Veterinary Technologist Jobs: Salary and Career Facts
Explore the career requirements for veterinary technologists. Get the facts about education and licensure requirements, job growth and salary to determine if this is the right career for you.
What Is a Veterinary Technologist?
Veterinary technologists work with veterinary technicians and veterinarians to provide care for sick or injured animals. Care may include feeding animals, bathing animals or observing them for odd behavior or illness. Veterinary technologists collect samples and perform various lab tests to try and diagnose any issues an animal may have. They also vaccinate animals, give them medications, help restrain them and prepare them for surgery. Some veterinary technologists may specialize in a particular field, such as dentistry or anesthesia. If this sounds like the career field for you, keep reading to learn about entry-level requirements included in the table below:
|Degree Required||Bachelor's degree|
|Education Field of Study||Veterinary technology|
|Key Responsibilities||Perform lab tests, take x-rays, treat injuries|
|Licensure||State licensure or certification is required|
|Job Growth (2018-2028)||19% (for veterinary technologists and technicians)*|
|Average Salary (2018)||$35,560 (for veterinary technologists and technicians)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Would I Do as a Veterinary Technologist?
Veterinary technologists and technicians work as part of a veterinarian's team to diagnose and treat many kinds of animals. As a veterinary technologist, you would perform clinical and laboratory duties, including performing blood and urine analysis tests, taking x-rays and compiling medical histories.
You should be comfortable working with animals but also possess excellent communication skills in order to effectively deal with pet owners. Working with animals can be rewarding, but you need to also be prepared for the unpleasant tasks associated with veterinary medicine.
What Requirements Will I Need to Meet?
As with medical techs who work with humans, the difference between the technician and technologist title is generally whether you attend a 2-year associate's degree program or 4-year bachelor's degree program. In veterinary medicine, technicians and technologists perform many of the same duties, but to become a technologist, you must attend a bachelor's degree program in veterinary technology.
The American Veterinary Medical Association accredits both 2- and 4-year programs where you would study animal nursing, lab techniques, anesthesia and pharmacology (www.avma.org). Because many states require veterinary technologists to be certified or licensed, you will be eligible to take the Veterinary Technician National Examination after completing your accredited degree program, but you should check with your state for specific rules and regulations.
What Salary Can I Earn?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in May 2018 that veterinary technologists and technicians earned an average salary of $35,560 (www.bls.gov). The highest paying industry for these professionals was the federal executive branch, which reported an average salary of $53,780.
The BLS projected that employment of veterinary technologists and technicians would increase 19% between 2018 and 2028, which is much faster than average for all other occupations. This job growth is attributed to the increasing number of tasks being given to these professionals.
What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?
One related position that requires a bachelor's degree is medical laboratory technologist. These technologists perform lab duties similar to those of veterinary technologists, but they gather and test samples from human patients. They may run diagnostic tests, determine blood types and more. Animal care and service workers only need a high school diploma, and they perform related tasks, such as feeding, bathing, grooming and exercising various kinds of animals.