Many people are interested in working with animals but are not sure what the difference is between a vet tech and a vet assistant.
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What is a Vet Tech?
A Vet Tech is a professional who has completed an accredited Veterinary Technician program and has passed the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). A Vet Tech is able to perform many of the same duties as a Veterinary Assistant, but they are also able to do much more.
The duties of a vet tech
Vet techs are medically trained professionals who work closely with veterinarians to provide care for sick and injured animals. A vet tech’s job duties include animal nursing, anesthesia, laboratory work, diagnostic testing, and surgical assistance. In some states, vet techs are allowed to prescribe medications and perform minor medical procedures.
Vet techs typically have an associate’s degree in veterinary technology, although some have a bachelor’s degree. After completing an accredited program, vet techs must pass a national exam to become certified. Some states also require vet techs to be licensed.
The education and training requirements of a vet tech
Veterinary technicians in the U.S. must have an associate degree from an accredited community college or technical school. Many students enter vet tech programs after completing a year or two of general studies at a community college. The coursework for a vet tech program includes classroom and laboratory instruction in animal anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, nutrition, and disease control. Students also gain hands-on experience in animal care through internships or externships at veterinary clinics, animal shelters, or zoos.
After completing their degree program, vet techs must pass a credentialing exam administered by the state in which they plan to practice. Some states require vet techs to complete continuing education credits on a regular basis to maintain their license.
What is a Vet Assistant?
A veterinary assistant is a member of the veterinary health care team who supports the veterinarians and veterinary technicians in providing animal health care. Veterinary assistants may perform a variety of tasks, from cleaning cages and kennels to providing direct patient care and assisting with diagnostic and surgical procedures.
The duties of a vet assistant
Though there is some crossover, the duties of a vet assistant are generally less hands-on than those of a vet tech. Vet assistants typically handle more of the non-medical tasks in a vet practice, such as cleaning cages and kennels, feeding and bathing animals, and walking dogs. They may also perform office work, such as answering phones and scheduling appointments. Some vet assistants may be trained to take X-rays and perform other basic diagnostic tests, but this is usually not part of their regular job duties.
The education and training requirements of a vet assistant
The education and training requirements of a vet assistant vary by state, but most states require vet assistants to have at least a high school diploma or equivalent. Some states require vet assistants to complete a formal education program, while others may require on-the-job training.
Most states require vet assistants to be licensed or registered with the state veterinary board. To be eligible for licensure or registration, vet assistants must pass a written exam and/or complete a practical skills test. Some states also require continuing education for license renewals.
Vet assistants typically work under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian or a registered veterinary technician. They may perform a variety of tasks, including cleaning cages and kennels, feeding and watering animals, taking animals’ vital signs, collecting samples for lab testing, assisting with animal dental care, and applying bandages and other therapeutic devices.
So, what’s the difference?
A Veterinary Technician is a bit like a Registered Nurse for animals. They have more medical training than a Veterinary Assistant and are able to do more medical procedures. They often work alongside the veterinarian and are an important part of the veterinary team. So, what’s the difference between a Veterinary Technician and a Veterinary Assistant?
The key differences between vet techs and vet assistants
The key difference between a vet tech and a vet assistant is that vet techs have completed a 2-4 year accredited veterinary technology program whereas vet assistants have not. Vet techs must also pass the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) in order to become certified.
Vet assistants perform many of the same duties as vet techs, but they are not required to have as much formal education. Most states do not require certification for vet assistants, although some employers may prefer to hire those who have completed a certification program.
Both vet techs and vet assistants work closely with veterinarians and other medical staff to provide care for animals. They may perform tasks such as taking X-rays, preparing animals for surgery, administering medications, and collecting laboratory samples. In some states, vet techs may also dispense medications under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian.