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Must-have skills for a veterinary technician position

January 7, 2014


Must-Have Skills for a Veterinary Technician Position


If you love working with all kinds of animals, from puppies and kittens to rabbits and horses, a veterinary technician position may be perfect for you. With this job, you may work in a local veterinary clinic or you might assist with the care of livestock and other farm animals. Either way, a veterinary technician plays a vital part in keeping animals healthy and happy.  But how much do you know about veterinary technicians’ duties and what skills they need? Find out more before you decide on a Veterinary Technology degree.

What Does a Veterinary Technician Do?

If you’re considering becoming a veterinary technician, you should know what one does. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, veterinary technologists and technicians:1

  • Observe the behavior and condition of animals
  • Provide nursing care or emergency first aid to recovering or injured animals
  • Bathe animals, clip nails or claws, and brush or cut animals’ hair
  • Restrain animals during exams or procedures
  • Administer anesthesia to animals and monitor their responses
  • Take x rays and collect and perform laboratory tests, such as urinalyses and blood counts
  • Prepare animals and instruments for surgery
  • Administer medications, vaccines, and treatments prescribed by a veterinarian
  • Collect and record animals’ case histories

These are just some of the physical tasks a veterinary technician can be expected to complete. 

What Skills Does a Veterinary Technician Need?

Being a vet tech will also involve key personal skills. Before you consider a vet tech career, find out if you have the veterinary technician qualifications required. The skills below can help you become a successful vet tech.

Communication Skills

While you may know all there is to learn about animals and their health, you must know exactly how to effectively relay that information to coworkers and clients alike. This job is just as much about the people as it is the animals. It’s important to be able to explain the information about an animal’s condition in a way that others can easily understand. You also must be able to quickly respond to instructions from the supervising veterinarian.


Detail Skills

This skill is more than just about speaking. It’s about listening attentively. That means giving full attention to other people as they talk, making sure you understand key points and asking questions when appropriate.

As a vet tech, you’re likely going to get a large amount of information thrown at you at once. This is why being detail-oriented is so crucial. You have to focus on maintaining accurate records because one tiny mistake can lead to serious injury or even death for an animal. Even the smallest details are just as important as the big picture.

Emotional Skills

That also means watching pet parents carefully, being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

Many pet owners think of their furry friend as an important and loved member of the family. Therefore, if their animal is in pain or ill, they are going to need comfort from their vet technician. As a vet tech, you must be able to understand your client and empathize with them while still maintaining the ability to carry out the necessary medical duties.

Even though the pet may be the one in need of care, this doesn’t mean that the owner and his or her feelings should be neglected. After all, if your canine or feline companion was in danger, you would want someone there to empathize with what you’re experiencing.

Intellectual Skills

Veterinary technicians will need to display problem-solving skills when processing new information and tackling complex issues. They then develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

They’ll also exercise critical thinking by identifying the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Medical Skills

Though they don’t make decisions about how to care for animals as veterinarians, veterinary techs still must follow instructions. Because they’re often administering medication and immunizations to animals, they must have an understanding of medical procedures.

Vet techs should have a basic understanding of and interest in concepts related to biology, medicine and dentistry.

Technical Skills

Veterinary technicians are required to use a variety of technical machinery on a daily basis, which can include taking and developing X-rays, cleaning equipment and entering data into computers using spreadsheet programs. An ability to quickly learn new technical skills is a must.

A veterinary technician also has to understand the implications of new information for both current and future cases.

Are You Ready to be a Veterinary Technician?

These are some of the things you’ll need to know if you want to be a veterinary technician. If you’re ready to take that step, Carrington College can help you prepare for your new career. Find out more about the Veterinary Technology degree.


[1]  Veterinary Technologists and Technicians 


Learn More About A Career In Vet Assisting

If you love animals and working in a fast-paced environment with lots of other employees and if you enjoy connecting with customers and helping educate clients. Veterinary Assisting may be the right career for you.

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