Have you been thinking about training for a career in veterinary technology? If you have, you may have heard of such terms as veterinary technician and veterinary technologist.
However, do you know what each of these terms mean and if there are any differences between them?
What is Veterinary Technology?
Before explaining the differences between vet technicians and vet technologists, you need to know the proper definition of veterinary technology.
Veterinary technology is the study of or participation in procedures that are necessary to work as licensed veterinary technicians. Veterinary technology includes a broad range of procedures such as those listed below.
- Drawing Blood
- Collecting Fecal Samples
- Performing Skin Scrapings
- Performing Various Laboratory Tests
- Administering Vaccinations and Medication
- Preparing Animals for Surgery
- Administering and Monitoring Anesthesia
- Assisting During Surgery, Examinations and Treatments
- Cleaning Teeth
There are many similarities between veterinary technicians and veterinary technologists. First of all, they are both essentially responsible for the same tasks.
Of course, this depends on their employers and the position that they hold in their jobs.
However, technicians and technologists are typically found performing the exact same procedures as one another.
Secondly, the work environments of both of these professionals are basically the same. In other words, they can both choose to work in the same types of businesses.
While the majority of vet technicians and technologists work in such facilities as animal clinics and hospitals, you can also find them working in the following businesses.
- Animal Emergency Care Clinics
- Animal Shelters and Humane Societies
- Large Animal Practices
- Zoological Parks
- Aquariums and Marine Life Centers
- Aviaries and Bird Parks
- Wildlife Centers
- Research Facilities and Pharmaceutical Companies
- Educational Facilities
For people to work in either of these occupations, they must complete a program that has been approved for licensing by the American Veterinary Medical Association. Further, individuals who want to work in either of these careers must complete an intern/externship, the Veterinary Technician National Exam and obtain licensing in the state where they wish to work.
Lastly, both of these professionals can choose to specialize in their career if they wish. Currently, there are many areas of veterinary medicine that technicians and technologists can choose as specialties. Specialties range from such areas of the field as small or large animal practices to such areas as internal medicine or dentistry.
Perhaps the biggest difference between veterinary technicians and technologists is that technicians only hold two-year associate degrees while technologists hold four-year bachelors. Additionally, since technologists have more training, they often earn more money than technicians.
In fact, as of 2014, the average overall salary for technologists in the U.S. was about $42,000 per year. However, the average overall salary for technicians during the same year was about $30,000 per year. These figures were calculated by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Finally, due to their extensive training, veterinary technologists often have more employment opportunities than veterinary technicians. Technologists can also advance in their careers much easier than technicians can. For example, veterinary technologists are often chosen first for such positions as supervisors and managers.
In the field of veterinary technology, there are many titles thrown around, which can make it a bit difficult to sort them out and understand what each one stands for.
Nevertheless, it is not as complicated as you may think. First, we will start with veterinary technicians and technologists.
Basically, these professionals are one in the same, with the exception that veterinary technologists possess more training than veterinary technicians. Thus, a veterinary technologist is essentially simply a technician who has gone on to earn a bachelor degree in the field. In fact, the professions are so similar that technologists are often referred to as technicians and vice versa.
Some other terms you may have heard in reference to veterinary technology careers include animal technicians, animal technologists, veterinary/animal nurses and veterinary/animal assistants. Animal technician is simply a nickname for veterinary technician just as animal technologist is a nickname for veterinary technologist.
Additionally, veterinary nurse and animal nurse are both just casual names that are often used to refer to veterinary technicians or technologists.
Lastly, veterinary assistants are individuals working in veterinary clinics or hospitals who typically do not possess college degrees, which limits the tasks they are able to perform.
Veterinary technology careers are quite popular today due mainly to the fact that they offer excellent starting salaries and many emotional rewards.
If you are considering a career in this field, the information described above can help to clarify any confusion you may have pertaining to the career’s job titles.