Animal Health Technologists and Veterinary Technicians

(NOC 3213)

in All Health

Animal health technologists and veterinary technicians provide technical support to veterinarians by caring for animals and help diagnose and treat animal health disorders. They work for veterinary clinics, animal hospitals, animal shelters, humane societies, zoos, animal research laboratories, pharmaceutical companies, and government. Animal health technologists and veterinary technicians who are supervisors are included in this group.

Job Outlook

Average

Read more

  • Estimate Decline slightly employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 5 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate Moderate rate of unemployment in 2019

Compared to: All Health

  • Estimate 705 employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 3180 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate rate of unemployment not available for these occupation.

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “average”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is comparable to the average for all occupations in Nova Scotia. This is a moderate sized occupation in Nova Scotia so some job opportunities may occur through turnover. The number employed in this occupation is expected to decline slightly over the next few years, which may affect the number of new opportunities available. With a small percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are not expected to be a major contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Animal Health Technologists and Veterinary Technicians most commonly work full-time hours.

The median employment income for 58% of Animal Health Technologists and Veterinary Technicians who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $33,448. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

Hourly Pay

$12.95

Minimum

$16.00

Median

$20.88

Maximum

Annual Pay

$8,586

Minimum

$27,196

Median

$42,829

Maximum

Compared to: All Health

Hourly Pay

$16.38

Minimum

$30.45

Median

$41.35

Maximum

Annual Pay

$10,740

Minimum

$43,853

Median

$88,944

Maximum

About the job

Nature of work

Animal health technologists and veterinary technicians provide technical support to veterinarians by caring for animals and help diagnose and treat animal health disorders. They work for veterinary clinics, animal hospitals, animal shelters, humane societies, zoos, animal research laboratories, pharmaceutical companies, and government. Animal health technologists and veterinary technicians who are supervisors are included in this group.

Job duties

Animal health technologists and veterinary technicians:

  • Provide nursing care and rehabilitation therapy for animals.
  • Handle, restrain, and care for animals undergoing treatment and surgery.
  • Produce radiographs, collect, and analyze samples and do other laboratory tests to assist in diagnosis of animal health problems.
  • Help veterinarian with animals before, during and following surgery by preparing surgical equipment, administering, and monitoring anesthetics and cleaning up after surgery.
  • Prepare and administer medications and vaccines under direction of a veterinarian.
  • Administer treatments as prescribed by a veterinarian.
  • Provide wound and bandage care.
  • Carry out specialized procedures like animal identification and hoof trimming.
  • Educate and advise clients on animal health care including nutrition and home care.
  • Help in laboratory research.
  • Do routine animal dental procedures and assist veterinarians with animal dentistry.
  • May do a variety of office management and clerical duties.

Sample job titles

  • animal care technician
  • animal health technician - agriculture
  • animal health technologist
  • animal operating room attendant
  • laboratory animal technician
  • registered animal health technologist (RAHT)
  • registered veterinary technician (RVT)
  • veterinarian assistant
  • veterinary laboratory technician
  • veterinary technologist

Skills

You should have an interest in medicine and health as well as in animals. Manual dexterity and good coordination are necessary. You should be able to handle and restrain animals that may be distressed or in pain. If you work in a veterinary practice, you will require good interpersonal and communication skills to deal with pet owners.

Job requirements

  • A two- or three-year animal health/veterinary technology college program is required.
  • Successful completion of a national registration examination may be required in some employment settings.
  • Registration with provincial animal health technologists' or veterinary technicians' associations is available, and is mandatory in some provinces.

Other considerations

While most people in these jobs are employed full-time, part-time and casual work arrangements are common. With experience, animal health technologists and veterinary technicians may progress to supervisory positions.

By the numbers

Quick look

530

employed in 2016

77.4%

employed full-time

1.9%

self employed

95.3%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
4.7%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
31.1

median age

Compared to: All Health

36,515

employed in 2016

75.7%

employed full-time

9.6%

self employed

83.6%
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16.4%
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43.5

median age

Where will I likely work?

55.2%

Halifax

16.2%

Annapolis Valley

12.4%

North Shore

9.5%

Southern

6.7%

Cape Breton

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

North Shore

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

90.5%

Professional, scientific and technical services

4.2%

Educational services

3.2%

Other services (except public administration)

2.1%

Health care and social assistance

What is the age of Employment?

44.0%

25-34

25.0%

35-44

19.0%

15-24

10.0%

45-54

2.0%

65+

Compared to: All Health

24.0%

25-34

23.9%

45-54

21.9%

35-44

18.4%

55-64

7.7%

15-24

Top levels of education

59.4%

College Diploma

$28,283 median annual income
18.9%

Bachelor

$25,907 median annual income
9.4%

Diploma Below Bachelor

$15,847 median annual income
5.7%

High school

N/A
3.8%

Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary, Optometry

N/A

Compared to: All Health

38.4%

College Diploma

$40,033 median annual income
27.1%

Bachelor

$61,668 median annual income
8.7%

Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary, Optometry

$81,191 median annual income
6.8%

High school

$24,829 median annual income
5.1%

Master

$69,296 median annual income

Education & training

Animal Behaviour and Ethology

College or University Program

These programs focus on the scientific study of the psychological and neurological bases of animal sensation, perception, cognition, behaviour, and behavioural interactions within and outside the species. They include courses in ethology, behavioural neuroscience, neurobiology, behavioural evolution, cognition and sensory perception, motivators, learning and instinct, hormonal controls, reproductive and developmental biology, community ecology, functional behaviour, and applications to specific behaviours and patterns as well as to specific phyla and species.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University

Halifax, NS

Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture

Truro, NS

Animal Sciences

College or University Program

These programs focus on the scientific principles that underlie the breeding and husbandry of agricultural animals, and the production, processing, and distribution of agricultural animal products. They include courses in the animal sciences, animal husbandry and production, and agricultural and food products processing.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture

Truro, NS

Preveterinary Studies

College or University Program

This includes any program that prepares students for admission to a first-professional program in veterinary medicine.

Institutions providing this program

Universite Sainte-Anne

Pointe-de-l'Église, NS

Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture

Truro, NS

Veterinary Sciences/Veterinary Clinical Sciences (Cert., MSc, PhD)

University Program

This includes any integrated program of study in one or more of the veterinary medical or clinical sciences or a program undifferentiated as to title.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture

Truro, NS

Veterinary/Animal Health Technician and Vterinary Assistant

College or Trades Program

These programs prepare students, under the supervision of veterinarians, laboratory animal specialists, and zoological professionals, to provide patient management, care, and clinical procedures assistance as well as owner communication. They include courses in animal nursing care, animal health and nutrition, animal handling, clinical pathology, radiology, anesthesiology, dental prophylaxis, surgical assisting, clinical laboratory procedures, office administration skills, patient and owner management, and applicable standards and regulations.

Institutions providing this program

Maritime Business College

Lower Sackville, NS

Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture

Truro, NS

Employment requirements & contacts

Regulations

Veterinary Technologist or Technician

Right to Title: This job is regulated in Nova Scotia. The job title is protected, and you may not use it without a professional designation. Professional designation shows that the holder has met provincial standards for the job. Employers may require professional designation, but professional designation is not necessary to do this work.

Regulating body:
Nova Scotia Veterinary Medical Association
15 Cobequid Road
Lower Sackville, NS B4C 2M9
(902) 865-1876
(902) 865-2001

Contacts

Canadian Veterinary Medical Association
Ottawa, ON

Additional resources

There are no additional resources for this occupation.