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Difference between Veterinary Assistants and Veterinary Technicians

According to the US Department of Labor, Veterinary Assistants care for animals by performing routine tasks under the supervision of veterinarians, and veterinary technicians.  Veterinary Assistants and Vet Techs are both supervised by licensed veterinarians, therefore some of their tasks may overlap or seem similar. However, the Veterinary Technician position does require slightly more advanced knowledge and training so there are some differences in what is expected of a Veterinary Assistant versus Veterinary Technician. In general, here are the different job tasks in each career field:

Job Tasks for Vet. Assistant

  • Feed, bathe, and exercise animals
  • Clean and disinfect cages, kennels, and examination and operating rooms
  • Restrain animals during examination, testing, and other laboratory procedures
  • Prepare, maintain and sterilize surgical instruments and equipment to veterinarians during, before, and after surgery.
  • Monitor and care for animals after surgery
  • Help provide emergency first aid to sick and injured animals
  • Give medication or immunizations that veterinarians prescribe
  • Assist in the collection of blood, urine, and tissue samples
  • Provide nursing care before and after surgery and other medical procedures.

Job Tasks for Vet. Techs:

  • Observe the behavior and condition of animals
  • Provide nursing care or emergency first aid to recovering or injured animals
  • Bathe animals, clip nails or claws, and brush or cut animals’ hair
  • Restrain animals during exams or procedures
  • Administer anesthesia to animals, and monitor their responses
  • Take x rays and collect and perform laboratory tests, such as urinalyses and blood counts
  • Prepare animals and instruments for surgery
  • Administer medications, vaccines, and treatments prescribed by a veterinarian
  • Collect and record animal’s case histories

Education and training

Looking to receive Veterinary Assistant training through an accredited online career school? Blackstone Career Institute’s accredited online veterinary assistant course covers the behavior, care, and treatment of animals. A veterinary assistant works on the animal care team under the supervision of a veterinary technician and a veterinarian. Gain a working knowledge of the veterinary assistant field, including veterinary assistant salary information, veterinary anatomy, medical terminology, veterinary administrative office skills, animal care and handling, office technology, time and stress management, critical thinking skills, and working effectively on a team. Prepare for your veterinary assistant career with online veterinary assistant training from Blackstone Career Institute and discover the rewards of working in this exciting animal care field.

Veterinary. Technicians typically have a 2-year associate’s degree in a veterinary technology program. People interested in becoming a veterinary technician can prepare by taking biology and other science courses in high school. Although each state regulates veterinary technicians differently, most candidates must pass a credentialing exam such as the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE), offered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards.


Job Placement

Vet Assistantstypically work in clinics and animal hospitals, helping veterinarians and veterinary technologists and technicians treat injuries and illnesses of animals. About 2 in 5 veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers worked part time. Veterinary assistants may be required to work nights, weekends, or holidays.

Vet Technicians – typically work in private clinics, laboratories, and animal hospitals.


Job Pay

Vet Assistants – A veterinary assistant salary could be upwards of $37,810 annually, with the middle 50% earning as high as $25,250. Many factors are considered when calculating a vet assistant salary such as location, type of facility, education level and years of experience. Research facilities usually pay higher salaries than clinical or hospital settings.

Vet Technicians – The median annual wage for veterinary technicians was $34,420 in May 2018. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Veterinary technicians working in research positions often earn more than those in other fields.Veterinary technicians may have to work evenings, weekends, or holidays.


Interested in becoming a Veterinary Assistant? Find an affordable and convenient online career training here: Online Veterinary Assistant Courses Program – Accredited Online Vet Tech