Should I Be a Vet Tech or Veterinarian?

So you love animals and want to work with them, but you’re not sure whether you should be a vet tech or a veterinarian. Here’s a breakdown of the two careers to help you make your decision.

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Job Description

Vet techs are responsible for a variety of tasks, from cleaning cages and preparing animals for surgery to running diagnostic tests and providing nursing care. They work closely with veterinarians, who are responsible for diagnosing and treating animal health problems.

What do Vet Techs do?

Vet techs are an important part of the veterinary team. They are responsible for many of the routine tasks that are essential to animal care. They may take x-rays, collect blood and urine samples, administer vaccinations, help with dental care, and much more. In some states, they may even be allowed to prescribe medications.

What do Veterinarians do?

Working as a Veterinarian
Most veterinarians work in private clinics and hospitals, caring for animals. Some may also work in research laboratories, zoos, or for government agencies. Most veterinarians work full time, and many work more than 40 hours per week. Some veterinarians work evenings or weekends to accommodate their clients’ schedules.

Duties of Veterinarians
Veterinarians typically do the following:
-Inspect animals periodically to assess their health and identify signs of illness or injury
-Diagnose health problems and prescribe and administer treatments
-Perform medical and surgical procedures on animals
-Advise animal owners on feeding, housing, and general care of their pets
-Test for and vaccinate against diseases
-Sterilize animals to prevent overpopulation
-Research the links between animal and human health
– Educate animal owners about pet health

Education and Training

Both veterinarians and vet techs need a solid foundation in the sciences, including chemistry, physics, and biology. You’ll also need to complete undergraduate coursework in math and the humanities. If you’re planning to become a vet tech, you’ll need to complete a two-year veterinary technology program. If you’re interested in becoming a veterinarian, you’ll need to complete a four-year veterinary school program.

What is the education and training required for a Vet Tech?

In order to become a veterinary technician, you will need to complete a two-year accredited veterinary technology program. These programs are typically offered at community colleges and technical schools. After completing the program, you will need to pass a national exam in order to become certified.

Veterinarians must complete a four-year accredited veterinary program and then pass a state licensing exam. Many veterinarians also choose to complete a one- or two- year internship or residency program in order to specialize in a particular area of veterinary medicine.

What is the education and training required for a Veterinarian?

In order to become a licensed veterinarian, you must complete a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.) program at an accredited university. In the United States, there are only 30 colleges of veterinary medicine that are accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). The AVMA Council on Education (COE) is recognized as the accrediting body for veterinary medical education by the U.S. Department of Education.

The D.V.M. program is a rigorous four-year curriculum that includes classroom work, laboratory work, and clinical rotations in various animal hospitals and clinics. After completing the D.V.M. program, new veterinarians must pass a national board exam in order to obtain their state license.

Most states also require that new veterinarians complete a certain number of continuing education credits every year in order to maintain their license. Many veterinarians choose to specialize in a particular area of practice, such as small animal medicine, large animal medicine, equine medicine, emergency and critical care, zoological medicine, or food animal medicine. Some veterinarians also choose to pursue additional training in areas such as surgery, dentistry, internal medicine, or dermatology


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for veterinary technicians was $33,400 in 2016. The median annual salary for veterinarians was $88,490 in 2016. So, if you’re looking to make more money, becoming a veterinarian is the way to go.

What is the average salary for a Vet Tech?

The median annual wage for veterinary technicians and technologists was $35,320 in May 2019. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $21,760, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $52,580.

What is the average salary for a Veterinarian?

The average salary for a veterinarian is $88,490 per year. However, this figure can vary greatly depending on experience, location, and other factors. Vets in private practice tend to earn more than those who work in clinics or shelters, for example. Meanwhile, those who work in urban areas typically earn more than those in rural areas.

Job Outlook

If you’re passionate about working with animals and want to make a difference in their lives, you might be wondering if you should become a vet tech or veterinarian. Both careers are noble and important, but they’re quite different. So, which one is right for you?

What is the job outlook for Vet Techs?

Veterinary technicians typically need an associate’s degree in veterinary technology. Programs usually take 2 years to complete and are widely available at community colleges, technical schools, and 4-year colleges. A few states require veterinary technicians to be licensed, but the majority do not have specific licensure requirements.

Although formal education and training requirements are minimal, becoming a veterinary technician requires a passion for working with animals and speed, precision, and attention to detail when providing medical care. Most employers prefer to hire candidates with experience working with animals.

Employment of veterinary technicians is projected to grow 19 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. The demand for full-service veterinary care is expected to continue as households increasingly adopt pets.

What is the job outlook for Veterinarians?

In the United States, employment for veterinarians is projected to grow 18 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. A growing number of pet owners and an increase in the number of pets per household will drive demand for veterinary services.

A trend toward specialization is expected to result in increases in the number of solo practitioners and in the size of group practices. The need to contain costs, as well as advances in technology that allow more efficient diagnosis and treatment of animals, also should result in fewer veterinarians needed per animal clinic or hospital. Increasing awareness of the role of animals in public health, food safety, and homeland security also is expected to create new opportunities for veterinarians.

Pros and Cons

Becoming a vet tech or a veterinarian are both great choices if you want to work with animals. They are both in demand careers with a lot of room for growth. However, they do have their differences. As a vet tech, you will be responsible for the day-to-day care of the animals and assisting the veterinarian with procedures. You will also need to have excellent customer service skills. Veterinarians have a higher level of responsibility. They are responsible for diagnosing and treating diseases, performing surgery, and prescribing medication. They also need to have excellent customer service skills.

Pros of being a Vet Tech

There are many pros to being a vet tech! One of the main advantages is the ability to work closely with animals on a daily basis. As a vet tech, you will have the opportunity to build relationships with your patients and their owners while providing high-quality care.

Another big pro is the potential to earn a good salary. Veterinary technicians are in demand and the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual salary for vet techs was $32,490 in 2016. The top 10% of earners made more than $47,350 per year.

In addition, most veterinary technicians have greater job security than veterinarians. Vet techs are less likely to be impacted by economic downturns since people will always need to care for their pets. And, as baby boomers age, the demand for veterinary technicians is expected to grow even more.

Cons of being a Vet Tech

As a vet tech, your responsibilities will be mainly animal-related and may include cleaning cages and kennels, feeding and watering animals, and providing routine post-operative care. You will also collect blood, urine, and tissue samples from animals for testing, take X-rays, administer injections and vaccinations, perform lab tests, help during surgeries (under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian), fill prescriptions, educate pet owners on animal care, handle billing and inventory, maintain medical records, disinfect equipment and work areas, restrain animals during examination and treatment, nurture sick or injured animals back to health under the guidance of a veterinarian.

Depending on your state’s regulations, you may also be able to perform some more advanced procedures like laser therapy or acupuncture. You should note that while these additional responsibilities can be very rewarding, they also require extra training.

Although most states allow vet techs to perform some tasks without direct supervision from a licensed veterinarian (veterinarian), you will always work under the guidance of a licensed professional. This means that you will not have the same level of independence or authority as a veterinarian.

Pros of being a Veterinarian

The ability to help sick animals and relieve their pain.
You will have the power to save an animal’s life.
The ability to work with a variety of animals.
The opportunity to work in a variety of settings, such as zoos, rescue organizations, racing circuits, aquariums, private practices, or research facilities.
A potential high income.

Cons of being a Veterinarian

-You will have to work long hours, which could include evenings, weekends, and holidays.
-You will be on your feet for long periods of time.
-You will be exposed to potentially dangerous chemicals and diseases.
-You will have to deal with the stress of making life-and-death decisions.

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