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Animal Health Technologists and Veterinary Technicians

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NOC:3213
Occupation:Animal Health Technologists and Veterinary Technicians
Category:Health

About the job

Nature of work:

Animal health technologists and veterinary technicians provide technical support to veterinarians by caring for animals and assisting in the diagnosis and treatment of animal health disorders. They are employed in 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 perform some or all of the following duties:
  • 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 perform other laboratory tests to assist in diagnosis of animal health problems.
  • Assist 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.
  • Conduct specialized procedures such as animal identification and hoof trimming.
  • Educate and advise clients on animal health care including nutrition and home care.
  • Assist in laboratory research.
  • Perform routine animal dental procedures and assist veterinarians with animal dentistry.
  • May perform 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:
  • Completion of 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:

Although the majority of 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.

Labour Market Information

Work Prospects:Good

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “good”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is better than average when compared to other 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 grow significantly over the next few years, which will provide additional opportunities for employment. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Animal Health Technologists and Veterinary Technicians most commonly work full-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs are typically permanent positions.

The median employment income for 62% 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)

OccupationEstimated employment in 2018Estimated change in employment between 2017 and 2019Estimated openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019Estimated rate of unemployment in 2018 Estimated hourly earnings in 2015 (learn more)Estimated annual earnings in 2015
Animal Health Technologists and Veterinary Technicians485Strong growth65Low
Minimum: $12.50
Median: $15.00
Maximum: $21.75
Minimum: $8,586
Median: $27,196
Maximum: $42,829
Occupations in Health36,515Strong growth4,385Low
Minimum: $16.38
Median: $25.50
Maximum: $41.00
Minimum: $10,740
Median: $43,853
Maximum: $88,944
Animal Health Technologists and Veterinary TechniciansCompared to: Occupations in Health
Percent employed full-time83%77%
Percent self-employed2%10%
Where will I likely work?
Area of EmploymentAnimal Health Technologists and Veterinary TechniciansCompared to: All NS Occupations
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Southern9%x12%$30,581
Northern12%x16%$33,660
Cape Breton7%x13%$32,974
Halifax55%$21,00247%$41,209
Annapolis Valley16%x13%$32,958
What are the workers like?
AgeAnimal Health Technologists and Veterinary TechniciansCompared to: All Health
% Employed% Employed
15-2428%1%
25-3440%15%
35-4420%28%
45-545%31%
55-648%20%
65+N/A5%
Median Age3144
GenderAnimal Health Technologists and Veterinary TechniciansCompared to: Occupations in Health
% Employed% Employed
Female95%84%
Male5%16%
EducationAnimal Health Technologists and Veterinary TechniciansCompared to: All Health
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Less than high schoolN/Ax1.1%$27,581
High school5.9%$28,1086.9%$24,119
Trades certificate2.0%$47,1585.0%$31,728
College certificate or diploma60.4%$45,08239.4%$36,693
University certificate or diploma10.9%$39,7374.8%$50,769
Bachelor's degree16.8%$35,32527.6%$57,186
University advanced certificate or diploma2.0%x2.3%$61,833
Master's degree3.0%x5.1%$87,808
DoctorateN/Ax0.7%$70,843
Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometryN/Ax7.2%$83,000
Total100%100%
Wage Disclaimer

Hourly earnings data are from the Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada. Data are not available for all occupations. Hourly earnings are calculated based on usual hours worked per week. This is how an annual salary, for instance, gets converted to an hourly rate. The data include full and part-time workers along with new and experienced workers. Self-employed workers are excluded.

Annual employment income data reported in the Work Prospects section, are from the 2011 National Household Survey by Statistics Canada. Much of the data (around 70%) came directly from tax records. The data relates to the year 2010 and includes total wages and salaries and net income from self-employment.

Sources

Employment Requirements & Contacts

Regulations:
Veterinary Technologist or Technician
Right to Title:This job is regulated in Nova Scotia. The job title is protected (you may not use this job title without a professional designation). Professional designation shows that the holder has met provincial requirements for the job. Employers may require professional designation, however, you do not need professional designation to legally work in this job.
Regulating body:
Nova Scotia Veterinary Medical Association
15 Cobequid Road
Lower Sackville, NS B4C 2M9
(902) 865-1876
(902) 865-2001
info@nsvma.ca 
Useful contacts:
Canadian Veterinary Medical Association
339 Booth Street
Ottawa, ON K1R 7K1
Tel: (613) 236-1162
Fax: (613) 236-9681
admin@cvma-acmv.org

Training Paths & Education

Program Name:Animal behaviour and ethology
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the college or university level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that focuses on the scientific study of the psychological and neurological bases of animal sensation, perception, cognition, behaviour, and behavioural interactions within and outside the species. These programs 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.
See all institutions providing this program+
Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture
PO Box 550
Truro, NS B2N 5E3
(902) 893-6600
enrolment.services@dal.ca
Program Name:Animal sciences - General
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the college or university level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any general program that focuses on the scientific principles that underlie the breeding and husbandry of agricultural animals, and the production, processing, and distribution of agricultural animal products. These programs include courses in the animal sciences, animal husbandry and production, and agricultural and food products processing.
See all institutions providing this program+
Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture
PO Box 550
Truro, NS B2N 5E3
(902) 893-6600
enrolment.services@dal.ca
Program Name:Preveterinary studies
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the college or university level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals for admission to a first-professional program in veterinary medicine.
See all institutions providing this program+
Universite Sainte-Anne
Siège Social: 1695, Route 1
Pointe-de-l'Église, NS B0W 1M0
(902) 769-2114
Blanche.Theriault@usainteanne.ca
Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture
PO Box 550
Truro, NS B2N 5E3
(902) 893-6600
enrolment.services@dal.ca
Program Name:Veterinary sciences/veterinary clinical sciences (Cert., MSc, PhD) - General
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the university graduate level (Masters, PhD)
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any integrated program of study in one or more of the veterinary medical or clinical sciences or a program undifferentiated as to title.
See all institutions providing this program+
Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture
PO Box 550
Truro, NS B2N 5E3
(902) 893-6600
enrolment.services@dal.ca
Program Name:Veterinary/animal health technology/technician and veterinary assistant
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the trades/college level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals, 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. These programs 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.
See all institutions providing this program+
Maritime Business College - Dartmouth
45 Ochterloney Street, Suite 100
Dartmouth, NS B2Y 2N6
(902) 463-6700
admissions@maritimebusinesscollege.ca
DaVinci College of Art and Design NS Ltd.
1577 Barrington Street
Halifax, NS B3J 1Z7
(902) 429-1847
Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture
PO Box 550
Truro, NS B2N 5E3
(902) 893-6600
enrolment.services@dal.ca
Additional resources: