Veterinary Technologists and Technicians
Perform medical tests in a laboratory environment for use in the treatment and diagnosis of diseases in animals. Prepare vaccines and serums for prevention of diseases. Prepare tissue samples, take blood samples, and execute laboratory tests, such as urinalysis and blood counts. Clean and sterilize instruments and materials and maintain equipment and machines. May assist a veterinarian during surgery.
Sample of reported job titles: Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT), Emergency Veterinary Technician (Emergency Vet Tech), Internal Medicine Veterinary Technician (Internal Medicine Vet Tech), Licensed Veterinary Technician (LVT), Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT), Veterinarian Technician (Vet Tech), Veterinary Laboratory Technician (Vet Lab Tech), Veterinary Nurse (Vet Nurse), Veterinary Technician (Vet Tech), Veterinary Technologist
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Tasks | Technology Skills | Tools Used | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Administer anesthesia to animals, under the direction of a veterinarian, and monitor animals’ responses to anesthetics so that dosages can be adjusted.
- Care for and monitor the condition of animals recovering from surgery.
- Maintain controlled drug inventory and related log books.
- Perform laboratory tests on blood, urine, or feces, such as urinalyses or blood counts, to assist in the diagnosis and treatment of animal health problems.
- Prepare and administer medications, vaccines, serums, or treatments, as prescribed by veterinarians.
- Restrain animals during exams or procedures.
- Administer emergency first aid, such as performing emergency resuscitation or other life saving procedures.
- Clean and sterilize instruments, equipment, or materials.
- Provide veterinarians with the correct equipment or instruments, as needed.
- Perform dental work, such as cleaning, polishing, or extracting teeth.
- Observe the behavior and condition of animals and monitor their clinical symptoms.
- Give enemas and perform catheterizations, ear flushes, intravenous feedings, or gavages.
- Fill prescriptions, measuring medications and labeling containers.
- Collect, prepare, and label samples for laboratory testing, culture, or microscopic examination.
- Prepare animals for surgery, performing such tasks as shaving surgical areas.
- Take and develop diagnostic radiographs, using x-ray equipment.
- Discuss medical health of pets with clients, such as post-operative status.
- Clean kennels, animal holding areas, surgery suites, examination rooms, or animal loading or unloading facilities to control the spread of disease.
- Take animals into treatment areas and assist with physical examinations by performing such duties as obtaining temperature, pulse, or respiration data.
- Prepare treatment rooms for surgery.
- Maintain laboratory, research, or treatment records, as well as inventories of pharmaceuticals, equipment, or supplies.
- Maintain instruments, equipment, or machinery to ensure proper working condition.
- Dress and suture wounds and apply splints or other protective devices.
- Provide assistance with animal euthanasia and the disposal of remains.
- Schedule appointments and procedures for animals.
- Provide information or counseling regarding issues such as animal health care, behavior problems, or nutrition.
- Monitor medical supplies and place orders when inventory is low.
- Supervise or train veterinary students or other staff members.
- Perform a variety of office, clerical, or accounting duties, such as reception, billing, bookkeeping, or selling products.
- Bathe animals, clip nails or claws, and brush or cut animals’ hair.
- Conduct specialized procedures, such as animal branding or tattooing or hoof trimming.
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- Data base user interface and query software — FileMaker Pro; Microsoft Access
- Electronic mail software — Microsoft Outlook
- Internet browser software — Web browser software
- Medical software — Animal Intelligence Software Animal Intelligence; McAllister Software Systems AVImark; Veterinary practice management software PMS
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office
- Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
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- Medicine and Dentistry — Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
- Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- Biology — Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Chemistry — Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
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- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Learning Strategies — Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
- Time Management — Managing one’s own time and the time of others.
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- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Auditory Attention — The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds.
- Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
- Trunk Strength — The ability to use your abdominal and lower back muscles to support part of the body repeatedly or continuously over time without “giving out” or fatiguing.
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- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Assisting and Caring for Others — Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
- Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Communicating with People Outside the Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
- Working with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
- Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
- Performing Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
- Selling or Influencing Others — Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.
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Detailed Work Activities
- Monitor patient conditions during treatments, procedures, or activities.
- Administer anesthetics or sedatives to control pain.
- Monitor patients following surgeries or other treatments.
- Maintain medical facility records.
- Test biological specimens to gather information about patient conditions.
- Prepare medications or medical solutions.
- Administer non-intravenous medications.
- Immunize patients.
- Position patients for treatment or examination.
- Treat medical emergencies.
- Clean medical equipment or facilities.
- Sterilize medical equipment or instruments.
- Assist healthcare practitioners during examinations or treatments.
- Treat dental problems or diseases.
- Administer basic health care or medical treatments.
- Collect biological specimens from patients.
- Communicate detailed medical information to patients or family members.
- Operate diagnostic imaging equipment.
- Prepare biological specimens for laboratory analysis.
- Prepare patients physically for medical procedures.
- Process x-rays or other medical images.
- Prepare medical supplies or equipment for use.
- Maintain medical equipment or instruments.
- Apply bandages, dressings, or splints.
- Schedule patient procedures or appointments.
- Provide health and wellness advice to patients, program participants, or caregivers.
- Maintain inventory of medical supplies or equipment.
- Order medical supplies or equipment.
- Supervise patient care personnel.
- Train medical providers.
- Merchandise healthcare products or services.
- Perform clerical work in medical settings.
- Process medical billing information.
- Assist patients with hygiene or daily living activities.
- Care for animals.
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- Contact With Others — 83% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 79% responded “Extremely important.”
- Physical Proximity — 69% responded “Very close (near touching).”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 83% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 68% responded “Extremely important.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 68% responded “Every day.”
- Telephone — 78% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Standing — 43% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Exposed to Disease or Infections — 59% responded “Every day.”
- Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings — 54% responded “Every day.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 55% responded “Every day.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 43% responded “Very important results.”
- Exposed to Radiation — 40% responded “Every day.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 50% responded “Extremely important.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 57% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Time Pressure — 49% responded “Every day.”
- Wear Specialized Protective or Safety Equipment such as Breathing Apparatus, Safety Harness, Full Protection Suits, or Radiation Protection — 49% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Deal With External Customers — 51% responded “Extremely important.”
- Responsible for Others’ Health and Safety — 42% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Consequence of Error — 54% responded “Extremely serious.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 41% responded “Some freedom.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 50% responded “Every day.”
- Exposed to Contaminants — 57% responded “Every day.”
- Electronic Mail — 50% responded “Every day.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 44% responded “Some freedom.”
- Spend Time Walking and Running — 33% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 34% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 35% responded “Extremely important.”
- Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 34% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body — 32% responded “More than half the time.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 44% responded “Moderate responsibility.”
- Cramped Work Space, Awkward Positions — 29% responded “Never.”
- Spend Time Kneeling, Crouching, Stooping, or Crawling — 25% responded “More than half the time.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Conditions — 36% responded “Never.”
- Frequency of Conflict Situations — 26% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
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|Title||Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate’s degree.|
|Related Experience||Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations usually involve using communication and organizational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include hydroelectric production managers, travel guides, electricians, agricultural technicians, barbers, court reporters, and medical assistants.|
|SVP Range||(6.0 to < 7.0)|
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Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
|41||High school diploma or equivalent
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Interest code: RI Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
- Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
- Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
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- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others’ needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Independence — Job requires developing one’s own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
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- Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
- Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
- Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
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Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2020)||$17.43 hourly, $36,260 annual|
|Employment (2020)||114,400 employees|
|Projected growth (2020-2030)||Faster than average (10% to 15%)|
|Projected job openings (2020-2030)||10,400|
|Top industries (2020)||
Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020 wage data and 2020-2030 employment projections . “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.
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Job Openings on the Web
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Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- Academy of Veterinary Dental Technicians
- American Animal Hospital Association
- American Association for Laboratory Animal Science
- American Association of Veterinary State Boards
- American Society for Clinical Pathology
- American Veterinary Medical Association
- Association of Zoo Veterinary Technicians
- National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: Veterinary technologists and technicians
- Society of Veterinary Behavior Technicians
- Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society
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