What Does a Vet Tech Do? Understanding the Crucial Role of Veterinary Technicians

OC Veterinary Assistant School - Veterinary Assistant Helping Veterinary Technician Examine Dogs Ear

The term “vet tech” may sound casual, but the responsibilities and skills behind the role are anything but. Veterinary technicians, or vet techs, are the unsung heroes of the veterinary medicine world. Let’s delve deeper into understanding their role and responsibilities.

Educational Foundation

Most start their journey in high school, with a burgeoning interest in animal care. Following this, aspiring veterinary technicians usually obtain an associate degree from a vet tech program that has received accreditation from the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA). Some even go on to earn a bachelor’s degree in veterinary technology. Once their education is complete, they typically sit for the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) – a credentialing exam recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Upon passing, they become a certified veterinary technician, registered veterinary technician (RVT), or licensed veterinary technician (LVT), depending on the terminology used by state boards.

Daily Responsibilities

So, what does a vet tech do daily in their work environment? Vet techs assist licensed veterinarians in various tasks. They’re proficient in drawing blood, administering vaccines, and monitoring vital signs. They often conduct diagnostic tests, work with radiology and x-rays, and assist in surgical procedures. In essence, they provide essential nursing care to animals.

Diverse Work Environment

While many work in private practice, at veterinary clinics or veterinary hospitals, the scope is wide. Some vet techs work in zoos, looking after large animals, while others might be employed at humane societies or kennels, focusing primarily on small animal healthcare. There are also roles in animal hospitals and even in research settings.

Specialties and Advanced Roles

With further training, vet techs can specialize. Areas of specialties include dentistry, critical care, and even animal behavior. As the field of veterinary technology expands, there are more niches for these dedicated professionals. Some become veterinary technologists, often with a four-year degree, who might focus more on laboratory tests or research.

Vet assistants, or veterinary assistants, often work alongside vet techs. They usually have fewer credentials and handle more of the administrative and basic animal care tasks. However, both roles are crucial for the well-being of the pets and animal owners they serve.

Soft Skills and Continuous Learning

Communication skills are paramount. Vet techs often act as a bridge between pet owners and veterinarians. They educate animal owners about first aid, preventive healthcare, and any follow-up care required.

Continuing education is a must in this field. As with many medical professions, staying updated with the latest in veterinary medicine is vital. Vet techs often attend workshops and seminars to hone their skills.

The Growing Importance

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for vet techs is on the rise. With an ever-growing number of pet owners and a broader understanding of animal health and well-being, their role has never been more critical. This profession requires both a deep knowledge of veterinary medicine and a profound love for animals.


From performing x-rays and diagnostic imaging to assisting in surgical procedures, the life of a vet tech is both rewarding and challenging. These professionals, whether they’re in a small veterinary practice or a large animal hospital, ensure that animals receive the best care possible. With the backing of organizations like the AVMA and the support of a robust educational framework, vet techs will continue to play an integral role in animal healthcare for years to come. Check out how to become a Vet Tech at OCVAS Lake Forest or Garden Grove campuses. 

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Veterinary Attendant Program

For those just beginning their future in veterinary medicine and have no, or little experience in a clinical setting.

Level 1 Veterinary Assistant

Intended for those who have either finished the Veterinary Attendant Program or have clinical experience.

Level 2 Veterinary Technician

Intended for advanced students who have completed the Level I Class requirements and can pass the Level II Assessment Exam.