Skip to content

A Registered Veterinary Technologist, or RVT, is trained to work under the supervision of a Veterinarian and can also work in other animal health-related fields. Under the supervision of the Veterinarian, the technologist performs many tasks in the clinic. With their specialized training, RVTs offer a great deal to the hospital setting.

By assuming many of the technical duties and care of the patients, Veterinary Technologists enable Veterinarians to concentrate on their patient caseloads and expand the range and quality of services provided.

As specialized assistants, Veterinary Technologists have much to offer to the veterinary field in the care and management of animals. Veterinary Technology offers a rewarding and challenging career for dedicated, caring individuals.

Career Opportunities

Under the supervision of the Veterinarian, the technologist performs many of the tasks in the clinic. With their specialized training, RVTs offer a great deal to the hospital setting. Technologists are trained to work in these numerous animal-related settings:

  • Private practice
  • Research laboratories
  • Food animal inspection
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Education
  • Livestock health management
  • Zoos
  • SPCA and Humane Shelters


The education of a technologist involves a two to a three-year college course. AHT/ VT courses offered are a 2 or 3-year diploma program. Further information about a program may be obtained directly from the college. Saskatchewan has a program at Saskatchewan Polytechnic in Saskatoon: this course is accredited by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association. The two years spent at Sask Polytech involve classroom lectures, scientific labs, participation in a 10-week on-the-job training program and finishing with an extensive internship at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

Admission Requirements

College admission requirements vary between colleges, however, a “B” grade average or higher is generally required in the Biological Sciences, Math, and English. Computer experience is also a prerequisite. Experience in a veterinary setting is also required.

What is the difference between AHT and VT?

The titles: Animal Health Technologist/ Veterinary Technologist/ Veterinary Technician, are acknowledged as a similar training designations. Some associations also recognize a category of RAHT or RVT.

The education/training or employment requirement considered to be ideal is graduation from a Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) accredited program.

Completion of a zoology or biology course will not allow you to gain AHT/VT status.

Animal Health vs Veterinary?

When Animal Health Technicians first became a recognized profession the terminology used was AHT. Some associations in Canada have since changed their name to VT for a couple of reasons. One is the belief that the term ‘Animal Health’ does not portray exactly what a VT does. When the word veterinary is used, it is believed that it better states what field applies to this profession. But, some associations believe that AHTs do not just work for veterinarians, thus they kept this term. Some associations cannot legally use the word veterinary in their title due to provincial veterinary legislation.

Technologist vs Technician?

Again this is objective, there is the general belief in some educational institutions that: Technology classifies someone that is trained to recognize the reasoning behind various tasks as well as how to perform a procedure and has 2-3 years of training vs Technician classifies someone that is trained in a procedure but does not necessarily have an extensive background and has 1 -2 years of training.

In Canada, the use of technicians or technologists in the AHT/RVT field is recognized as the same.


Veterinary Technologists primarily function as professional assistants to Veterinarians. Some examples of the duties a qualified VT is trained to perform under the direct supervision of a Veterinarian are:

Patient Care

Medical administration
Sample collection
Physical therapy
Special intensive nursing care
Bandage application
Nutritional management

Clinical Pathology

Specimen collection
Sample analysis
Microbiological techniques


Patient preparation
Patient positioning
Radiation safety
Radiographic film development


Preanesthetic evaluation
Administration of anesthetic agent
Monitoring anesthetized patient
Patient recovery

Surgical Assisting

Patient preparation
Instrument sterilization
Surgical site preparation
Maintenance of surgical equipment


Post-mortem preparation
Tissue collection and handling

Office/Hospital Management
Reception duties
Billing and bookkeeping
Medical supplies inventory
Client education

Back To Top