What is a Veterinary Research Technician?
Veterinary and animal research can be found at a wide range of institutions with many different positions available. Much of the veterinary research takes place at academic institutions, but there are also positions available in larger organizations including government agencies and pharmaceutical companies. The US Department of Agriculture and the Academic Research Service do research on food animal health and diseases. The National Institute of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control also have veterinary research programs. Responsibilities of a lab technician include assisting the researchers collect data, providing treatment, providing medication, and providing care for the lab animals. A research technician doesn’t design or create the research that is occurring, rather they assist the lead research scientist with conducting the experiment and recording the findings.
Research scientists design and conduct experiments that can be used to find the cause of a disease, creating vaccines, understanding animal behavior, and many other areas of interest. This career also requires finding and applying for funding for research and reporting the findings. Researchers can focus on food safety, virology, microbial research, and numerous other fields. This career allows some freedom and the opportunity to study what you are interested in as long as you can find funding for your research.
What type of education is required?
A Veterinary Research Technician only requires an undergraduate degree in fields such as Animal Science, Zoology, Biology or any related areas of study. Research scientist positions usually require a Ph.D to be competitive.
What is the expected salary?
The salary for a Veterinary Research Technician is usually based on experience. The average salary is $32,490 per year.
A research scientist’s salary can be extremely variable depending on the area of study and where you are conducting your research. Usually for a starting researcher, the salary is going to be about $40,000. If there is an opportunity for promotion, and the job requirement shifts from everyday hands on research to more of a supervising or directing position, the salary can increase to a maximum of $180,000.
How can I prepare myself for a job as a Veterinary Research Technician while at NC State?
Taking courses at NC State such as Techniques of Animal Care (ANS 201), Laboratory Science (ANS 330, which also allows students to achieve certification as a Laboratory Animal Technician), and Agricultural Genetics (ANS 215) are a great way to gauge interest in the field before obtaining hands-on experience.
What kind of experience is required?
Gaining experience by working as a veterinary technician or assistant is extremely helpful in working as a research/lab technician. This allows you to gain hands-on animal experience such as administering medications, handling various species, and operating certain medical devices. Industry certification is also highly recommended by professionals, and the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science allows for three different certification paths.
Where can I find more information?
Visit https://www.aalas.org for more information about the field of Veterinary Research.
Visit https://www.alavtn.org for more information about potential career opportunities as a Veterinary Research Technician.