Whether an orangutan needs surgery or a rat performs in a drug trial, veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers help make sure animals’ needs and well-being are looked after. Veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers perform routine care tasks such as bathing and exercising animals, cleaning and disinfecting facilities, and providing first aid or care after surgery. They work under the supervision of scientists, veterinarians, and veterinary technologists and technicians. They also administer medication, and help restrain animals for examinations and lab procedures. While empathy for animals makes for a good start, there’s often a somber side to animal care. These caregivers treat animals who are sick or have been mistreated and sometimes need to be euthanized. Handling and restraining animals takes physical strength and stamina, but dexterity is also important— especially when handling medical equipment. Good communication skills and an eye for detail are also essential. Work settings for these two fields differ: Veterinary assistants typically work in clinics and animal hospitals, helping treat animals with injuries and illnesses, while laboratory animal caretakers generally work in laboratories where they feed and monitor the animals involved in research. Work hours may be full- or part-time, and often include nights, weekends and holidays. Most workers in these fields have a high school diploma or equivalent, and learn the work on the job.

 

Veterinary Assistant and Laboratory Animal Caretaker Career

If you work as a Veterinary Assistant and/or Laboratory Animal Caretaker, you likely handle routine animal care and help scientists, veterinarians, and veterinary technologists and technicians with their daily tasks.  Veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers also provide nursing care before surgery and other medical procedures.  They may prepare equipment and pass surgical instruments and materials to veterinarians during surgery. They also move animals during testing and other procedures.  Working in this capacity you may also have the job title of Animal Care Provider, Animal Caregiver, Avian Keeper, Certified Veterinary Assistant, Emergency Veterinary Assistant, Inpatient Technician Assistant, Kennel Vet Assistant (Kennel Veterinary Assistant), Research Animal Attendant, Small Animal Caretaker, Veterinarian Assistant (Vet Assistant).

 

Duties

  • Feed, bathe, and exercise animals.
  • Clean and disinfect cages, kennels, and examination and operating rooms.
  • Restrain animals during examination and laboratory procedures.
  • Maintain and sterilize surgical instruments and equipment.
  • 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 collecting blood, urine, and tissue samples.

Outlook

Median Wage 2019:  approximately $28,500 annually

Employment of veterinarians is projected to grow 16% from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.

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Transcript

Whether an orangutan needs surgery, or a rat performs in a drug trial, veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers help make sure animals’ needs and well-being are looked after. Veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers perform routine care tasks such as bathing and exercising animals, cleaning and disinfecting facilities, and providing first aid or care after surgery. They work under the supervision of scientists, veterinarians, and veterinary technologists and technicians. They also administer medication and help restrain animals for examinations and lab procedures. While empathy for animals makes for a good start, there’s often a somber side to animal care. These caregivers treat animals who are sick or have been mistreated and sometimes need to be euthanized. Handling and restraining animals takes physical strength and stamina, but dexterity is also important— especially when handling medical equipment. Good communication skills and an eye for detail are also essential. Work settings for these two fields differ: Veterinary assistants typically work in clinics and animal hospitals, helping treat animals with injuries and illnesses, while laboratory animal caretakers generally work in laboratories where they feed and monitor the animals involved in research. Work hours may be full- or part-time, and often include nights, weekends and holidays. Most workers in these fields have a high school diploma or equivalent and learn the work on the job.

 

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Publications

 

Academic Programs

Most veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers have a high school diploma or equivalent and learn the occupation on the job. Experience working with or being around animals may be helpful for jobseekers.

 

Although certification is not mandatory, it allows workers to demonstrate competency in animal husbandry, health and welfare, and facility administration.

 

The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) offers the Approved Veterinary Assistant (AVA) designation for veterinary assistants. To qualify for the designation, candidates must graduate from a NAVTA-approved program and pass an exam.

 

Laboratory animal caretakers may become certified through the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS).  AALAS offers three levels of certification: Assistant Laboratory Animal Technician (ALAT), Laboratory Animal Technician (LAT), and Laboratory Animal Technologist (LATG). For AALAS certification, candidates must have experience working in a laboratory animal facility and pass an exam.

Certificate and associate programs at colleges may also provide a path to your career aspiration as a veterinary assistant and/or laboratory animal caretaker.

 

Use the link provided below and the ‘Browse for Program’ button to search:

Find a College | Career Exploration

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Veterinary Technologist and Technician Career

If you work as a Veterinary Technologist or Technician, you likely perform medical tests in a laboratory environment for use in the treatment and diagnosis of diseases in animals.  You also prepare vaccines and serums for prevention of diseases, prepare tissue samples, take blood samples, and execute laboratory tests, such as urinalysis and blood counts. As well, clean and sterilize instruments and materials and maintain equipment and machines. In addition, you may assist a veterinarian during surgery. Similar job titles include 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.

Duties

  • 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 animals’ case histories.

 
Outlook

Median Wage 2019:  approximately $35,000 annually

Employment of veterinary technologists and technicians is projected to grow 16 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Video

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Transcript

Veterinary technologists and technicians are the quiet heroes of animal care. These animal health care workers assist veterinarians in diagnosing and treating animals who are hurt or sick. Also called "vet techs," they provide nursing care or emergency first aid, take samples, and run tests in the lab. In the operating room, vet techs administer anesthesia, monitor patients' vital signs, and assist surgeons in a variety of ways. The vet tech even acts as dental hygienist, evaluating animals' teeth and cleaning them with special equipment. The work can involve lifting heavy animals. It can also be demanding, requiring great patience and empathy. Sick animals are often messy... and may bite and scratch when afraid. Sadly, some can't be helped. Vet techs are also responsible for administering euthanasia, when the veterinarian and family agree it is the kindest treatment option. Veterinary technologists and technicians typically work in private clinics and animal hospitals. Other settings include laboratories, colleges, and universities. Some jobs require evening, weekend, or holiday work hours. Variable schedules are common. Veterinary technologists usually have a bachelor's degree in veterinary technology, while veterinary technicians need an associate degree in veterinary technology. Both technicians and technologists must become registered, licensed or certified, depending on their state requirements. And while vet techs' patients can't say "thank you," they have other ways to show their appreciation!

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Publications

 

Academic Programs

Veterinary technologists and technicians must complete a postsecondary program in veterinary technology. Technologists usually need a 4-year bachelor’s degree, and technicians need a 2-year associate degree. Typically, both technologists and technicians must pass a credentialing exam to become registered, licensed, or certified, depending on the requirements of the state in which they work.

 

Individuals interested in becoming a veterinary technologist or technician can prepare by taking biology and other science courses in high school.

 

To find an institution of higher education that offers a program relative to your career aspirations as a veterinary technologist or technician, the easiest place to start for most people is to perform a simple search by area of interest.

 

Use the link provided below and the ‘Browse for Program’ button to search:

Find a College | Career Exploration

Licensing

Although each state regulates veterinary technologists and technicians differently, most candidates must pass a credentialing exam. Most states require technologists and technicians to pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE), offered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards