A veterinary technician is similar to a registered nurse for animals. A technician provides assistance to veterinarians in primary animal care, radiology, anesthesia, nursing, and laboratory services. Technicians also assist veterinarians with client education, sales, and marketing.
SPC provides this Veterinary Technician Job Database for students, while the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) provides this Career Center.
For more information about this career path, check out these frequently asked questions.
Essential Job Requirements
The following information is intended solely to provide the potential VT Program student with a summary of the intellectual, emotional, physical abilities and personal qualities that are characteristic of a successful veterinary technician.
1. Personality suited to exhibit respect, concern, and compassion for both animals and humans.
2. Possess the capacity to make independent decisions, work unsupervised, be creative, adaptable and resourceful. Believe in the highest standards of care and uphold the values of personal responsibility, honesty, integrity, ethical behavior, trust and professionalism.
3. Ability to tolerate walking and standing for sustained periods of time.
4. Capable of lifting and/or carrying up to forty pounds from floor level to waist level frequently, and up to fifty pounds or more with assistance occasionally.
5. Ability to bend over at the waist, twist the trunk, squat, kneel, and reach above the head. Have the body size, conformation and fitness to do the physical work required of a technician.
6. Amenable to learning to safely handle, restrain and work with any species of domestic and exotic animals that may be sick, injured, fractious or aggressive without fear.
7. Willingness to assist with or perform a wide variety of routine medical, surgical, and diagnostic procedures common to the veterinary setting, including humane euthanasia.
8. Open to performing routine cleaning and janitorial duties including using brooms, brushes, hoses and various cleaning products (detergents, disinfectants), garden supplies and implements.
9. Understanding of the requirement to work around dangerous animals, hazardous chemicals, compressed gasses, pharmaceuticals, sharp objects, radiation and biohazards.
10. Aptitude for science requiring attention to detail, careful observation and accurate record keeping. Have the capacity to perform arithmetic and simple mathematical calculations. Interest in the operation and maintenance a variety of medical diagnostic and therapeutic equipment.
11. Competent in effective verbal and written communication in English with coworkers and the public. Capacity to understand, follow, and execute verbal and written instructions given in English.
Summary of Environmental Working Conditions in Veterinary Medicine
1. Works both indoors and outdoors in all weather conditions during both daylight and after dark. Long hours, shift work, stressful and sometimes emotionally charged, fast-paced profession.
2. Capacity is that of a licensed veterinary medical professional. Daily interactions with doctors, other technicians, support staff, clients (people) and patients (animals).
3. Will assume many different roles during a workday (receptionist, technical assistant, nurse, kennel attendant, janitor, counselor, etc.) Interacts with an endless variety of people, animals and challenging clinical and interpersonal situations.
4. Frequent exposure to loud noise, odors, animal pain and suffering, invasive (bloody) medical, surgical and diagnostic procedures, dangerous animals, sharp objects, hazardous chemicals, compressed gasses, pharmaceuticals (including controlled substances), radiation and biohazards during the routine practice of veterinary medicine.
5. Constant exposure to animal hair, dander and many other potential allergen.