What's the Difference Between a Kennel Tech and a Vet Tech?

The job descriptions of a kennel tech and a vet tech are similar, but several differences define each position. Continue reading to discover the job duties, education requirements and salary figures that set these two careers apart. Schools offering Veterinary Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Differences Between Kennel Techs and Vet Techs

One major difference between these professions is work environment. Kennel techs work in kennels and shelters, whereas vet techs work in veterinary offices and other clinical settings. Additionally, while a kennel tech is usually considered an entry-level worker, a vet tech is a higher-level employee who is trained for more advanced duties.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Animal Care Workers (Including Kennel Techs)Veterinary Technicians
Job Outlook* (2016-2026) 22% employment growth expected (much faster than average)20% (much faster than average)
Key Skills Compassion, customer service, patience, physical fitness Communication, compassion, mastery of lab equipment and technology, problem solving
Work Environment Physically demanding; high rates of injury and illness; often work holidays, weekends, evenings Physically and emotionally demanding; high rates of injury and illness; may work evenings, weekends, holidays
Similar Occupations Animal trainers, groomers, pet sitters Veterinarian, laboratory animal caretakers, medical laboratory technicians

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Kennel Tech Duties

As a kennel tech, you'll handle basic kennel maintenance and animal care. In addition to keeping kennels clean and safe, you may also feed, exercise and bathe the animals. Other duties include preparing animals to be transported to other locations, grooming animals and conducting obedience training. You may handle some customer service duties as a kennel tech. If you work in a shelter, you might assist with adoptions or answer questions from individuals visiting the shelter. If you work in a private kennel, you may respond to customer questions and concerns or create care instructions according to owners' directions.

Vet Tech Duties

As a vet tech, your job may include many of the same duties as a kennel tech, but you'll also take on more responsibility. You might assist with veterinary care by keeping animals calm during examinations, performing medical tests and procedures, monitoring animals' vitals and preparing animals for surgery. You may also have administrative and customer service duties. You could sell medications to customers, answer questions about their animals' conditions, explain care instructions and maintain patient files. You may also conduct technical tasks, such as taking and developing X-rays.

Education Requirements

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), kennel techs are usually not required to have any formal training, and most training is done on the job (www.bls.gov). You may need a high school diploma to work as a kennel tech, and some employers provide workshops or training classes in addition to on-the-job training.

The BLS reports that vet techs usually need to have associate degrees in veterinary technology. After gaining employment, you will generally work as a trainee to gain practical experience. You might need to be state certified, licensed or registered for this occupation.


The BLS reports that non-farm-animal caretakers, including kennel techs, earned a mean annual salary of $25,890 in May 2018, with most earning between $18,160 and $37,250. Meanwhile, the mean annual wage for vet techs was $35,560, and most earning between $23,490 and $50,010.

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