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How A Veterinary Technician Is Different From A Vet Assistant

By Leonard Dawson

Do you love animals and think that maybe a career working with them might be a good idea? If so, you probably want to know the difference between a veterinary assistant and a veterinary technician. Many people just expect that these are interchangeable terms but they are wrong. There are differences in everything from training and schooling to earnings and career outlook.

A veterinary technician has much more schooling. Specifically, he or she has graduated from a two-year program of study that is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

That’s not all. After they successfully complete and graduate from the two year program, they take an examination. It’s a state board examination, which they have to pass in order to be licensed as veterinary technicians in their state.

Veterinary assistants don’t face these same professional hurdles. There’s no two-year Associate’s degree program. Some veterinary assistants may have certificates, or some training in high school, but most simply learn on the job at an animal clinic.

This is why veterinary assistants’ duties are so much more basic than are the duties of a licensed veterinary technician. Basically, if you are a veterinary assistant you’ll be doing a lot of administrative duties like filing and answering the phones, some clean up in the exam rooms and kennels, and very basic animal care tasks like holding animals while they are being examined.

The veterinary technician, on the other hand, will complete much more complex tasks like giving x-rays to animals, administering vaccinations, assisting vets in surgery, collecting and analyzing samples, to name just a few.

You have probably correctly surmised that the two positions don’t have the same pay scale. Vet technicians make a good bit more money and have better job prospects. They can earn $15 or more per hour with a few years experience, whereas your average vet assistant only earns around $9-10 per hour.

Which career path you should choose depends on how long you want to stay in the position. If you are just looking to work with animals and need a job that doesn’t require a degree for maybe part-time or temporary work, vet assistant is the way to go. On the other hand, if you are making a long-term career choice, you’ll want to invest the time into becoming a veterinary technician.

This writer also often gives advice regarding subject including walk in closet design and portable closets.

categories: veterinary,career,animals,pets,environment,health,education,job,medicine,research,training,work,finance,job

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Dawson, Leonard "How A Veterinary Technician Is Different From A Vet Assistant." How A Veterinary Technician Is Different From A Vet Assistant. 27 Jun. 2010. 30 Dec 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Dawson, L (2010, June 27). How A Veterinary Technician Is Different From A Vet Assistant. Retrieved December 30, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Dawson, Leonard "How A Veterinary Technician Is Different From A Vet Assistant"

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