Veterinary technologist or technician
- Expected growth (2010-2020): 52 percent
- Average annual salary: $29,710
- Minimum education: Associate degree (technicians); bachelor's degree (technologists)
As more people treat their pets as members of the family, their furry friends are also receiving the benefits of advanced human health care.
"Blood tests typically part of human testing, such as those that look at liver and kidney functioning, (are) becoming routine for older pets," Shatkin says.
Veterinary technologists and technicians perform the bulk of this kind of lab work from taking blood, urine and stool samples to analyzing the results. They also work closely with the veterinarian to restrain animals and assist in surgery.
Add to that a growing pet population, and you have a growth opportunity for this kind of work: Employment of veterinary technologists and technicians is expected to grow 52 percent from 2010 to 2020, with even better opportunities in rural areas.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that while technicians require a two-year degree, veterinarians prefer a four-year degree for technologists who perform increasingly complex medical procedures on animals.