Job Descriptions for Veterinary Technician: Duties, Future, and Salary

    Are you interested in providing medical care for animals? If so, then you might have a future as a veterinary technician. These technicians assist veterinarians in caring for sick and injured animals or assist scientists with research. Here are some important facts about the job descriptions for a career as a veterinary technician.


    Veterinary technicians perform a variety of duties. People in this position spend a significant amount of time observing animal behavior. In addition to observing behavior, they are responsible for restraining animals during medical procedures and exams.

    Additional responsibilities include things such as conducting lab work, providing postoperative care, and performing general animal care duties.

    Some technicians work in research facilities. They make sure that animals are treated well and handled with care during animal research. Scientists and veterinarians also depend on technicians to assist with projects. Popular research areas include food safety, disaster preparedness, and biomedical research.

    Most technicians work with veterinarians who provide care for cats and dogs. But some workplaces, such as a zoo, require working with several types of animals. A veterinary technician might provide care for any type of animal, including birds, horses, sheep, rats, and more.

    Veterinary Technician: Duties, Future, and Salary

    Work Hazards

    Veterinary technicians have a high rate of illnesses and injuries. They are often bitten, kicked, or scratched when working with aggressive or frightened animals. These injuries are most likely to happen when restraining, holding, or bathing the animal.

    In addition to physical harm, there are mental health risks. It is emotionally draining for some technicians to work with severely abused animals. Putting sick, injured, or unwanted animals to sleep is often emotionally draining as well.


    Veterinary technicians often choose to specialize in a specific area. Zoological medicine, anesthesia, dentistry, and critical care are just a few of several possible veterinarian disciplines. But no matter the specialty, there are certain educational requirements that all technicians must fulfill.

    Completion of a postsecondary program in veterinary technology is mandatory. Most postsecondary programs offer a 2-year associate’s degree for technicians. And most states require technicians to pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination before they can seek employment.

    Expected Pay

    The 2016 average salary for all veterinary technicians was $32,490. But individual pay varies widely based on the workplace. Technicians in research positions earn the most. Those who work for universities, colleges, and professional schools have an average income of $40,590. Technicians who work for social organizations average $32,140, and those who provide general veterinary services average $32,060.

    Employment Prospects

    Many pet owners have one or several animals living in the home. There are currently 89.7 million dogs in households across the United States. In addition to dogs, plenty of other animals are kept as pets. The need for veterinary technicians will continue to rise as the need for animal medical care grows. Technicians are also needed to assist with research-related projects.

    The job outlook is favorable, as some aspiring technicians fail to obtain a degree or pass the exam. This high barrier to entry usually results in more jobs than workers