A lot of children what they want to be when they grow up, and many might say veterinarian, but veterinary technician training may be a viable option for many of them. Veterinary technicians or technologists perform an array of medical tests under supervision of a licensed veterinarian to help diagnose illness and injury in animals.

An important part of the inner workings of a veterinary office, veterinary technicians and technologists work in private clinics, laboratories and animal hospitals. Veterinary technician training is an important part of helping a student acquire the skills they need to properly work with animals. In fact, most veterinary assistants require a two-year degree, while a veterinary technologist frequently needs a four-year degree. Both of them must become registered, licensed or certified by passing a credentialing exam.

I want to take veterinary technician training, but what’s the difference between an assistant and a technologist?

While it is necessary to take veterinary technician training for both occupations, there are differences between a veterinary technician and technologist. Technologists usually have a bachelor’s degree in veterinary technology, and sometimes work in more advanced research-related positions. Technologists may work under a scientist or a veterinarian in a lab setting; they sometimes administer medications, prepare tissue samples or record data such as genealogy, weight, diet, and signs of pain or distress.

Veterinary technicians most often have a two-year degree in a veterinary technology program and work under the guidance of a licensed veterinarian. They often perform laboratory tests and diagnostic exams. They sometimes work in a clinical setting and interact with animal owners.

Which veterinary technician training is right for me?

Those who pursue veterinary technician training are working to enter a growing field that is expected to grow up to 30 percent in the next decade. Veterinary technicians and technologists perform specialized tasks and animal hospitals and clinics are using people more in these positions, leading to the large amount of growth in the position. Veterinary technician training should also benefit from this boom in employment, since those who provide this training should see a large influx of new students as a result.

Be aware, however, that competition will increase as the jobs increase, so there may be an even greater number of people vying for the increased jobs. This puts a premium on additional certifications and any other credentials, as well as work experience and knowledge. It may be in one’s best interest to get involved in veterinary technician training early and begin accumulating work experience.

I’m taking veterinary technician training. What kind of work environment should I expect?

If you’re taking veterinary technician training, you can expect to find employment in private clinics, laboratories, and animal hospitals, with some veterinary technicians or technologists finding work in boarding kennels, animal shelters, rescue leagues and zoos. Some clinics are staffed 24 hours day, leading to more opportunities for employment, but this also often requires workers to be on duty evenings, weekends and holidays, and some have to work seven days a week.

Work as veterinary technologists and technicians are sometimes emotionally and physically demanding. They may witness the aftereffects of animals who have been abused, and may need to euthanize animals who are sick, injured or unwanted. Veterinary technician training can prepare veterinary technologists and technicians for the effects of witnessing these circumstances, but they cannot prepare them completely.

In addition, veterinary technicians and technologists have a high rate of injury and illness. They frequently work with scared or aggressive animals, leading to bites, kicks and scratches. Their veterinary technician training should prepare them for dealing with these injuries, and when possible interacting with animals in such a way to minimize these injuries.

Are you interested in veterinary technician training? As a growing industry, there are opportunities, but it is also expected to have a high amount of competition. Beginning your veterinary technician training early, and remaining diligent in continuing education, is important to remaining relevant in the marketplace. If you decide to pursue veterinary technician training, find a good, accredited school to attend, and be sure to absorb as much information as possible, and put in a great deal of work to ensure your skills will dictate you find and keep a good job.