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Veterinary Technologists and Technicians

At a Glance

  • Work under the supervision of veterinarians
  • Most work 40 hours a week
  • Some work for research labs
  • Most train through two-year programs
  • Need a license
  • May work part time or full time

Career summary

Veterinary technologists and technicians help with diagnostic testing and treat animal illnesses and injuries.

Technologists and technicians work under the supervision of veterinarians. They do many of the same tasks for veterinarians as nurses do for doctors.

Technologists and technicians talk to animal owners and prepare animals to be seen by the veterinarian. They may hold animals during exams, treatments, or shots. They draw blood, collect tissue samples, and do laboratory work.

Other tasks may include:

Technologists and technicians prepare animals for surgery and help veterinarians during operations. Certified technologists and technicians give anesthetics and monitor animals during anesthesia and recovery.

Some technologists and technicians work in research labs. They watch over and take care of animals while assisting in research projects.

All technologists and technicians record treatment notes, lab tests, and their observations of animals. They also maintain inventories of pharmaceuticals, equipment, and supplies. Some technologists and technicians perform office duties, such as answering phones and preparing bills for customers.

Related careers

This career is part of the Health Science cluster of careers.

Related careers include:

Job duties

Task list

The following list of tasks is specific to veterinary technologists and technicians.

Common work activities

Veterinary technologists and technicians perform the following tasks. These tasks are common to many careers.

Work requirements

Working conditions

In a typical work setting, veterinary technologists and technicians:

Interpersonal relationships

Physical work conditions

Work performance


Physical demands

Veterinary technologists and technicians frequently:

It is important for veterinary technologists and technicians to be able to:

It is not as important, but still necessary, for veterinary technologists and technicians to be able to:

Skills and abilities

Veterinary technologists and technicians need to:


Reason and problem solve

Use math and science

Manage oneself, people, time, and things

Work with people

Perceive and visualize

Education and training

Educational programs

The programs of study listed below will help you prepare for the occupation or career cluster you are exploring.

Programs of study directly related to this occupation

Other programs of study to consider


To work as a veterinary technologist or technician, you typically need to:

Education after high school

Veterinary technologists and technicians learn their skills through formal training programs. Most veterinary technology programs take two years to complete and grant an associate degree. Some four-year colleges and universities also offer these programs. In this case, you get a bachelor's degree.

In these programs, you learn about animal care, animal nutrition, and veterinary anatomy. You also learn about laboratory techniques, animal husbandry, and large and small animal care.

Work experience

Volunteering in an animal clinic or shelter is a good way to gain experience.

On-the-job training

While completing a training program, you usually work in a veterinary clinic as an intern. During an internship, you work under the guidance of a veterinarian.

Helpful high school courses

In high school, take classes that prepare you for college. A college preparatory curriculum may be different from your state's graduation requirements.

You should also consider taking some advanced courses in high school. This includes Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses if they are available in your school. If you do well in these courses, you may receive college credit for them. Advanced courses can also strengthen your college application.

Helpful electives to take in high school that prepare you for this career include:

The courses listed above are meant to help you create your high school plan. If you have not already done so, talk to a school counselor or parent about the courses you are considering taking.

You should also check with a teacher or counselor to see if work-based learning opportunities are available in your school and community. These might include field trips, job shadowing, internships, and actual work experience. The goal of these activities is to help you connect your school experiences with real-life work.

Join some groups, try some hobbies, or volunteer with an organization that interests you. By participating in activities you can have fun, make new friends, and learn about yourself. Maybe one of them will help direct you to a future career. Here are examples of activities and groups that may be available in your high school or community.

Things to know

Many veterinarians prefer to hire applicants with at least a two-year veterinary technology degree. They may also require certification. Some prefer applicants who have experience. They may specify experience working with a specific kind of animal, such as horses, or a group of animals, such as small animals.

Other employers hire high school graduates with some related experience. Some look for applicants with good clerical skills.

All employers of veterinary assistants look for applicants who are comfortable interacting with animals. Veterinary technologists must also be willing to perform tasks that animals dislike.

Costs to workers

Workers who join professional associations usually must pay annual membership dues.


Only those workers who are currently registered with the state can legally call themselves veterinary technicians. All others, whether they are graduates of a training program or not, are called unregistered assistants. Registration requirements include:

Technicians must complete 30 hours of continuing education every three years.

For more information, contact:

Washington State Department of Health
Health Systems Quality Assurance
Customer Service Center (external link)

PO Box 47877
Olympia WA 98504-7877


Job listings

Listed below are links to job categories from the National Labor Exchange that relate to this career. Once you get a list of jobs, you can view information about individual jobs and find out how to apply. If your job search finds too many openings, or if you wish to search for jobs outside of Washington, you will need to refine your search.

To get a listing of current jobs from the WorkSource system, go to the WorkSource website (external link).


Veterinary technologists and technicians (SOC 29-2056)

Pay Period
Washington Hourly $14.83 $16.16 $18.00 $20.52 $23.32
Monthly $2,570 $2,801 $3,119 $3,556 $4,041
Yearly $30,840 $33,620 $37,440 $42,670 $48,500
    Bellingham Hourly $16.45 $17.86 $19.80 $22.08 $23.53
Monthly $2,851 $3,095 $3,431 $3,826 $4,078
Yearly $34,215 $37,143 $41,190 $45,925 $48,955
    Bremerton-Silverdale Hourly $16.23 $17.42 $19.31 $22.19 $24.46
Monthly $2,813 $3,019 $3,346 $3,846 $4,239
Yearly $33,763 $36,220 $40,162 $46,148 $50,875
    Kennewick-Richland Hourly $13.85 $15.92 $17.20 $18.50 $19.30
Monthly $2,400 $2,759 $2,981 $3,206 $3,345
Yearly $28,791 $33,117 $35,790 $38,463 $40,137
    Longview Hourly $15.36 $17.32 $19.92 $22.42 $24.00
Monthly $2,662 $3,002 $3,452 $3,885 $4,159
Yearly $31,948 $36,020 $41,438 $46,651 $49,927
    Mount Vernon-Anacortes Hourly $16.30 $17.69 $20.19 $22.69 $24.19
Monthly $2,825 $3,066 $3,499 $3,932 $4,192
Yearly $33,911 $36,801 $41,983 $47,197 $50,324
    Olympia-Tumwater Hourly $14.38 $16.68 $19.99 $23.40 $26.12
Monthly $2,492 $2,891 $3,464 $4,055 $4,527
Yearly $29,908 $34,675 $41,588 $48,664 $54,319
    Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Hourly $15.95 $16.99 $18.71 $21.44 $24.02
Monthly $2,764 $2,944 $3,242 $3,716 $4,163
Yearly $33,188 $35,339 $38,923 $44,596 $49,967
    Spokane-Spokane Valley Hourly $13.09 $14.11 $15.92 $19.00 $21.97
Monthly $2,268 $2,445 $2,759 $3,293 $3,807
Yearly $27,234 $29,349 $33,110 $39,500 $45,686
    Vancouver Hourly $13.70 $15.97 $17.98 $20.62 $24.66
Monthly $2,374 $2,768 $3,116 $3,573 $4,274
Yearly $28,498 $33,234 $37,391 $42,895 $51,294
    Yakima Hourly $13.88 $15.79 $17.44 $19.10 $21.70
Monthly $2,405 $2,736 $3,022 $3,310 $3,761
Yearly $28,862 $32,850 $36,281 $39,723 $45,133
United States Hourly $11.29 $13.56 $16.55 $19.57 $24.04
Monthly $1,957 $2,350 $2,868 $3,391 $4,166
Yearly $23,490 $28,210 $34,420 $40,710 $50,010

Wages vary by employer and area of the country. Wages are also affected by the level of responsibility of the veterinary technologist and technician.

Veterinary technologists and technicians who work full time often receive benefits. Typical benefits include sick leave, paid vacation, and health insurance.

Employment and outlook

The table below provides information about the number of workers in this career in various regions. It also provides information about the expected growth rate and future job openings.

Veterinary Technologists and Technicians (SOC 29-2056)

Location Current employment Growth over 10 years Annual openings
Washington 2,016 26.4% 16.1% 282
    Adams, Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan Counties 30 26.7% 13.4% 5
    Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Garfield, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Walla Walla, and Whitman Counties 38 28.9% 8.6% 5
    Benton and Franklin Counties 73 26.0% 15.0% 9
    Clallam, Jefferson, and Kitsap Counties 100 23.0% 11.9% 12
    Clark, Cowlitz, and Wahkiakum Counties 187 29.4% 15.2% 27
    Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, and Thurston Counties 150 27.3% 14.1% 21
    Island, San Juan, Skagit, and Whatcom Counties 92 26.1% 14.6% 13
    King County 698 26.8% 19.6% 98
    Kittitas, Klickitat, Skamania, and Yakima Counties 89 27.0% 13.8% 12
    Pierce County 150 22.7% 15.2% 19
    Snohomish County 186 24.7% 12.4% 25
    Spokane County 146 34.2% 13.9% 23
United States 109,400 19.3% 5.2% 11,800

National employment

Major employers:

National outlook

Demand for this occupation will remain strong. The number of pets people own is expected to grow. In addition, pet owners are expected to increase their use of veterinary services. As veterinarians perform more specialized procedures, technologists and technicians do more complex work.

Graduates of training programs in veterinary technology have the best prospects for a job. However, more schools offer this program and there are more graduates competing for jobs.

Other resources

American Animal Hospital Association (external link)
12575 West Bayaud Avenue
Lakewood, CO 80228
American Association of State Veterinary Boards (external link)
380 West 22nd Street, Suite 101
Kansas City, MO 64108
American Veterinary Medical Association (external link)
1931 North Meacham Road, Suite 100
Schaumburg, IL 60173
Guide Dogs for the Blind (external link)
P.O. Box 151200
San Rafael, CA 94915
National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (external link)
1931 N Meacham Road
Schaumburg, IL 60173


Career cluster

Career path

O*Net (external link) occupation

O*Net job zone (external link)

DOT occupation

Holland occupational cluster