Alternative Careers for Veterinarian Technician

Veterinary technicians have several alternative career options that are closely related to the job duties in their current position. Explore some of these careers and learn about their expected job growth rates and education requirements.

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Alternative Career Options for Veterinary Technicians

Veterinary technicians are trained to perform a variety of laboratory tests and handle and care for animals. Many of these skills are easily transferrable to several other careers in different fields. Here we discuss a handful of the possible alternative career options for veterinary technicians.

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Animal Care and Service Workers $22,230 11%
Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technicians $38,950 18%
Biological Technicians $42,520 5%
Veterinarians $88,770 9%
Nursing Assistants $26,590 18%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Career Information for Alternative Careers for Veterinary Technicians

Animal Care and Service Workers

Animal care and service workers perform many of the same basic care activities for animals that veterinary technicians do, including feeding, bathing and exercising animals. The animal care and service field includes several different job titles, such as groomers, animal trainers, kennel attendants and pet sitters. Animal care and service workers also clean animals' living spaces and monitor animals for any problems or injuries. Most of these workers just need a high school diploma and experience with animals and then learn the necessary skills on the job.

Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technicians

On the opposite side of animal care and service workers, medical and clinical laboratory technicians perform some of the same laboratory procedures as veterinary technicians, but with human samples. They collect and analyze samples of blood, tissue and other body fluids for complications or abnormalities. They are trained to use high-tech laboratory equipment, must keep excellent records of their procedures and findings and discuss those findings with doctors. Medical and clinical laboratory technicians need an associate's degree or postsecondary certificate, and some may be required to obtain a license.

Biological Technicians

Biological technicians also work in a lab and perform similar lab tasks as veterinary technicians while they assist biological and medical scientists. These technicians prepare lab equipment and biological samples, help run various experiments and tests and record their work and findings in detail. Once they have analyzed their findings, biological technicians present their findings in reports. They need at least a bachelor's degree and experience working in a laboratory.


For veterinary technicians wishing to go back to school for advanced studies, they may consider pursuing training as a veterinarian. Veterinarians oversee the work of veterinary technologists and technicians and examine various kinds of animals, such as dogs, cats, livestock or exotic animals, for signs of illness or injury. Veterinarians also perform surgeries on animals, administer vaccinations, prescribe medication and euthanize animals if needed. Veterinarians must obtain a license and earn a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree.

Nursing Assistants

Like veterinary technicians, nursing assistants provide basic care for their patients, but their patients are humans instead of animals. Nursing assistants may work in hospitals or long-term living facilities and help feed and bathe patients. They also monitor patients' vital signs, help them perform other daily tasks and help answer any questions or concerns the patient may have. Nursing assistants need to pass their state-specific competency exam after finishing an approved education program in the field.

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