December 16, 2003
Veterinary technicians are often called animal nurses because they care for animal patients the way nurses care for humans.
But veterinary technicians’ responsibilities extend beyond nursing, combining duties of many human healthcare jobs. In addition to providing general nursing, technicians help to administer and monitor anesthesia just as surgical nurses do, take x rays and sonograms like radiologic technicians, clean teeth like dental technicians, provide rehabilitation like physical therapy aides, monitor surgical equipment like surgical technicians, and conduct laboratory tests like clinical laboratory technicians.
Veterinary technicians, sometimes called veterinary technologists, work as part of a healthcare team. They are supervised by veterinarians, who diagnose disease and injury, prescribe treatments, and perform surgery on animals. Technicians also work with veterinary assistants, who groom and comfort animals, clean cages, and do other nonmedical work.
Veterinary technicians and technologists had median hourly earnings of $10.78 in 2001. That means that 50 percent of those workers earned more than that amount, and 50 percent earned less. The highest paid 10 percent were paid more than $15.97 an hour. The lowest paid 10 percent earned $7.65.
These data are from the Occupational Employment Statistics program. For more information, see "Veterinary technicians: Nursing animals to health" by Henry Kasper and Olivia Crosby, Occupational Outlook Quarterly, Fall 2003. Note about the chart: deciles divide the dataset into 10 equal-size groups and quartiles divide the dataset into 4 equal-size groups.