Veterinary Nurses vs. Vet Technicians: What's the Difference?

Published on Aug 31, 2022 12:00 AM
Veterinary Nurses vs. Vet Technicians: What's the Difference?

There was a time when veterinary medicine was not versatile. Today, veterinary studies are on the rise, and this field is expanding rapidly. Unlike the past, now there are numerous veterinary-related careers available. In addition, animal healthcare is becoming increasingly inevitable.

Are you considering a career in veterinary medicine? The good news is that your options are not limited to veterinary doctors. Keep reading this comprehensive guide on vet nurse vs vet tech. It would help you choose your career between as Veterinary Technician or Veterinary Nurse as per your interest.

Vet Nurses and Vet Tech are relatively new positions in the veterinary world. Here, we will be discussing these two professions in detail.

What to Know: Vet Nurse Vs Vet Tech

Veterinary technicians and veterinary nurses both assist the doctors. However, the two differ in terms of educational requirements and job specifications. Veterinary nurses may or may not be required to pass any specific examinations. On the other hand, veterinary technicians are qualified and licensed professionals in animal health. A Vet Tech's education is similar to that of a Vet tech Nurse, but with a more theoretical and research-based focus rather than a clinical focus. Furthermore, Vet Technicians can pursue various interests, such as diagnostics, zoos, poultry, cattle, or horse farms.

Here, are some important factors regarding vet tech vs vet nurse to make up your mind to pursue your desired career.

Requirements: Veterinary Nurse Vs Vet Tech

Regarding vet tech vs vet nurse, The requirements for becoming one of these professionals vary according to specialty and state. In addition, several regional laws define the scope of practice in this field. For example, in New Jersey, veterinary nurses and vet techs are not required to be professionally credentialed. However, other states, such as Indiana and Tennessee, require them to be registered or licensed.

States that require professional certification, licensure, or registration have specific requirements. For example, it typically includes two to four years of postsecondary education at approved institutions. In addition, continuing education (CE) hours are essential to maintain the credential.

What do Vet Nurses do?

Vet tech nurse is a healthcare professional who works alongside veterinarians to provide medical care to animals. They work in veterinary offices alongside other veterinary personnel, such as technicians and administrative assistants. A vet nurse's job duties may include:

  • Assisting a veterinarian during surgery
  • Providing physical therapy to animals
  • Administering medication
  • Analyzing laboratory specimens for diagnosis.

What do Vet Techs do?

Animal care professionals are known as veterinary technicians. They work under a veterinarian's supervision and perform various medical tasks. 
However, you should learn about the duties about complete duties of a vet tech that may include:

  • Preparing animals for surgery
  • Monitoring them after surgery
  • Administering medication
  • Providing owners with care instructions
  • Assume supervisory and management roles within a hospital
  • Working in a research facility

Possible Career Opportunities

If you intend to pursue these careers, you should conduct a thorough research on vet nurse vs vet tech. Thus, you will get to know what these professions have in store for you in the future. Technicians and nurses primarily assist veterinarians, so they can work in various veterinary-related establishments.

You may work full-time, but part-time work is also available depending on the organization. Vet techs and nurses must stay overnight in emergency and critical care to look after animals and monitor their condition. Therefore, as a Vet tech or nurse, you must be physically fit to perform exhausting shifts. You may have to lift, lead, and hold animals of varying sizes for exams.
In the future, you can work at:

  • Private clinics
  • Labs
  • Animal hospitals
  • Animal shelters
  • Zoos
  • Farms
  • Wildlife conservancies
  • Research centers
  • Food safety inspection companies
  • Veterinary supply stores

Pros and Cons of Being a Veterinary Technician or Vet Nurse

Veterinary Nurses vs. Vet Technicians What's the Difference

There are some pros and cons to being vet tech or a vet nurse. These are as follows.


•  Helping Animals:

One of the biggest pros of being a vet nurse or vet tech is the satisfaction of helping animals in need.

•  Job Growth and Stability:

The demand for vet techs and vet nurses is expected to grow in the coming years, providing job security and opportunities for career advancement.

•  Diverse Work Environment: 

Vet techs, as well as vet nurses, can offer a diverse and dynamic work environment, with the opportunity to work in a variety of settings.

•  Opportunity to Develop Valuable Skills: 

Both types of professionals develop a wide range of skills, from animal handling and restraint to anesthesia administration and surgical assistance. 


The cons for being a veterinary nurse or vet tech are as follows.

•  Emotional Toll: 

Working with animals who are ill or injured can be emotionally challenging; therefore, veterinary nurses and technicians may experience compassion fatigue.

•  Physical Demands: 

Job of veterinary technician and nurses can be physically demanding, requiring long periods of standing, lifting, and restraining animals.

•  Irregular Hours: 

Vet nurses and vet techs often involves working weekends, evenings, and holidays. This can be difficult for those who prefer a traditional 9-5 schedule.

•  Vet Nurse vs Vet Tech Salary

In US, with a median annual wage of around $36,000 to $38,000, veterinary nurses and vet technicians earn almost similar salaries. 

However, wages can vary depending on factors such as location, experience, and type of employer. 

Final Words

To summarize, the insights on vet nurse vs vet tech states that both type of professionals primarily help veterinarians. The title may change depending on some key factors, such as vet nurse vs vet tech salary, pros and cons of being a veterinary technician or vet nurse, the qualifications and job description. If you are looking for work in these fields, Vet and Tech can help. You can learn more through our CE courses as well as look for your dream job here. To use these services, go to our home page.

Frequently Asked Questions

veterinary technician and veterinary nurse at a veterinary clinic

What Does a Vet Technician do?

Preparing and monitoring for surgery, administering medication, counseling pet owners, supervising and managing veterinary hospitals, or working in research-based facilities are some tasks that a vet technician may perform.

What is a Vet Technician?

The veterinary professionals study and take the board exams to be registered, veterinary technicians. They are qualified to work as veterinary professionals in clinics, hospitals, labs, and other animal-related facilities.

How to Become a Vet Technician?

Most states require professional certification, licensure, or registration to become Vet Tech. For example, it typically includes two to four years of postsecondary education and continuing education (CE) hours.

How to Become a Veterinary Nurse?

Veterinary nurses may or may not be required to pass any specific examinations. Vet nurse education has a rather clinical focus. They study to assist veterinarians in veterinary clinics.

What is a Veterinary Nurse?

Vet nurses are healthcare professionals who provide medical care to animals alongside veterinarians. They work in veterinary clinics and perform various medical tasks to ensure the health of animals.

Can a Veterinary Nurse Become a Vet?

Veterinary nurses will have to continue their education and obtain a veterinarian's license to become a veterinarian. Changing careers would require four more years of study but comes with the advantage of a higher salary.

What Tasks Do Veterinary Nurses Perform?

Veterinary nurses provide dental care, emergency or critical care, perform tests, administer anesthesia or analgesia, assist veterinarians with exams and post-operative care, and educate pet owners about pet care, such as bathing, grooming, and applying topical treatments.