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Job Description for an Associate Veterinarian

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An associate veterinarian works with animals on a daily basis, providing essential care to them. An associate veterinarian must have a love of animals and desire to work with them daily. In order to get a job as an associate veterinarian, you must complete a two-year associate degree program and then be certified by your working state.


A veterinary associate or a veterinary technician is mainly responsible for providing medical care to domestic animals. They assist animals by providing physical examinations, dental procedures, spaying and neutering, immunization, birthing care and euthanasia. Veterinary associates are also responsible for recording animal care history on a care chart, collecting specimens for examination, preparing animals and instruments for surgery, assisting in surgical procedures, and taking and developing X-rays.

Career Opportunities

The majority of associate veterinarians or veterinary technicians are employed in private veterinarian practices. In addition to working in a private veterinarian practice, an associate veterinarian can find employment in biomedical research, military service, zoo animal and wildlife care, diagnostic laboratory support, veterinary supply sales, animal control, and drug and feed companies.


Associate veterinarians or veterinary technicians must complete a two year associate degree programs from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. These programs are run through community colleges, universities and technical/vocational schools. During the course of the two-year programs courses are taught in both clinical and laboratory settings, practicing and learning on live animals. A period of clinical experience in a veterinary practice is required for completion of the associate degree.


Every state has different regulations in regards to associate veterinarian and veterinary technicians but all states do require an exam that includes oral, written and practical portions. The exam assures that the candidate has adequate knowledge to work in a veterinary setting and with animals. Upon passing, you will be a certified veterinary technician and will be able to seek employment.


According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, in 2008 the median annual wages of veterinary technologists and technicians was $28,900. The middle 50 percent earned between $23,580 and $34,960. The bottom 10 percent earned less than $19,770, and the top 10 percent earned more than $41,490. A veterinary technologist must have a four year bachelor's degree, and earns more than associate veterinarians or veterinary technicians. Therefore, a veterinary technician will most likely earn closer to the lower end of the wage scale.


Kallie Johnson began her writing career in 2009, contributing to various online publications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She enjoys writing home and garden topics and considers herself an expert on do-it-yourself home improvement topics.

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