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Animal Health Technologist

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

  • Avg. Salary $42,301.00
  • Avg. Wage $21.56
  • Minimum Education 2 years post-secondary
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed 1,500
  • In Demand Lower
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) 
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 Jun 02, 2017

Animal health technologists provide a wide range of animal health services under the supervision of veterinarians. In general, they:

  • collect and prepare laboratory specimens for testing
  • perform blood, urine, fecal and other routine laboratory tests
  • fill and dispense prescriptions and administer prescribed medications and treatments
  • receive and prepare animals for examination or surgery
  • monitor and evaluate clinical symptoms
  • assist veterinarians in procedures and surgical operations
  • administer and monitor anesthetic
  • produce and develop radiographs
  • administer emergency first aid
  • perform dental cleaning
  • restrain animals for examination, vaccination, medication administration and veterinary nursing care
  • calculate and administer medications and fluids
  • implement radiation safety and quality control procedures
  • provide animal health care education to owners (for example, regarding behaviour problems in pets, animal nutrition)
  • assist in the euthanasia of animals
  • clean, maintain and sterilize surgical and medical instruments and equipment
  • manage pharmaceutical and product inventory
  • ensure facility sanitation to control the spread of disease
  • assist in food animal monitoring programs to promote food safety and public health
  • maintain medical records and log books.

Animal health technologists also may:

  • write reports 
  • train new staff
  • recommend and sell non-prescription products according to clinic standards
  • provide support services such as grief counselling, choosing a new pet, house sitting and pet weight loss support
  • maintain research information
  • provide customer service, accounting and invoicing duties.
Working Conditions
Updated Jun 02, 2017

Most animal health technologists are employed in veterinary clinics and hospitals, laboratories, research facilities and animal shelters. Some work on farms or in stockyards or feedlots. The work can be physically and emotionally demanding. Depending on the work situation, animal health technologists may be required to lift up to or over 20 kilograms.

Hours of work vary and may include evenings, weekends, nights, emergency on-call rotations or overtime to assist in emergencies.

Animal health technologists sometimes work around strong, unpleasant odours. Occupational hazards include contact with potentially dangerous animals and potential exposure to radiation, biohazardous substances and waste, anesthetics (gases) and diseases that may be transmissible to human beings.

  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Jun 02, 2017

Animal health technologists need the following characteristics:

  • confidence in working with animals
  • a strong interest in medicine
  • the ability to work quickly and decisively under pressure
  • good manual dexterity
  • an aptitude for math, record keeping and writing reports
  • good organization skills
  • good physical health and strength
  • a high degree of integrity
  • excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • the ability to work well in a team environment.

They should enjoy having clear rules and guidelines for their work, and performing laboratory and diagnostic procedures.

Educational Requirements
Updated Jun 02, 2017

Animal health technologists must have a minimum of a two 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 the program is recognized across Canada.

To maintain licensure, registered animal health technologists must complete 10 hours of continuing education annually.

Certification Requirements
Updated Jun 02, 2017

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 find more information on the certification process for internationally educated animal health technologists, see Animal Health Technologist Registration Process on the website.

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 Jun 02, 2017

Animal health technologists may be employed by:

  • private veterinary practices
  • zoos, wildlife parks and rehabilitation centres 
  • biomedical research laboratories
  • kennels, animal shelters and humane societies
  • the Canadian Forces 
  • government departments and 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 institutions.

Advancement generally takes the form of increasingly complex duties or management responsibilities.

Animal health technologists are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 3213: Veterinary and Animal Health Technologists and Technicians. In Alberta, 84% of people employed in this classification work in the Professional, Scientific and Technical Services (PDF) industry.

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

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

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

Wage & Salary
Updated Jun 02, 2017

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 $14.66 $22.21 $18.74 $18.77
Overall $15.76 $25.00 $21.56 $21.01
Top $20.00 $35.00 $26.08 $25.00

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.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% 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 High School Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Science
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
  • Health, Recreation and Human Services
    • Health Care Services
  • Natural Resources
    • Agriculture
    • Environmental Stewardship
    • Wildlife
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Agriculture and Related Technologies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Jun 02, 2017

Alberta Veterinary Medical Association (AB.VMA) website:

Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) websites: 

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

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 14, 2014. 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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