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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.

  • Avg. Salary $40,613.00
  • Avg. Wage $21.47
  • Minimum Education 2 years post-secondary
  • Outlook above avg
  • Employed 2,900
  • In Demand Medium
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) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg
Interest Codes
The Animal Health Technologist is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Veterinary and Animal Health Technologists and Technicians

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


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


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

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 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 More

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

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.

  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
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.
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2018

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.

Grande Prairie Regional College

Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

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.

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

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

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.


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.

What You Need

Registration with the ABVMA requires: (1) membership in the Alberta Association of Animal Health Technologists (AAAHT), (2) an Animal Health Technology diploma accredited by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA), or equivalent, and (3) successful completion of a national exam administered by the ABVMA.  For official, detailed information about registration requirements, contact the ABVMA or visit their website.

Working in Alberta

Animal health technologists who are registered and in good standing with a regulatory organization elsewhere in Canada may be eligible for registration in Alberta if registered animal health technologists in the two jurisdictions have similar responsibilities and competencies. For more information, see "What if I am already certified in another province or territory?" and the Alberta regulatory authority (below).

To learn about certification for internationally educated animal health technologists, see Animal Health Technologist Registration Process.

Contact Details

Alberta Veterinary Medical Association
950 Weber Centre, 5555 Calgary Trail N.W.
Edmonton, Alberta 
Canada  T6H 5P9
Phone number: 780-489-5007
Toll-free phone number: 1-800-404-2862
Fax number: 780-484-8311

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.

Animal health technologists are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 3213: Animal health technologists and veterinary technicians. In Alberta, 84% of people employed in this classification work in the Professional, Scientific and Technical Services [pdf] industry.

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors, including:

  • trends and events that affect overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities that come up when people leave existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities that come up when new positions are created)
  • size of the occupation.

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.

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 58 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.

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

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2018
Animal health technologists and veterinary technicians

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $15.00 $23.19 $18.70 $18.47
Overall $15.19 $25.00 $21.47 $22.78
Top $18.00 $30.00 $24.97 $25.25

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.

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.

Industry Information
Professional, Scientific & Technical Services

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years


Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties


Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months


Vacancy Rate

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Agriculture and Related Technologies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Alberta Veterinary Medical Association (ABVMA) website:

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

Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) website:

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.

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