Is Vet Tech and Vet Assistant the Same?

So, you’re thinking about a career in the veterinary field? You’re not alone. The field of veterinary medicine is growing rapidly. But, you may be wondering, what’s the difference between a vet tech and a vet assistant?

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While both veterinary technicians and assistants work closely with animals and veterinarians, there are some key differences between the two roles. Veterinary technicians usually have more responsibility and independence than veterinary assistants, and they must complete a formal education and pass a credentialing exam to become certified. Read on to learn more about the similarities and differences between these two careers.

What is a Vet Tech?

A veterinary technician (vet tech) is an allied animal health professional who work alongside veterinarians, assisting them with animal care, routine procedures and lab work. They are responsible for a variety of tasks, including restraining animals during exams and surgeries, preparing lab samples, updating patient records and providing nursing care.

Vet techs must have a strong knowledge of animal anatomy and physiology, as well as the skills to properly restrain animals. They must be able to effectively communicate with both animals and their owners. Vet techs typically work in private clinics, but may also find employment in zoos, research facilities or pharmaceutical companies.

What is a Vet Assistant?

A veterinary assistant helps the veterinarian care for the animal patients. They may perform some medical tasks such as taking the animal’s temperature or applying bandages. They also help with office tasks such as scheduling appointments and answering the phone.

What is a Vet Tech?
A vet tech is a more specialized position that requires more training than a vet assistant. Vet techs are able to perform more medical tasks such as giving injections and taking x-rays. They may also assist in surgery.

The Difference Between a Vet Tech and Vet Assistant

Vet assistants perform many of the same tasks as vet techs, but vet techs have more responsibilities and require more training. Both work under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian, but vet techs can perform additional tasks, such as anesthesia, because they have more training.

Vet assistants typically have a high school diploma or equivalent, while vet techs must have an associates degree or higher from an accredited institution. Vet techs must also pass a state-administered exam to become licensed. In some states, vet assistants may also be required to be licensed.

The duties of a vet assistant include cleaning and disinfecting cages and kennels, feeding and watering animals, collecting samples for lab testing and performing clerical tasks. Vet techs perform all of these duties and can also take X-rays, give injections and help with surgeries.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual salary for vet assistants was $28,590 in 2019, while the median annual salary for vet techs was $35,320.

The Similarities Between a Vet Tech and Vet Assistant

There are many similarities between a vet tech and a vet assistant. Both positions are entry-level positions that work under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian. Both positions require completing a training program and passing a credentialing exam.

Vet techs and vet assistants both provide basic animal care, including feeding, grooming, and exercising animals. They also take vital signs, collect samples, and assist with medical procedures.

The main difference between a vet tech and a vet assistant is the scope of their practice. Vet techs have more education and training than vet assistants, and as such, they are able to perform more medical procedures independently. In most states, only vet techs can administer medications, take x-rays, place IV catheters, and perform other medical procedures.


After reading this article, you should have a better understanding of the similarities and differences between veterinary technicians and veterinary assistants. Both careers are important to the veterinary field, but they are different in terms of education, responsibilities, and job outlook.

If you’re interested in working in the veterinary field, research both careers to decide which one is right for you.

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