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What is the difference if any between vet tech and vet assistant?

September 22nd, 2006, 01:57 PM
There is a job posting for a vet assistant and I would like to know the difference between tech and assistant, such as educational requirements and job descriptions.

Who knows! Maybe a career change??

September 22nd, 2006, 09:42 PM
In my experience, vet techs have a three year college diploma. While vet asst. (which I have worked as) usually either are trained at the clinic or have a one year animal care college diploma.

When I worked as a vet assistant, I got great opportunities and learned a lot. I assisted in surgeries, ran bloodwork, ran fecel tests, restrained animals and generally gained a lot of great experience. But in my area requirements basically came down to having knowledge of animals and being comfortable around them.

I enjoyed it so much I am enrolling in vet school.

Anyways, if you decide to apply, good luck! Its a great opportunity :thumbs up

September 22nd, 2006, 09:45 PM
I thought it was the opposite... I guess it depends where you are and what programs are around... I was a vet assistant and I had no schooling for it...:o Here, we have a 3 year Animal Health Technician diploma, and them plus the ones who graduate with a BSc in Animal Science handle most of the vet tech work.:shrug:

September 22nd, 2006, 10:05 PM
Prin, am I confused or does your post say the same thing as list's?

You said it's the opposite where you are, but when I read both of your posts they looked like they said the exact same thing.

Now I don't know what I'm reading, lol.

September 22nd, 2006, 10:07 PM
I have an Animal Care Aide (aka Vet Assistant) diploma, but the most it got me was dog grooming. LOL the diploma is now 12 years old. :o It was a one year course at Ontario Business College.

I was told that the basic comparison is RN to RPN. Assistants mainly do the 'dirty' work, reception, restraining, clean-up, etc, while the techs get to do all the fun stuff, blood work, helping with procedures, etc.

September 22nd, 2006, 10:38 PM
Prin, am I confused or does your post say the same thing as list's?
lol You're right! I'm the nut. I could have sworn hers said the opposite. :o Sorry... :o

September 22nd, 2006, 10:52 PM
Thanks, I thought I was imagining things. I kept reading back and forth between both posts getting more and more confused, lol.

September 22nd, 2006, 10:53 PM
lol Imagine me- I didn't even notice... Does that mean I'm in a permanent state of semi-confusion? lol

September 23rd, 2006, 07:59 AM
Years ago, I did work for a vet as an assistant? and I just walked in off the street and applied. My timing was superb as the other gal was leaving. I had no formal education, just learned on the fly, and I assisted with the works. The vets ran the bloodwork, but I did all the other stuff, including assisting with surgeries, euthanasias, (when necessary:sad: ), and all of the grunt work....but I LOVED IT!!

I stayed 5 years with this $#*&^ vet as he had no compassion for animals or humans. I stayed because I loved the job. Finally I had to quit or I was gonna go postal on him. I was young and scared and on my own and didn't think about reporting him to the powers that be....he's long out of practice now and retired...thank goodness:frustrated:

Anyway, I have thought of returning to working with animals, but my real job :D is pretty good, benefits and all....

I have shared the job info with those I know in the rescue world in London and hopefully, someone who needs the job will jump at the offer!

September 23rd, 2006, 09:41 PM
I am an RVT (registered veterinary technician). I have a two year diploma from University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus. I have also written a registration exam. If you go to the Ontario Association of Veterinary Technicians website ( they used to have a little chart on there about the different levels in the clinic.
Honestly, there aren't any laws in the field as to who HAS to work in an animal hospital and what they can be called. Generally, a RVT has everything that I have, then there's a VT (veterinary technician) went to school but didn't write a registration exam, then there are veterinary assistants that would basically be my assistant (restraint, do the blood machines, hospital maintenance, kennel work) and there is a college course for that (I think it's about a year max, shorter I think). Then there are on the job trained people. Some people call them assistants, others call them techs. There are usually also some kennel staff that are usually volunteers or high school students or retired people.
There are no "rules" as to who gets to work on your animal (other than a vet). So in theory, a vet can open a clinic and just hire some random person off the street, train them, call them a tech (or whatever) and have a clinic. The OAVT is in the process of trying to change that and making certain tasks that only RVT's can do (like vets are the only ones legally allowed to diagnose and preform surgeries).
I hope that kinda clears things up, but it's all in the process of changing (for the better I hope):o

September 24th, 2006, 12:19 AM
Great post RVT!:)

I know some vet techs who do minor surgeries and all the vet does is check up on them... Honestly, I wouldn't really bring my pet to a vet like that.:eek:

September 24th, 2006, 12:33 AM
That's what they did at the last town we lived in. :eek: I didn't find this out until just before we moved. :mad:

September 26th, 2006, 10:35 AM
That's basically illegal in Ontario. Us techs used to be able to do cat neuters and declaws. But when I was in my second year they changed all the duties and that got taken away from us. There are a handful of old school vets that still let their techs do it just basically because they haven't done it in so long that the techs are better than the vet.
The clinic that I used to work in, the only "surgery" that I got to do was dentistries - the cleaning and polishing. If there were any teeth that had to be pulled I called the vet to do it. You can just screw up so much with pulling a tooth. And the vet would check everything over to make sure that everything was ok before I woke the animal up. The clinic that I work in now I just assist in everything.
I don't think that there's a "problem" with techs doing minor surgeries if they the proper training and consistency. I know that I wouldn't be comfortable if I went into a new clinic and they said hey...neuter this cat. I'd personally decline it because I don't think that it's in the cats best interest to have a very rusty person doing surgery on him.