Veterinary Assistant and Technician Careers
Veterinary medicine has various career paths for individuals based on their level of education and experience. A veterinarian office has numerous job tasks that are performed by the person with the correct level of education in order to ensure animals receive the highest quality of care. A veterinary assistant and veterinary technician are two different career paths that interested students can pursue.
Difference Between Veterinary Technicians And Veterinary Assistants
In order to become a veterinary assistant, you must have a high school diploma or GED. Some students attend veterinary assistant degree programs, in order to obtain a training certificate. Most of the training for veterinary assistants is received from hands on training with veterinarians or veterinary technicians.
Some of the job duties of a veterinary assistant include but are not limited to:
- Setting up equipment
- Cleaning surgical areas of the clinic
- Kennel cleaning
- Sterilizing lab equipment
- Feeding and watering animals
All the job duties of a veterinary assistant are performed under the supervision of veterinarians or veterinary technicians. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the annual mean salary for veterinary assistants was $23,400 in 2009.
Veterinary technicians require a higher level of education than veterinary assistants. Vet tech programs can help students obtain a two-year associates degree which is required by employers to work as a veterinary technician. Vet techs are also required to pass a certification exam in order to practice veterinary medicine. The credentialing exam ensures that a technician has adequate knowledge to work with animals in a veterinary setting.
Veterinary technicians also perform more detailed job duties, such as:
- Perform medical tests
- Treat and diagnose medical conditions
- Assist with dental care
- Take blood and urine samples
The mean annual salary of veterinary technicians was $30,580 in 2009 as reported by the BLS.
Depending on the level of education you wish to obtain, there are various career opportunities in the fast growing field of veterinary medicine.