A love of animals is a great place to start if you’re interested in veterinary technician training, but of course there is much more to it than just that. Many people are animal lovers, but that doesn’t mean they can work in the veterinary industry. A veterinary technician is a skilled professional who serves an important role in the smooth operation of a veterinarian’s clinic.

There are two related positions in the veterinary industry that we are talking about: veterinary technician and veterinary technologist. While there are similarities in the two jobs, they do have important differences you must consider. While it’s very difficult to competently do either job without veterinary technician training, the differences in the job make all the difference.

Veterinary technicians use their veterinary technician training to work in animal care clinics, laboratories, animal hospitals, boarding kennels, animal shelters, rescue leagues, and zoos. Veterinary technicians perform many of the following duties in the course of a normal workday:

  • Observe the behavior and condition of the patient animal
  • Provide nursing care and emergency first aid to injured and recovering animals
  • Administer anesthesia to animals, and monitor responses to anesthesia
  • Collect lab samples for testing for urine, tissues, blood, and other samples
  • Take and develop x-rays
  • Prepare animals and the operating room for surgery, including preparing instruments
  • Administer medication, vaccines, and other treatments as prescribed by the veterinarian
  • Collect and record patient animal case histories

Veterinary technologists work in many of those same environments, but may work in more advanced research-related jobs under the direction of a scientist or veterinarian. Working in a lab setting, a veterinary technologist may use the skills they’ve acquired in veterinary technician training to perform laboratory tests such as urinalysis.

Veterinary Technicians and Technologists require different Veterinary Technician Training

In general, veterinary technicians and technologists both take veterinary technician training, though they have different end goals. A technician typically pursues and receives a two-year associate’s degree in a veterinary technology program.

On the other hand, a veterinary technologist takes veterinary technician training for a longer period of time. Veterinary technologists often earn a four-year bachelor’s degree in veterinary technology. Technologists usually learn a somewhat different skillset and gain additional knowledge in that extra time.

In addition, many states require certification of veterinary technicians and technologists, meaning you’ll have to rely more on your veterinary technician training. The American Association for Laboratory Animal Science offers three levels of certification for technologists and technicians: Assistant Laboratory Animal Technician, Laboratory Animal Technician, and Laboratory Animal Technologist.

Certification is not usually mandatory, but helps workers at different levels and their competency in areas such as animal husbandry, health and welfare and facility administration and management. These certifications help expand your veterinary technician training and informs employers of your particular skills and credentials.

The job outlook for those who complete veterinary technician training is positive. The occupation is projected to grow by 30 percent between 2012 and 2022. This means potentially an additional 25,000 jobs waiting for people who have completed veterinary technician training in 2022. This obviously presents a great amount of opportunity for those interested in the veterinary industry.

However, enthusiasm for that amount of job growth should be tempered. The number of veterinary technician training programs have also been growing rapidly over the past several years. This means there are more new graduates potentially, and that those graduates will by competing for those jobs. So while there will most likely be additional jobs in the future, there also likely will be a greater number of workers applying for those positions.

Overall, if you are looking to take veterinary technician training in preparation for a career in the veterinary industry, you have bright job prospects. All that’s left is to find a good veterinary technician training program to develop your skills, and pursue the career you have been waiting for.

If you’re interested in veterinary technician training and a career as a veterinary technician or technologist, find a school that will meet your needs and help you develop the skills you need for a good, solid career. Helping animals is something many people aspire you; your veterinary technician training can help you make that aspiration a reality