Veterinary Technicians & Animal Health Technologists (NOC 3213) may also be called:
- Veterinarian assistant
- animal operating room attendant
- veterinary technician supervisor
- registered veterinary technician (RVT)
- animal care technologist
- laboratory animal technologist
- registered animal health technologist
- veterinary technologist
What Would I Do?
Veterinary and animal health technologists and technicians provide technical support to veterinarians by caring for animals and assisting in the diagnosis and treatment of animal health disorders. Duties may include:
- provide nursing care and rehabilitation therapy for animals
- handle, restrain and care for animals undergoing treatment and surgery
- produce radiographs, collect samples and perform other laboratory tests to assist in diagnosis of animal health problems
- assist veterinarian with animals before, during and following surgery
- prepare surgical equipment, give and monitor anesthetics, and clean up after surgery
- prepare and give medications and vaccines under direction of veterinarian
- provide wound and bandage care
- do specialized procedures such as animal identification and hoof trimming
- talk to clients about animal health care including nutrition and home care
- do laboratory research
- do routine animal dental procedures, and help veterinarians with animal dentistry
- May do office management and clerical duties
Am I Suited For This Job?
Animal Health Technologists & Veterinary Technologists & Technicians should be:
- able to follow direction and conduct medical tests
- detail oriented and understanding of the importance of following procedures
- patient and compassionate
- you should have a love of animals
- have good computer skills
Animal Health Technologists & Veterinary Technologists & Technicians work indoors in veterinary clinics, which are often noisy. Emergency call-out work may sometimes be required.
Stress is often associated with treating abused animals or putting down animals. The work can also be physically demanding since you have to lift, hold or restrain animals, risking bites or scratches.
Sources: WorkBC and Career Cruising
What Are The Wages And Benefits?
WorkBC reports that the median annual salary for Animal Health Technologists & Veterinary Technicians in BC is $38,271 with a median hourly wage of $18.35.
In BC regions, you can expect to earn:
Source: Job Bank Canada Wage Reports
Many employers offer additional benefits, including health, dental, and disability insurance and continuing education.
Sources: WorkBC & Career Cruising
What Is The Job Outlook In BC?
There is high demand for animal health technologists and veterinary technicians in BC. Spending on veterinary services has doubled over the last 10 years due to the increasing number of pets in North America. Also, pet owners consider their pets to be a member of the family and are more willing to spend money for involved veterinary procedures to extend the life of their animals. Many new job openings will also come from the need to replace those who retire.
Recent outbreaks of diseases in farm animals are also increasing the demand for veterinary diagnostic services and the services of animal health and veterinary technologists and technicians
Job Outlook in BC
How Do I Become an Animal Health Technologist / Veterinary Technologist/Technician?
Completion of a two- or three-year veterinary or animal health technology diploma or a related program is required.
In BC, programs are offered by:
- Thompson Rivers University [veterinary technology and animal welfare programs, includes both on campus and distance education programs]
- Douglas College [veterinary technology program]
Registration / Certification:
Although registration as a Registered Veterinary Technologist is voluntary, it is often required by employers.
In B.C. registration as a Registered Veterinary Technologist (RVT) is provided by the BC Veterinary Technologists Association (BCVTA). Registration is available to animal health technologists and veterinary technologists/technicians who have completed an accredited training program and passed the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE).
For more information see:
- BC Veterinary Technologists Association BCVTA
- AASB Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) [American Assoc. of Veterinary State Boards]
Internationally Trained Animal Health Technologists & Veterinary Technologists & Technicians
BCVTA uses a third party, International Credential Assessment Service of Canada (ICAS) to evaluate Animal Health Technologists / Veterinary Technologists & Technicians trained outside of North America.
For more information, see ICAS:
Sources:WorkBC & BC Veterinary Technologists Association
How Do I Find A Job?
Where would I work?
- veterinary clinics
- animal hospitals
- animal shelters
- humane societies
- animal research laboratories
- pharmaceutical companies and government
Finding Advertised Jobs
Jobs are advertised in a variety of sources including newspapers, magazines and online job sites.
You can look at the Vancouver Sun & The Province at Vancouver Public Library for free. Check the job postings daily, the careers section in the Vancouver Sun on Wednesdays and Saturdays and, in The Province on Sundays.
Online Job Postings
Veterinary Technician jobs in British Columbia
Animal Health jobs in British Columbia
Finding “Hidden Jobs”
Many job vacancies are not advertised. The resources below will help you with finding jobs in this “hidden” job market.
Using Directories to Create a List of Potential Employers
You can use directories to produce lists of employers who are in this industry. Contact them directly to find out if they’re hiring.
- College of Veterinarians of British Columbia (CVBC)
[search for veterinary clinics and practices in BC]
- Reference Canada
Click on “Start Search” beside Canadian Businesses, then select the “Advanced Search” button.
Select both “Keyword/SIC/NAICS” under Business Type and “City” under Geography.
In the top search box enter “veterinary” and click SEARCH.
Select the appropriate headings.
Lower down, select the Province, choose the cities, and click the “View Results” button.
NOTE: You can access this database from a Library computer. If you are using a computer from outside the Library, you will need a Vancouver Public Library card to login to this database. After clicking on the database name, you will be asked to enter your library card number and PIN (usually last four digits of your telephone number).
Networking, Volunteering and Temporary Agencies
Many positions are filled by people who have been recommended by someone they know. Networking, working as a volunteer or registering with a temporary employment agency are good ways of helping you find jobs and meet people in your industry.
Networking and the Hidden Job Market:
When looking for work, be sure to talk to friends, relatives and neighbours. They may know someone who is hiring! Working as a volunteer, attending events, and joining clubs and associations are good ways to gain “Canadian experience.” They are also good ways to meet people to learn about the local job market.
Municipal Animal Shelters
You can also search for your local municipal animal shelter; contact them to see if they need volunteers. Go to: bc211 [try searching for ‘animal shelter’ or ‘animals’]
For additional tips see:
Applying for a Job
In Canada, employers usually expect to receive a resume and a cover letter that identifies the position you are applying for and summarizes your experience. Use the library catalogue to find books on writing resumes and cover letters specific to your industry.
For more information see:
Where Can This Job Lead?
With experience, veterinary and animal health technologists and technicians may progress to supervisory positions.
Where Can I Find More Information?
Associations for animal and veterinary technicians and technologists in BC and Canada can provide information and assistance. Registration and fees are required for membership.