Difference Between Certified & Registered Veterinary Technician

The positions of certified and registered veterinary technicians are very similar. Whether someone becomes one or the other can depend on state requirements. Find out more about these pet-centered careers.

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Comparing Certified and Registered Veterinary Technicians

Certified and registered veterinary technicians have very similar positions, and sometimes state requirements determine whether a veterinary technician becomes certified or registered. The tasks they perform are very similar, but there are some minor differences. Learn more below about what separates these very closely related jobs.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Certified Veterinary Technician Associate's degree $32,490 (for all veterinary technologists and technicians) 19% (for all veterinary technologists and technicians)
Registered Veterinary Technician Associate's degree $32,490 (for all veterinary technologists and technicians) 19% (for all veterinary technologists and technicians)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Responsibilities of Certified vs. Registered Veterinary Technicians

Certified and registered veterinary technicians perform very similar tasks. In fact, they may sometimes perform the same job functions, depending on the needs of the clinic where they work or the requirements of the state in which they live. However, certified veterinary technicians may do more clerical work than registered veterinary technicians. Both technicians tend to work in veterinary clinics or hospitals during regular business hours, although some positions may require working late and on weekends.

Certified Veterinary Technician

Certified veterinary technicians work under the supervision of a veterinarian. They help with many procedures and tasks in veterinary clinics or hospitals. These technicians assist patients and their owners with entering exam rooms. They also help the veterinarian restrain pets, usually not allowing pet owners to assist without veterinarian permission. These professionals may also perform minor laboratory tests, like urinalysis or heartworm tests. Certified veterinarian technicians are at a higher risk of illness or injury than workers at most jobs.

Job responsibilities of a Certified Veterinary Technician include:

  • Stocking operating rooms
  • Preparing animals to undergo surgery
  • Recording all pet information at the beginning of visits
  • Cleaning used surgical items
  • Labeling radiographs

Registered Veterinary Technician

Usually under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian, registered veterinary technicians help examine pets that are brought into hospitals or clinics. They can detect sickness symptoms in pets as well as monitor them to make sure they are healthy or recovering properly. These technicians may need to have good interpersonal communication skills in order to properly communicate with patients and coworkers. They also often need to be able to perform their tasks well when under pressure. Like certified veterinary technicians, registered technicians are at a higher risk of illness or injury at their jobs, and they may need to work on holidays or be on call.

Job responsibilities of a Registered Veterinary Technician include:

  • Restraining animals of different sizes
  • Performing duties with little to no supervision, at times
  • Maintaining a professional demeanor
  • Keeping up with the latest licenses and training
  • Reading and implementing instructions

Related Careers

Anyone who likes what a certified veterinary technician does might also like what a pet groomer does, since both work with pets and owners. Someone interested in becoming a registered veterinary technician might also think about becoming an animal trainer, as both careers involve interacting with animals.

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