One of the basic requirements for veterinary technicians is a love of animals. Veterinary technicians work under the supervision of licensed veterinarians, performing routine tasks and treating animals. Vet techs aid in medical, surgical, and diagnostic procedures; but they also perform clerical work, maintaining medical records, receiving payments, and gathering patient information. Job growth for veterinary technicians is higher than average with an anticipated 41,700 new jobs by 2020 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Vet techs are typically required to earn an associate’s degree and complete a credentialing exam before they are able to work. However, requirements for vet techs vary in each state. An associate degree in veterinary technology will cover animal anatomy, animal nursing, veterinary office procedures, veterinary medical terminology, animal emergency medicine, and animal pharmacology. A large portion of the associate degree curriculum is comprised of clinical trials in which students perform work in labs and in veterinary clinics. Online vet tech students may perform the hands-on portions of their degrees through virtual labs or at a local veterinary clinic.
Veterinary technicians are juniors to both veterinary technologists and veterinarians. Veterinarian technologists, who graduate with bachelor’s degrees, may earn a higher income than vet technicians. Veterinarians earn a bachelor’s degree, typically in a pre-med field, before receiving an additional four years of education and training in a veterinary program.