Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers

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About the Job

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.

It is also Called

  • Veterinary Technician Assistant (Vet Tech Assistant)
  • Veterinary Attendant
  • Veterinary Assistant (Vet Assistant)
  • Veterinarian Helper
  • Veterinarian Assistant
  • Technician Assistant
  • Small Animal Caretaker
  • Research Animal Attendant
  • Laboratory Animal Caretaker
  • Emergency Veterinary Assistant
View All

What They Do

  • Groom, trim, or clip animals' coats.
  • Write reports, maintain research information, or perform clerical duties.
  • Perform enemas, catheterizations, ear flushes, intravenous feedings, or gavages.
  • Administer anesthetics during surgery and monitor the effects on animals.
  • Dust, spray, or bathe animals to control insect pests.
  • Sell pet food or supplies to customers.
  • Perform accounting duties, such as bookkeeping, billing customers for services, or maintaining inventories.
  • Perform hygiene-related duties, such as clipping animals' claws or cleaning and polishing teeth.
  • Perform office reception duties, such as scheduling appointments or helping customers.
  • Record information relating to animal genealogy, feeding schedules, appearance, behavior, or breeding.


People who work in this occupation generally have the interest code: RSI.

This means people who work in this occupation generally have Realistic interests, but also prefer Social and Investigative environments.

Work Values

People who work in this occupation generally prize Relationships, but also value Support and Working Conditions in their jobs.

Things They Need to Know

  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Sales and Marketing - Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.

Things They Need to Be Able to Do

  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Service Orientation - Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Education Required

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


In 2016, the average annual wage in Pennsylvania was $26,140 with most people making between $18,140 and $38,440


avg. annual growth

During 2014, this occupation employed approximately 2,540 people in Pennsylvania. It is projected that there will be 2,770 employed in 2024.

This occupation will have about 23 openings due to growth and about 57 replacement openings for approximately 80 total annual openings.

Pennsylvania Department of Education