Skip to the main content
This website uses cookies to give you a better online experience. By using this website or closing this message, you are agreeing to our cookie policy. More information
Alberta Supports Contact Centre

Toll Free 1-877-644-9992

Animal Health Technologist

Animal health technologists support veterinarians by caring for animals. They help diagnose and treat health problems in companion (pet) and livestock (farm) animals.

Also Known As

Laboratory Technician/Technologist, Veterinary Technician

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Veterinary and Animal Health Technologists and Technicians (3213) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Veterinary and Animal Health Technologists and Technicians (D213) 
  • 2011 NOC: Animal health technologists and veterinary technicians (3213) 
  • 2016 NOC: Animal health technologists and veterinary technicians (3213) 
  • 2021 NOC: Animal health technologists and veterinary technicians (32104) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Veterinary and Animal Health Technologists and Technicians

2006 NOC: 3213

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group
METHODICAL

Interest in assisting veterinarians before, during and after surgery, and by preparing surgical equipment, administering and monitoring anesthetics and cleaning up after surgery; in conducting specialized procedures such as animal identification and hoof trimming, and in preparing medications and vaccines under the direction of veterinarians

OBJECTIVE

Interest in operating laboratory equipment to produce X-rays radiographs, collect samples and perform other tests to assist in the diagnosis of animal health problems

INNOVATIVE

Interest in compiling information from tests to assist in the diagnosis of animal health problems; and in conducting and assisting in laboratory research

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 

It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes for this NOC group is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Animal health technologists provide a wide range of animal health services. They are supervised by veterinarians. In general, they:

  • collect and prepare lab samples for testing
  • perform blood, urine, fecal, and other routine lab tests
  • fill and dispense prescriptions
  • give medications and treatments
  • receive and prepare animals to be examined or for surgery
  • monitor and assess clinical symptoms
  • help veterinarians in procedures and surgeries
  • give and monitor anesthetics
  • produce and develop x-rays
  • provide first aid
  • perform dental cleaning
  • restrain animals to be examined, immunized, medicated, or to receive veterinary nursing care
  • calculate and give medications and fluids
  • follow radiation safety and quality control procedures
  • educate owners on animal health care (for example, behaviour problems or nutrition)
  • help euthanize animals
  • clean, maintain and sterilize medical tools and equipment
  • manage drug and product supplies.
  • keep facility clean to control the spread of disease
  • assist in programs to monitor food animals.
  • assist in programs to promote food safety and public health
  • keep medical records and log books.

They may:

  • write reports
  • train new staff
  • recommend and sell non-prescription products according to clinic standards
  • provide customer service and support services (such as grief counselling, choosing a new pet, pet-sitting, and pet weight-loss support)
  • maintain research information
  • handle accounting and invoicing duties.
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2018
  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg

Most animal health technologists work in veterinary clinics and hospitals. Many work in labs, research facilities or animal shelters. Some work on farms or in stockyards or feedlots. The work can be physically and emotionally demanding.

Work hours may include evenings, weekends, and nights. Animal health technologists may be on call or work overtime during emergencies.

Animal health technologists sometimes work around strong, unpleasant odours. Workplace hazards may include contact with dangerous animals. They may also include exposure to radiation, biohazards, anesthetics (gases) and diseases that may be passed on to humans.

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Animal health technologists need to possess:

  • confidence working with animals
  • a strong interest in medicine
  • the ability to work quickly and decisively under pressure
  • manual dexterity
  • an aptitude for math, keeping records and writing reports
  • the ability to be well organized
  • good physical health and strength
  • a high degree of integrity
  • communication skills
  • the ability to work well with people
  • the ability to work well as part of a team.

They should enjoy:

  • having clear rules and guidelines for their work
  • performing lab and diagnostic procedures.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Animal health technologists and veterinary technicians

2016 NOC: 3213

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 20 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Dec 06, 2021 and Dec 02, 2022.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Health benefits: Health care plan
Administer treatments as prescribed by veterinarian
Provide nursing care and rehabilitation therapy for animals
Prepare and administer medications and vaccines under direction of veterinarian
Tasks: Handle, restrain and care for animals undergoing treatment and surgery
Tasks: Prepare and administer medications and vaccines under direction of veterinarian
Tasks: Administer treatments as prescribed by veterinarian
Produce diagnostic radiographs, collect samples and perform other laboratory tests
Handle, restrain and care for animals undergoing treatment and surgery
Counsel clients on animal health care
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2018
  • Minimum Education 2 years post-secondary

As a minimum, animal health technologists must have a 2-year animal health technology or veterinary technology diploma accredited by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association.


Required Education

The following schools offer programs and courses that meet this occupation’s educational requirements. Other eligible programs and courses may be available.

Northern Alberta Institute of Technology
Northwestern Polytechnic
Thompson Rivers University

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Before enrolling in any program, prospective students should check with the Registered Veterinary Technologists and Technicians of Canada (RVTTC) to make sure it is recognized across Canada.

To stay licensed, registered animal health technologists must complete 10 hours of continuing education every year.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2018
  • Certification Provincially Regulated

Certain professional titles or duties within this occupation are protected by provincial legislation. Requirements vary if you use these titles or perform these duties.

The related legislation is shown below. If there are multiple related legislations, select a certification heading to learn about each one.

Animal Health Technologist

Animal health technologists provide primary support to veterinarians by caring for animals, and assisting in the care and treatment of companion and livestock animal health disorders.

Legislation

Under Alberta's Veterinary Profession Act and General Regulation, you must be registered with the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association (ABVMA) to work as an animal health technologist under the direction of a registered veterinarian.

For information on what you need and other details, visit the certification profile Animal Health Technologist.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Animal health technologists may work for:

  • private veterinary clinics
  • zoos, wildlife parks and rehabilitation centres
  • biomedical research labs
  • kennels, animal shelters and humane societies
  • the Canadian Armed Forces
  • government departments
  • food inspection agencies (see the Agricultural Commodity Inspector occupational profile)
  • pet shops
  • companies that sell animal care or pharmaceutical supplies
  • farms and feedlots
  • post-secondary schools.

Advancement generally takes the form of more complex duties or management tasks.

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 3213: Animal health technologists and veterinary technicians occupational group, 84.8% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 3213: Animal health technologists and veterinary technicians occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 2% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 58 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: 2019-2023 Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2018

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Animal health technologists and veterinary technicians

2016 NOC: 3213
Average Wage
$22.37
Per Hour
Average Salary
$43,859.00
Per Year
Average Hours
37.7
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
12
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2021 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 3213 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production), and other forms of compensation.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

A: High Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

High Reliability, represents a CV of less than or equal to 6.00% and 30 survey observations and/or represents 50% or more of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $15.00 $24.00 $19.35 $20.00
Overall $15.24 $29.60 $22.37 $23.00
Top $17.00 $35.00 $26.49 $26.00

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

ALL INDUSTRIES
Professional, Scientific & Technical Services

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
80%
80%)
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
64%
64%
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
31%
31%
Vacancy Rate
7%
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Agriculture and Related Technologies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Alberta Veterinary Medical Association (ABVMA) website: abvma.ca

Registered Veterinary Technologists and Technicians of Canada (RVTTC) website: rvttcanada.ca

Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) website: canadianveterinarians.net

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2018. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

Was this page useful?
Top