Kennel Tech Vs. Vet Tech: What's the Difference?

Kennel techs and vet techs have both dedicated their careers to working with animals. However, there are a number of differences in their job duties, as well as the level of education needed for their positions.

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When considering kennel tech and vet careers, it is important to consider job duties, educational requirements and salary information.

How Kennel Techs and Vet Techs Differ

Both kennel technicians and veterinary technicians must be comfortable with pets in addition to understanding how to make animals comfortable while working with them. Beyond that, there are many differences in their careers, from education and where they work to how much money they can make.

Kennel Tech Overview

Kennels offer pet sitting, grooming, feeding and other services for pet owners. Kennel technicians generally are responsible for both administrative duties and working with pets. These include:

  • Administering medication
  • Cleaning and grooming pets
  • Walking pets
  • Providing exercise opportunities
  • Sanitizing kennels
  • Providing overall maintenance of the kennel and its surrounding property

In general, there are no minimum education requirements for kennel techs, but those aspiring to the position might benefit from courses in basic pet care. Also, kennel techs typically need to meet some physical requirements, such as the ability to lift and carry at least 50 pounds.

Vet Tech Overview

Vet techs work under licensed veterinarians in private practices or at community animal health centers. Their duties generally include:

  • Administering medication to animals
  • Preparing lab samples
  • Recording animals' health statistics
  • Conducting laboratory tests

Vet techs need a minimum of an associate's degree in veterinary science from a program accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association. Some aspiring vet techs go on to earn a bachelor's degree in the field. Topics of study within these educational programs can include:

  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Microbiology
  • Small animal nursing
  • Large animal nursing
  • Diagnostic imaging
  • Anesthesia
  • Animal disease

Salary and Career Information

Positions for kennel techs might be part- or full-time, and workdays generally are separated into AM and PM shifts. As of March 2017, dog kennel assistants made a median hourly wage of $9.59, according to PayScale.com.

Before beginning work, vet techs must become state licensed, certified or registered by passing a credentialing exam, often the Veterinary Technician National Examination. The median hourly wage of veterinary technicians was $13.98 in March 2017, according to PayScale.com.

While kennel techs provide general pet services, vet techs work in veterinary practices and provide medical care, so they must have more formal education and licensure, which raises their salary prospects.

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