Careers with Horsepower: Equine Veterinary Assistant/Technician
By Jess Hallas-Kilcoyne
Do you dream of a career with horses? Here’s a brief look at the basic educational requirements to become an Equine Veterinarian Assistant/Technician.
Equine veterinary assistants and veterinary technicians work alongside equine veterinarians as they diagnose and treat horses. There is a fair amount of overlap between the two positions, including providing hands-on assistance for the veterinarian, and performing lab work and basic administration duties, but a veterinary technician has additional training in animal nutrition, pharmacology, developing X-rays, and advanced clinical duties, and usually earns a higher salary.
Many colleges across Canada offer one year veterinary assistant certification programs. Graduates are able to immediately begin working in the field.
Becoming a registered veterinary technician in Canada requires completion of a two-year college diploma in Animal Health Technology at a program accredited by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA), followed by a six-week practicum to gain hands-on experience. Next, you must successfully complete the Veterinary Technician National Examination, after which graduates may register with the CVMA and their provincial regulating body.
If you wish to work as a veterinary assistant or technician for an equine veterinarian, a strong background in horse care, handling, and behaviour is essential. Good communication skills are also important as they will facilitate strong client relationships.
Main Article Photo: Pam MacKenzie
This article originally appeared in the Equine Consumers’ Guide 2013.