Vet Tech vs. Veterinarian – The Differences

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Explore the vital differences between vet tech vs. veterinarian roles. Discover their unique responsibilities and career paths.

The work between a veterinary doctor and a veterinary technician is built upon mutual trust, understanding, and collaboration. But when it comes to vet tech vs. veterinarian – what are the differences? in order to provide first-class medical care for the furry patients inside the veterinary clinic.

Acquiring a doctor’s degree in the field of veterinary medicine requires far more time spent studying and practicing for the job, and that’s why vet technicians must work under strict supervision by one.

vet tech vs. veterinarian

The higher educational status of veterinary doctors drags bigger responsibilities. Thus giving a chance for the individual to earn more money, rather than being a technician.

This doesn’t mean that a technician isn’t well educated. On the contrary, degrees and state exams for vet technicians are required by people who want this job. Together, they should make one valuable and trustworthy medical team that will produce a convenient daily animal practice.

Educational Requirements for Vet Tech vs. Veterinarian

Vet vs. Vet Tech

Becoming a veterinary technician requires going through a post-secondary or post-high-school, two-year, or four-year program. Successfully completing the program provides the student with an associate’s degree. On the other hand, becoming a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine is a bit longer process.

After completing the initial pre-medical bachelor’s degree, an additional four years of facultative work are needed in order to become a veterinarian. If a vet technician is eager to increase their paycheck and responsibilities, one option is becoming a vet technologist. This requires a complete four-year program.

The Difference Between Vet Tech and Veterinarian Responsibilities

So, what is the difference between a vet and a vet tech? The occupational responsibilities vary among a veterinarian vs. vet techs. While a veterinarian can perform everything a technician does, it’s not the same the other way around.

Exactly what a technician cannot do is perform surgery, prescribe medications, and diagnose, but can assist in diagnosing along with a doctor.

vet tech and a vet in surgery

Their variety of tasks includes preparing equipment for surgical procedures, collecting specimens, taking X-rays, administering medications prescribed by a doctor, and organizing and keeping patient records.

In cases of emergency, a veterinary technician can perform first aid. Besides surgery, treatment, diagnosing and prescribing, veterinarians are also responsible for putting terminal clinical cases to sleep.

How to Become a Veterinary Doctor or a Veterinary Technician

The associate’s degree for vet technicians is a certified and valid document that you can work with in the field. Prior to working, the technician needs to pass a credentialing exam and get a proper license. The regulations for the exam are not the same in every state.

vet tech holding a dog, while the vet examines an ear

However, in most of them, the VTNE (Veterinary Technician National Exam) is used. Prepared by the AAVSB (American Association of Veterinary State Board) exclusively, this exam consists of 200 multiple choice questions. You will find topics such as animal nursing, anesthesia, laboratory procedures, dentistry procedures, etc.

a vet giving a grey and white cat an injection, while the vet tech is holding it

The legislative, after finishing the studies, is somewhat similar for the veterinarians as well. After taking a state exam (NAVLE – North American Veterinary Licensing Examination) and passing it you become a licensed vet. We need to point out that a veterinarian must be a person of good morale and character, and be at least 21 years of age.


While the work process might seem the same, the biggest difference is that the vet technicians do more of the physical work in the clinic, while the doctors make the crucial decisions and spend a lot more mental energy. Both professions are equally valuable and equally stressful.

Making the right choice about whether to go to a vet or vet technician schooling program should be based on the amount of time and money you have at the time and the type of character that you have.

With a technician degree you will earn a lot less than being a doctor. However, you won’t put yourself under stress with huge student loans and time spent while studying. On the flip side, if you are a persistent and patient character, then walk the extra mile, and you won’t regret it!

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