Veterinary Technician Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: June 22, 2022

A Veterinary Technician, or Clinical Veterinary Technician, is responsible for performing routine checkups and other medical procedures on animals to ensure their health and well-being. Their duties include communicating with pet owners to determine whether their pet experienced changes in activity or diet, checking an animal’s weight, heartbeat and other vitals to record in patient files and assisting other veterinary personnel in taking blood samples or administering medications.

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Veterinary Technician duties and responsibilities 

A Veterinary Technician takes care of animals that come into the facility and maintains the facility itself. A Veterinary Technician may have the following responsibilities: 

  • Providing general nursing care
  • Examining animals and checking vitals in preparation for the Veterinarian
  • Taking X-rays of animals
  • Administering first aid for emergencies
  • Administering medication and treatments
  • Drawing blood samples for testing
  • Monitoring animals under anesthesia
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Veterinary Technician Job Description Examples

What does a Veterinary Technician do?

Veterinary Technicians typically work for veterinary clinics or veterinary hospitals to provide a range of medical services to animals. They work closely with other Veterinary Technicians, Veterinarians and front desk staff to oversee pet checkups or more in-depth medical care. Their job is to take x-rays or perform ultrasounds, update patient records, administer vaccinations and speak with pet owners about how to best care for their animals. They may also be responsible for helping schedule pet check-ups and sending reminders to owners as needed.

Veterinary Technician skills and qualifications

A successful Veterinary Technician candidate will have multiple prerequisite skills and qualifications needed for the performance of their duties. Some necessary skills and qualifications include:

  • Working knowledge of the pharmaceuticals that are prescribed by the Veterinarian
  • Good listening skills 
  • Compassion
  • Communication skills
  • Physical stamina
  • Knowledge of a variety of animal species

Veterinary Technician salary expectations

A Veterinary Technician makes an average of $15.86 an hour. Pay rate may depend on a candidate’s education, experience level and geographical location.

Veterinary Technician education and training requirements

A typical education for Veterinary Technicians consists of a two-year degree or equivalent education that focuses on the care of animals. Courses typically include learning basic nursing care for animals, anatomy and physiology of animals, veterinary pathology, biochemistry, anesthesia and surgical nursing. Training usually involves working in a clinical setting for practical experience and time spent in laboratory settings to learn various skills. 

Veterinary Technician experience requirements

A Veterinary Technician should have experience working in a variety of settings that focus on the care of animals. Someone who has just completed their education should have worked in clinical and laboratory settings. Experience working as a volunteer in animal shelters is also beneficial. A Veterinary Technician with more experience has handled multiple animal species, understands animal behavior and the handling of animals in all temperaments and can communicate medical information to clients, Veterinarians and coworkers. 

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Frequently asked questions about Veterinary Technicians

 

What is the difference between a Veterinary Technician and a Veterinary Assistant?

The difference between a Veterinary Technician and a Veterinary Assistant is seniority and the scope of their job responsibilities. For example, Veterinary Assistants typically only need a high school diploma, followed by onsite job training, to qualify for their role. In contrast, Veterinary Technicians need to earn an associate degree over the course of two years. Because of their differences in education, Veterinary Technicians have more seniority when compared with Veterinary Assistants. This enables them to administer vaccines, check vitals and record medical histories on animals with little-to-no supervision.

In contrast, Veterinary Assistants are responsible for preparing and cleaning tools, answering phone calls and greeting pet owners as they arrive for appointments. They also help Veterinarians calm animals before, during and after procedures.

 

What are the daily duties of a Veterinary Technician?

On a typical day, a Veterinary Technician starts by reviewing their appointment schedule for the day. Before each appointment, they review their patients’ medical histories to familiarize themselves with a patient’s previous health conditions or medications. During each appointment, they greet pet owners and give their pets time to get used to them. Veterinary Technicians ask pet owners routine questions about their pets before performing a routine inspection. Once they finish their tasks, they call in the Veterinarian to complete more in-depth assessments.

 

What qualities make a good Veterinary Technician?

A good Veterinary Technician is passionate about animals and animal care. This quality motivates them to perform their job duties to the best of their ability. They value continued education and always look for ways to enhance their knowledge of different animal species or veterinary practices. Further, a good Veterinary Technician has a keen attention to detail, enabling them to identify symptoms of injuries or illnesses in animals before conditions worsen. A good Veterinary Technician also enjoys working as part of a team and works hard to support their coworkers each day.

 

Who does a Veterinary Technician report to?

A Veterinary Technician usually reports directly to one or more Veterinarians within a clinic or hospital setting. They work closely with Veterinarians on a daily basis and work under their authority to administer vaccinations, prescribe medications, take x-rays or perform tests. Veterinarians also act as a point of communication for Veterinary Technicians if they receive complex questions from pet owners.

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