generally, vivarium technicians must have at least a minimum of a high school diploma (certificate), when working for an established facilities.

The best technicians learn additional skills on the job, or acquire skills through completing short courses. In some countries the minimum qualification is at least a College diploma or University Degree with subjects such as animal psychology, physiology or animal husbandry. 

Study Focus

Subjects for Further Study:

Biology:

Gain a solid foundation in biology by taking courses in general biology, zoology, and anatomy. Understanding the fundamentals of life sciences is crucial for working with living organisms in a vivarium.

Chemistry:

Consider taking courses in general chemistry and organic chemistry to understand chemical processes, drug interactions, and laboratory techniques.

Mathematics:

Develop basic math skills, including algebra and statistics, to handle measurements, calculations, and data analysis.

Animal Science:

Explore courses in animal science or animal husbandry to learn about the care, behaviour, and management of animals.

Laboratory Techniques:

Courses in microbiology, histology, and experimental methods will help you develop practical skills needed in a vivarium setting.

Communication Skills:

Courses in English, writing, or public speaking can enhance your communication skills, which are important in any professional setting.

Advanced Studies (if Necessary):

Associate’s or Bachelor’s Degree:

While not always mandatory, obtaining an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in a relevant field can enhance your career prospects. Consider degrees in biology, animal science, or a related discipline.

Certifications:

Pursue certifications offered by organisations like the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS). Certifications, such as Laboratory Animal Technician (LAT) or Laboratory Animal Technologist (LATG), can demonstrate your expertise in vivarium management.

Optional Short Courses:

Animal Welfare and Ethics:

Short courses on animal welfare, ethics in research, and responsible animal care can provide valuable insights into ethical considerations within the vivarium profession.

Occupational Health and Safety:

Courses on occupational health and safety, including proper handling of chemicals and biological materials, can contribute to a safe work environment.

Advanced Laboratory Techniques:

Depending on the specific needs of the vivarium, consider short courses in advanced laboratory techniques, such as molecular biology or genetic engineering.

Project Management:

If you plan to advance into supervisory or managerial roles, short courses in project management can be beneficial for overseeing vivarium operations efficiently.

Study Duration

The duration of a a College Diploma is between 2 and 3 years. Time spent on a Bachelor’s Degrees can be up to 4 years, and another 4 years for a Doctorate. Short Courses are usually between a few weeks and a year.

​Possible Career Preparation Paths

If this is your dream career that you want to pursue, then it’s important to plan the way forward.

Why is planning important?

​To ensure that you understand the requirements for your career, and that you are always prepared for the next step on the road towards your dream. A preparation path is like a road map to where you want to be.

​Possible Paths:

Here’s a possible career preparation path for a high school student interested in pursuing a career as a varium technician:

  1.  Attend Career Guidance Sessions:

Attend career guidance sessions at school to explore various career options and gain insights into the field of vivarium management.

2.  Research All Possible Careers:

Research and gather information about careers related to animal care, biology, and laboratory sciences. Identify the role of vibration technicians and related professions.

3.  Explore Educational Paths:

Explore different educational paths, including vocational training, associate’s degrees, and bachelor’s degrees in biology, animal science, or a related field.

4.  Align High School Subjects with the Educational Path:

Align high school subject choices with the chosen educational path. Focus on science courses, including biology and chemistry. Mathematics and communication skills are also essential.

5.  Obtain a High School Diploma or Equivalent:

Successfully complete high school, obtaining a diploma or equivalent qualification.

6.  Learn About Animals That Will Work With:

Research and learn about the specific animals commonly used in research settings. Gain knowledge about their behaviour, care requirements, and ethical considerations.

7.  Align Post-School Path:

Decide whether to enter the job market directly, pursue further studies, or consider entrepreneurship. Align post-school plans with career goals.

8.  Gain Experience Through Volunteering, Internship, Mentorship, etc.:

Seek opportunities to gain hands-on experience through volunteering at animal shelters, wildlife centres, or participating in internship programmes. Consider mentorship programmes for guidance.

9.  Pursue Extracurricular Activities:

Participate in extracurricular activities related to biology, science clubs, or animal-related organisations to demonstrate passion and commitment.

10. Join Professional Associations:

Join professional associations such as the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to stay informed about industry trends and networking opportunities.

11. Gain specialised Skills:

Develop specialised skills, such as laboratory techniques, animal handling, and biosecurity measures, through relevant courses or workshops.

12. Network with Professionals:

Network with professionals in the field by attending conferences, workshops, and networking events. Connect with mentors who can provide guidance and advice.

13. Enter the Job Market, Finish Tertiary Studies, or Launch a Business:

Depending on the chosen path, enter the job market directly after completing high school, pursue tertiary studies at a college or university, or consider launching a business if entrepreneurship is a goal.

14. Stay Updated and Pursue Continuing Education:

Stay updated on industry trends, regulations, and advancements. Pursue continuing education opportunities, such as certifications or short courses, to enhance skills and knowledge throughout the career.

This comprehensive career preparation path integrates education, hands-on experience, networking, and ongoing professional development to set a high school student on a successful trajectory toward becoming a Vivarium Technician.

Possible Combined Career Paths

It is possible to sometimes combine two or more related careers. This normally happens when you study and practice a specific main career, but the knowledge and experience gained also help you to have a paying hobby or secondary income career.

Possible Alternative(s):

Stepping Stone Career

A stepping-stone career refers to a job or position that serves as a transitional or intermediate step towards a long-term career goal. Individuals may take on a stepping-stone job as it requires minimum education or finances to enter, or to gain relevant experience and develop skills, or to make professional connections that will ultimately help them progress towards their desired career path.

These interim positions may not be the ultimate or dream job, but they provide valuable learning opportunities and contribute to the individual’s overall career development. Stepping-stone careers are often seen as a strategic approach to building a successful and fulfilling professional trajectory, allowing individuals to gradually move closer to their desired roles or industries.

Training and Apprenticeship

On-the-job training and apprenticeship requirements for a person entering a Vivarium Technician career can vary depending on the employer, the specific role, and the complexity of the vivarium operations. Here are some common aspects of on-the-job training and apprenticeship for Vivarium technicians:

Orientation and Facility Familiarisation:

New hires typically undergo an orientation process to familiarise themselves with the vivarium facility, its layout, and safety protocols. Introduction to the organization’s mission, values, and policies.

Animal Care Basics:

Training in basic animal care procedures, including feeding, watering, and monitoring the health of animals. Handling and restraint techniques for various species.

Environmental Control Systems:

Understanding and operating environmental control systems, including temperature, humidity, and lighting regulations. Learning about the facility’s HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) systems.

Cage Changing and Cleaning Protocols:

Proper techniques for changing cages, cleaning, and sanitising animal enclosures. Understanding the importance of biosecurity measures to prevent the spread of diseases.

Record-keeping and Documentation:

Training in maintaining accurate records related to animal care, including health observations, treatments, and environmental conditions. Understanding the significance of detailed documentation for regulatory compliance.

Equipment Usage and Maintenance:

Hands-on training in using and maintaining equipment commonly used in vivariums, such as autoclaves, cage washers, and environmental monitoring devices.

Research Support Tasks:

Depending on the facility’s focus, training may include assisting with research support tasks, such as preparing materials for experiments and collaborating with researchers.

Regulatory Compliance:

Education on relevant regulations and ethical guidelines governing the use of animals in research. Training on how to ensure compliance with institutional policies and governmental regulations.

Emergency Response Protocols:

Training on emergency response procedures, including evacuation plans and responses to potential incidents involving animals or facility infrastructure.

Advanced Techniques (as needed):

For facilities involved in more specialised research, additional training may be provided in advanced techniques such as surgical procedures, genetic manipulations, or specialised testing protocols.

Mentorship and Supervision:

New Vivarium technicians often work under the supervision of experienced staff members or mentors who provide guidance and oversight. Regular check-ins and evaluations are needed to assess progress and address any questions or concerns.

Certification Programmes (if applicable):

Some employers may encourage or require Vivarium technicians to pursue certification programmes offered by organisations like the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS).

On-the-job training and apprenticeships are crucial for developing the practical skills and knowledge required to excel as a Vivarium Technician. The duration of training may vary, and ongoing professional development is essential to stay updated on industry best practices and advancements.

Average level of education of those entering the career:

High School Certificate 0%
Diploma or Short Courses 0%
Degree or Higher Studies 0%

Licenses, Certificate, Registration and Professional Associations

The requirements for licences, certificates, and legal registration for Vivarium technicians can vary by country, state, or province, and even by the specific facility or institution. It’s essential to comply with local regulations and ethical standards associated with the care and use of animals in research. Here are common certifications and considerations:

American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) Certification:

AALAS offers certifications for individuals working in laboratory animal science. The most relevant certifications for Vivarium technicians include:

  • Assistant Laboratory Animal Technician (ALAT): Entry-level certification.
  • Laboratory Animal Technician (LAT): Requires ALAT certification and relevant work experience.
  • Laboratory Animal Technologist (LATG): Requires LAT certification and additional work experience.

State or Provincial Licencing:

Some regions may require Vivarium technicians to obtain a licence to work with animals in a research setting. Check with the local authorities for specific requirements.

Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) Approval:

Research institutions often have an IACUC responsible for reviewing and approving all research activities involving animals. Vivarium technicians must adhere to the guidelines set by the IACUC.

Occupational Health and Safety Training:

Depending on the facility, Vivarium technicians may need to undergo occupational health and safety training, especially if working with hazardous materials or in a biohazard containment area.

USDA Registration (for Facilities in the United States):

If the vivarium is involved in regulated activities, such as research for commercial purposes, it may need to be registered with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Compliance with Animal Welfare Regulations:

Adherence to local, national, and international regulations governing the ethical and humane treatment of animals in research. This may include compliance with the Animal Welfare Act in the United States or similar legislation in other countries.

Biosecurity and Environmental Compliance:

Training and adherence to biosecurity measures to prevent the spread of diseases among animals.
Compliance with environmental regulations to ensure responsible waste disposal and facility management.

Continuing Education Requirements:

Some certifications, such as those from AALAS, may require individuals to participate in continuing education to maintain their certification status.

Facility-Specific Training:

Each vivarium facility may have its own set of training requirements and protocols. Vivarium Technicians should undergo facility-specific training upon employment.

It’s important for individuals aspiring to become Vivarium Technicians to research and understand the specific requirements applicable to their location and the type of facility they aim to work in. Employers often provide guidance on the necessary certifications and training for their specific roles. Additionally, staying informed about changes in regulations and industry standards is crucial for maintaining compliance throughout one’s career.

Professional Associations

American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS)

Website: AALAS

European College of Laboratory Animal Medicine (ECLAM)

Website: ECLAM

Laboratory Animal Science Association (LASA) – United Kingdom

Website: LASA

Canadian Association for Laboratory Animal Science (CALAS/ASCAL)

Website: CALAS/ASCAL

Asia-Pacific Laboratory Animal Science and Welfare Association (APLAWA)

Website: APLAWA

Australian and New Zealand Laboratory Animal Association (ANZLAA)

Website: ANZLAA

Where can I study further?

All of the above information will help you understand more about the Career, including the fact that there are different paths to take to reach it. But if you are almost done with High School (Grades 11 or 12), you also need to start thinking about further studies, and WHERE you will study.

See the List of Universities, Colleges and Online Training Academies who offer courses towards animal care.

How do I start to prepare for this Career?

If you do decide on following this career, then OZT can assist you in gaining knowledge about the career and the animals you will be working with. We do this by offering you thousands of FREE short courses.

A. You can access the specialised study guide that fits in with the above preparation path

B.  If you are still uncertain about choosing this career, then have a look at our special series of WHAT NEXT courses. They take you through all of the questions you might have on how to choose the right career, what to do while and after school, and even how to start your own business.

C.  Or, join OZT as a member to access easy-to-use lists of courses to make your career preparation as smooth as possible! And yes, membership is always free.

Join the OZT online community for special access to more tools!

Join us as a special member and learn more about becoming a vivarium technician.

Members of the Platform have special access to:

  • Info on the best places where you can study (colleges, universities and online)
  • Expertly designed advice to prepare you for the career, and links to places where you can gain valuable experience. For some career experience is necessary, otherwise you wont get the job!
  • Top notch info on each of the different species you will work with
  • Make friends around the world and share knowledge
  • Compete and win points, badges, games, prizes and certificates. Be the best of the best, while you learn and prepare!

If you have decided on being a Vivarium Technician, please click on the JOIN GROUP button. Members will be directed to the Group, while non-members will be assisted to register first.

If this career is NOT the career for you, then you may return to the MAIN CAREER menu.

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