what are the differences between vet techs and vet assistants

What are the differences between Vet Techs and Vet Assistants?

If you are an animal lover, a career that involves working with animals is probably your ultimate dream job. The question that you may be asking yourself when deciding on pursuing your dream career in animal care is most likely, “what is the best career path to take?” There are many different career opportunities to choose from when it comes to working with animals, therefore it can be tough to narrow down which one is best for you. For example, the fur-loving folks who work in veterinary practices can have very different job responsibilities. Two such roles are that of the Veterinary Technician (Vet Tech), and the Veterinary Assistant (Vet Assistant). Both involve providing comfort to the creatures we love, but in reality, there are distinct differences between their job descriptions. Let’s break it down.

What does a Vet Assistant do?

Vet Assistants are often the first line of contact with pet owners and pets and play a very important role in any veterinary practice. Typical duties of a Vet Assistant include:

  • Greeting, checking in and taking patient histories
  • Cleaning cages, kennels, examining and operating rooms
  • Sterilizing surgical equipment and instruments
  • Lab protocols
  • Feeding and caring for animals
  • Assisting with animal restraint for blood draws, ear cleaning and rectal exams
  • Preparing animals for surgery
  • Communicating with and educating pet owners on vaccines and other preventive measures
  • Clerical duties including filing patient records, fielding incoming patient inquiries, appointment scheduling and faxing records

What does a Vet Tech do?

In a nutshell, a Vet Tech will often do all of the above tasks, but are also trained to perform more clinical and technical tasks such as:

  • Intravenous catheter placement
  • Preparing and administering vaccines and medications
  • Grooming including nail trims, ear cleaning, anal glad expression, etc.
  • Processing radiographs
  • Assisting in surgery and monitoring anesthesia
  • Performing dental cleanings
  • Applying bandages and splints
  • Providing specialized nursing care for sick and injured animals

In addition to the responsibility differences, one of the primary differences between a Vet Assistant and Vet Tech, is the amount of education and training required. Most Vet Tech programs take at least 2 years to complete, while a Vet Assistant program can be completed in less than 1 year. For those who wish to get into the veterinary field faster, the Vet Assistant program can, not only be the perfect path to jump starting your career, it can also be a launchpad for expanding your options in the future.

Whatever road to a lifetime of helping the world’s furry friends you decide to take, pursing your passion in a career where you get to make a difference in the lives of animals is rewarding. If you’re considering a career as a Veterinary Assistant, check out the 10-month program at Caris College. Contact us today to schedule a tour of our campus to experience the fully equipped clinical labs where your hands on training in Veterinary Assisting starts. Or if your ready to take the journey towards a career in animal care now, you can start the process by completing the online application and one of our admissions representatives will reach out to you.