What does a Veterinary Technician do?

Licensed veterinary technicians provide exceptional care for animals in a variety of areas such as veterinary hospitals, research institutes, zoos, wildlife rehabilitation and livestock health management. After a person earns an associate or bachelor’s degree in a veterinary technology program, they will have to take a licensing board exam. Passing this exam and earning the title of licensed veterinary technician ensures pet owners that this person has a thorough knowledge of their job and can perform these duties with care, compassion and expertise.

What might a Veterinary Technician do in a workday?

Veterinary technicians typically:

  • perform dental prophylaxis.
  • administer medications and anesthesia.
  • monitor anesthesia, blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen levels during surgery.
  • perform radiology and ultrasounds procedures.
  • perform laboratory tests on blood, urine and feces.
  • nursing care and treatment of hospitalized animals.
  • provide client education and instructions to owners for home care of animals.
  • promote the human-animal bond.
  • are advocates for all animals in your care.

Veterinary Assistants:

Veterinary assistants are either trained in a certification program or receive on-the-job training. Assistants play a major role in helping the veterinarians and veterinary technicians by performing routine animal care such as feeding, watering, bathing and exercising animals. Veterinary assistants also help in the exam and treatment areas by holding animals during their treatments or exams.

How much salary do Veterinary Technicians make?

Annual Mean Wage
$35,240 (technicians)
$26,240 (assistants)

How do I become a Veterinary Technician?

Those interested in becoming veterinary technicians or veterinary assistants should prepare early by taking challenging course work in math and science in secondary schools and by seeking paid or volunteer opportunities in a veterinary setting.

Veterinary technicians must obtain a two-year degree in veterinary technology, while veterinary technologists must earn a four-year degree. All programs must be accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association. Licensure can then be obtained by passing a written examination.

Veterinary assistants receive on-the-job training and may have some postsecondary education, such as trade school or junior college.

Where else can I learn about becoming a Veterinary Technician?

Professional Associations:

American Veterinary Medical Association
1931 N. Meacham Road
Suite 100
Schaumburg, IL 60173-4360

(800) 248-2862

National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America
P.O. Box 1227
Albert Lea, MN 56007
(888) 996-2882

Virginia Association of Licensed Veterinary Technicians
351 Wagon Shop Road
Middlebrook, VA 24459


Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society
6335 Camp Bullis Road
Suite 12
San Antonio, TX 78257

(210) 698-5575

State License Requirements for Veterinary Technicians

A license is required to practice as a veterinary technician in the state of Virginia. For more information on licensure, applications and forms, visit www.dhp.virginia.gov/vet.

Virginia Board of Veterinary Medicine
Perimeter Center
9960 Mayland Drive
Suite 300
Henrico, Virginia 23233

Phone: (804) 367-4497
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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