Veterinary Technologist Career Profile

Do you want to work as a Veterinary Technologist?

READ: This page helps you read about the career and the information you need to decide 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 your 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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3 June 2024

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What is a Veterinary Technologist?

A Veterinary Technologist, often referred to as a vet tech, is a professional who assists veterinarians in the care and treatment of animals. They play a critical role in veterinary medicine, performing a wide range of tasks that require both medical and technical skills.

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Alternative Names

Veterinary Technologists may be referred to by various alternative names, depending on the region, institution, or specific duties they perform. Some of these alternative names include:

Animal Health Technologist

Common in certain regions, especially in Canada.

Clinical Veterinary Technologist

Emphasising the clinical aspect of their role in veterinary practices or hospitals.

These titles often indicate the professional’s level of education, certification status, and specialisation within the field of veterinary medicine.

Differences in general Veterinary profiles:

In some countries, there is almost no distinction between a veterinary technologist, a veterinary technician, and sometimes even a veterinary nurse. Due to the different definitions and overlapping functions, here’s a comparison of the careers of veterinarian, veterinary technologist, veterinary technician, veterinary nurse, and veterinary assistant. It also gives you an idea of what to study for, especially regarding the level and length of study.

NB! Find out which profiles are actually found in your country, before starting your education!

Career Profile Comparison

1. Veterinarian


Veterinarians are medical professionals who diagnose and treat illnesses and injuries in animals. They may work with a variety of animals, including pets, livestock, and wildlife. Their duties include performing surgeries, prescribing medications, conducting routine check-ups, and advising pet owners on proper animal care.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Education: Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree from an accredited veterinary college.
  • Licencing: Must pass the North American Veterinary Licencing Examination (NAVLE) and obtain a state licence to practice.

2. Veterinary Technologist


Veterinary Technologists perform medical tests under the supervision of a licenced veterinarian to help diagnose the illnesses and injuries of animals. They often work in laboratories or research facilities, and their tasks may include conducting tests, preparing vaccines, and managing anaesthesia during surgeries.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Education: Bachelor’s degree in Veterinary Technology from an accredited programme.
  • Certification: Optional certification from the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) as a Registered Veterinary Technologist (RVT).

3. Veterinary Technician


Veterinary Technicians assist veterinarians in clinical settings by performing a variety of tasks, such as taking medical histories, collecting samples, conducting lab tests, and administering medications. They are essential in both routine care and emergency situations.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Education: Associate degree in Veterinary Technology from an accredited programme.
  • Certification: Must pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) and obtain state-specific certification or licencing.

4. Veterinary Nurse


Veterinary Nurses provide nursing care to animals under the direction of a veterinarian. They are responsible for tasks such as monitoring vital signs, providing pre- and post-operative care, administering anaesthesia, and educating pet owners on animal care.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Education: Varies by region, but generally a diploma or degree in Veterinary Nursing.
  • Certification: Often required to pass an examination such as the VTNE or a region-specific certification exam.

5. Veterinary Assistant


Veterinary Assistants support veterinarians and veterinary technicians by performing basic care and administrative duties. Their responsibilities include feeding and bathing animals, cleaning cages, sterilising equipment, and assisting with handling animals during examinations.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent. Some veterinary assistant programmes offer certificates or diplomas.
  • Certification: Certification is optional but can enhance job prospects. The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) offers an Approved Veterinary Assistant (AVA) designation.

Career Categories

The Veterinary Technologist career can be found within the following OZT career categories:


What does a Veterinary Technologist do?

Groups of animals a Veterinary Technologist works with

Cats List Icon
Dogs List Icon OZT
Critters List Icon OZT
Farm Animals Icon OZT
Farm Animals
Mammals List Icon OZT
Birds List Icon OZT
Fish List Icon OZT
Reptiles List Icon OZT
Amphibians List Icon OZT
Insects List Icon OZT
Arachnids List Icon OZT
Crustaceans List Icon OZT
Mollusks Link Icon OZT
Myriapods List Icon OZT
Worms List Icon OZT
Cnidaria Icon 2

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What is the level of Interaction with the Animals?

With whom does a Veterinary Technologist work?


What does a Veterinary Technologist focus on?


What are the daily tasks of a Veterinary Technologist?


With what kind of tools and technology (if any) does a Veterinary Technologist work?


What are the different specialisations or career directions that an Veterinary Technologist can venture into?

Specialisation within a specific animal-related career refers to the area of expertise that professionals can develop within that specific field. For example, an animal groomer that specialises in horses, or a veterinarian that specialises in working with marine mammals.

In which environment does a Veterinary Technologist work?

What are the environment and places of employment like?


What is the Average Annual Salary for a Veterinary Technologist?


Can a Veterinary Technologist be promoted?

The promotion levels for an >>> based on the following headings: Education, Responsibilities, and certification.

Entry-Level EDT

Entry-Level EDT

Master EDT


What difficulties does a Veterinary Technologist face?


​Future growth and Possibilities


Availability of Jobs


Which Skills do Veterinary Technologists need?

The skills required for a career as a Veterinary Technologist can be divided into two very important groups. The first is the group containing life skills and personality traits, 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 and Personality Traits


Life Skills

Career Skills

  • Animal handling
  • Animal care
  • Customer service
  • Handle instruments
  • Good overall health
  • Computer literate
Career Skills

Which Subjects must I have at School to help me 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. Some 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 Veterinary Technologist?

Becoming an 

Minimum Requirements


Study Focus


Study Duration

The duration of a college diploma is between 2 and 3 years. Time spent on a bachelor’s degree can be up to 4 years, and another 2 to 4 years for a doctorate. Short courses are usually between a few weeks and a year.

FREE Career Path Plan

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:


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 Alternatives (there are a lot more):

Stepping-stone Career Paths

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, gain relevant experience and develop skills, or 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


Average level of education of all the people who enter the career:

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

Licenses, Certificate, Registration and Professional Associations


Professional Associations


Where can I study further? (List of Registered Tertiary Institutions)

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 that offer courses in animal care and veterinary science.

How do I start to prepare for this Career?

If you do decide on following this career, then OZT can assist you in figuring out a path to prepare, as well as help you to gain further knowledge about the career and the animals you will be working with. We do this by offering you FREE career development tools. There are almost a dozen free tools, but these are the three primary ones:


Use the career path plan above on this profile as an example to follow, or to work out your own path.

COST; Free

ACCESS: Open to visitors and Members 


Access easy-to-use short courses to make your career preparation easier! The basic information in each course is free, but the rewards can only be unlocked as an OZT member!

COST; Free

ACCESS: Open to visitors and Members 


Get a supercharged study guide that fits into the career path plan! Now that's really upping your preparation game! Join us for free to gain access!

COST; Free

ACCESS: Members Only

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


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

Join us as a special member and learn more about becoming a Veterinary Technologist.

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. Some career experience is necessary; otherwise, you won’t get the job!
  • Top-notch information 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 Veterinary Technologist, please click on the JOIN GROUP button. Members will be directed to the group, while non-members will be assisted in registering first.

Other interesting Careers

Job Vacancies in the same Category

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Career Profiles and Resources

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