Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers
SOC: 31-9096.00


Feed, water, and examine pets and other nonfarm animals for signs of illness, disease, or injury in laboratories and animal hospitals and clinics. Clean and disinfect cages and work areas, and sterilize laboratory and surgical equipment. May provide routine post-operative care, administer medication orally or topically, or prepare samples for laboratory examination under the supervision of veterinary or laboratory animal technologists or technicians, veterinarians, or scientists.

National Salary Information:

Hourly Statistics:

Annual Statistics:

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 wage data.

Employment Projections:

Employment (2014):
73,400 employed

Projected (2024):
80,000 employed

Projected growth (2014-2024)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 2014-2024 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2014-2024). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

Alternate Titles:

  • Animal Care Provider
  • Animal Care Service Worker
  • Animal Care Taker
  • Animal Caregiver
  • Animal Health Technician
  • Avian Keeper
  • Emergency Veterinary Assistant
  • Laboratory Animal Caretaker
  • Research Animal Attendant
  • Small Animal Caretaker
  • Technician Assistant
  • Veterinarian Assistant
  • Veterinarian Helper
  • Veterinary Assistant (Vet Assistant)
  • Veterinary Attendant
  • Veterinary Technician Assistant (Vet Tech Assistant)

  • Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed


    Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.


    Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

    Job Training:

    Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.

    Required Skills:

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Active Listening
  • Writing
  • Speaking
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Critical Thinking
  • Active Learning
  • Learning Strategies
  • Monitoring
  • Social Perceptiveness
  • Coordination
  • Persuasion
  • Negotiation
  • Instructing
  • Service Orientation
  • Complex Problem Solving
  • Operations Analysis
  • Technology Design
  • Operation Monitoring
  • Operation and Control
  • Troubleshooting
  • Quality Control Analysis
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Systems Analysis
  • Systems Evaluation
  • Time Management
  • Management of Financial Resources
  • Management of Material Resources
  • Management of Personnel Resources

  • Knowledge Used:

  • Administration and Management
  • Clerical
  • Economics and Accounting
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Personnel and Human Resources
  • Production and Processing
  • Computers and Electronics
  • Engineering and Technology
  • Design
  • Mechanical
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Psychology
  • Sociology and Anthropology
  • Geography
  • Medicine and Dentistry
  • Therapy and Counseling
  • Education and Training
  • English Language
  • Public Safety and Security
  • Law and Government
  • Telecommunications
  • Communications and Media
  • Transportation

  • Tasks:

  • Monitor animals recovering from surgery and notify veterinarians of any unusual changes or symptoms.
  • Administer anesthetics during surgery and monitor the effects on animals.
  • Clean, maintain, and sterilize instruments or equipment.
  • Administer medication, immunizations, or blood plasma to animals as prescribed by veterinarians.
  • Provide emergency first aid to sick or injured animals.
  • Clean and maintain kennels, animal holding areas, examination or operating rooms, or animal loading or unloading facilities to control the spread of disease.
  • Hold or restrain animals during veterinary procedures.
  • Perform routine laboratory tests or diagnostic tests, such as taking or developing x-rays.
  • Fill medication prescriptions.
  • Collect laboratory specimens, such as blood, urine, or feces for testing.
  • Examine animals to detect behavioral changes or clinical symptoms that could indicate illness or injury.
  • Assist veterinarians in examining animals to determine the nature of illnesses or injuries.
  • Prepare surgical equipment and pass instruments or materials to veterinarians during surgical procedures.
  • Perform enemas, catheterizations, ear flushes, intravenous feedings, or gavages.
  • Prepare feed for animals according to specific instructions, such as diet lists or schedules.
  • Exercise animals or provide them with companionship.
  • Record information relating to animal genealogy, feeding schedules, appearance, behavior, or breeding.
  • Educate or advise clients on animal health care, nutrition, or behavior problems.
  • Perform hygiene-related duties, such as clipping animals' claws or cleaning and polishing teeth.
  • Prepare examination or treatment rooms by stocking them with appropriate supplies.
  • Provide assistance with euthanasia of animals or disposal of corpses.
  • Perform office reception duties, such as scheduling appointments or helping customers.
  • Dust, spray, or bathe animals to control insect pests.
  • Write reports, maintain research information, or perform clerical duties.
  • Perform accounting duties, such as bookkeeping, billing customers for services, or maintaining inventories.
  • Sell pet food or supplies to customers.
  • Groom, trim, or clip animals' coats.

  • Tools & Technology:

  • Animal nail clippers
  • Animal razors
  • Animal restraints
  • Balling guns
  • Bandage scissors
  • Benchtop centrifuges
  • Bite gloves
  • Blood collection syringes
  • Chemical sterilizers
  • Commercial dryers
  • Commercial washing machines
  • Desktop computers
  • Digital cameras
  • Digital veterinary thermometers
  • Digital veterinary x ray equipment
  • Electric animal clippers
  • Electronic animal scales
  • Evacuated blood collection tubes
  • General purpose laboratory test tubes
  • Glass beakers
  • Handheld refractometers
  • Hematology analyzers
  • Injection syringes
  • Intravenous IV administration sets
  • Label printers
  • Laboratory forceps
  • Laptop computers
  • Lead aprons
  • Lead gloves
  • Mechanical stethoscopes
  • Microchip readers
  • Microhematocrit centrifuges
  • Microscope slides
  • Multi-line telephone systems
  • Muzzles
  • Optical compound microscopes
  • Personal computers
  • Pill counters
  • Retriever PACS
  • Specimen collection containers
  • Stationary veterinary x ray equipment
  • Steam autoclaves
  • Suture scissors
  • Tourniquets
  • Urine analysis equipment
  • Urinometers
  • Veterinary anesthesia machines
  • Veterinary blood pressure cuffs
  • Veterinary immersion hydrotherapy equipment
  • Veterinary vaccination syringes
  • X ray cassettes
  • X ray film processors
  • IDEXX Laboratories IDEXX Cornerstone
  • Labeling software
  • McAllister Software Systems AVImark
  • Microsoft Access
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Office software
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Microsoft Word
  • Practice management software PMS
  • Scheduling software

  • healthcare support

    industry stats

    SOC: 31-0000

    Total Employed: 3,989,910

    Average Annual Salary: $29,520