The Veterinary Career Path
Veterinary assistants, technicians and technologists ensure that animals remain happy and healthy, and help diagnose and treat their medical conditions. They get the opportunity to work closely with their furry and feathered patients in a role that typically requires a shorter and smaller educational investment than does attending a traditional veterinary school. Even for those considering becoming veterinarians, first pursuing a position as a veterinary assistant or technician can help ensure the veterinary field is the right fit, and provide exposure to specializations like veterinary radiology, pet psychology, vet dentistry, animal nutrition, and even exotic animals.
While educational requirements for any role in veterinary medicine may vary, a good general rule of thumb is that an aspiring veterinary assistant will typically pursue an undergraduate diploma or certificate, while, according to the National Association of Veterinary Technicians of America (NAVTA), an aspiring veterinary technician will pursue an associate of science (A.S.) or associate of applied science (A.A.S.), and a veterinary technologist will pursue a bachelor of science degree (B.S.). Indeed, the difference in educational attainment is often the key qualification separating the technologist from the technician. It is important to ensure that a program at any level is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) prior to enrollment. Some states also require licensure.