Veterinary Technologist

Veterinary technologists play an important role in the maintenance of animal health and productivity.  Their tasks consist of diagnostic work to determine the cause of sickness or death of an animal.   They also carry out technical and field studies in research where they work with a professional team of researchers, veterinary surgeons, other experts and scientists.

Veterinary technologists are employed in the production of biological products such as antigens for diagnostic tests and vaccines for the prevention of disease. In a research or diagnostic laboratory, veterinary technologists who are specifically trained to execute laboratory procedures, handle and inject animals, draw blood and take other samples to assist the veterinarian and other scientists trained in the fields of Microbiology, Parasitology, Chemistry, Biochemistry and Animal Science.

They must continually make the necessary observations and record such observations. Veterinary technologists and nurses always work with or under the supervision of veterinary surgeons. Technologists are now able to take the initiative to run a private diagnostic or other laboratory, if they are trained in that specific field.

The work of veterinary technologists can primarily be divided into three categories:

Diagnostic work, where specimens of animal tissue such as blood and organs, plants and feeds are subjected to a variety of tests to determine the cause of disease or death.

Research, which is mainly problem-orientated and embraces studies on the causes of animal diseases, the methods of transmission, the specific effects on normal physiological processes and the most effective ways of preventing or combating the diseases in animals. These studies are performed under the guidance and direction of professional scientists and veterinary surgeons.

Preparation of veterinary biological products, such as antigens for diagnostic tests and vaccines for the prevention of disease, is largely the task of veterinary technologists. This involves large-scale cultivation of bacteria and viruses and a considerable amount of developmental work, particularly in the field of fermenter technology.

Veterinary technologists work in clean, orderly, well-equipped laboratories with only the best scientific apparatus at their disposal. Some tasks involving the handling of animals may take place out-of-doors in the open fields.

Personal Requirements

  • accurate and methodical
  • dependable
  • observant and scientifically minded
  • flair for laboratory work
  • manual dexterity
  • normal colour vision
  • good health and physical stamina

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course

Each institution has its own entry requirements.

What to Study

Diploma: N.Dip: Veterinary Technology - TUT.
The duration of the course is 3 years, 2 years of which are utilised for theoretical and practical training at the university of technology and 1 year of appropriate experimental training at an approved laboratory or other employer.

For those interested in studying further: BTech, MTech and DTech degrees are offered at TUT.

Note: Those appointed as learner veterinary technologists in the service of the State undergo full-time training whilst receiving usual remuneration. The State requires learner technologists to pass a practical test after the successful completion of the theoretical training for the National Diploma in Veterinary Technology.


  • Department of Environmental Affairs
  • Department of Agricultural Economics and Marketing (Technical Services)
  • veterinary research institutes
  • CSIR
  • private research and production organisations
  • veterinary pharmaceutical firms
  • Faculty of Veterinary Science at the Universities of Pretoria and Medunsa
  • SABS
  • Medical Research Council
  • Agricultural Research Council
  • self-employment, with experience and capital, can open own diagnostic or other laboratory

Further Information

Association of Veterinary Technologists
P O Box 12462
Onderstepoort, 0110

Department of Veterinary Technology
School for Physical Science
Tshwane University of Technology
Private Bag X680
Pretoria, 0001
Tel: (012) 318-5411

Getting Started

  • speak to veterinary technologists and ask permission to observe them at work
  • try to find vacation work in a veterinary clinic or animal shelter

Programmes by Study Institutions

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