Brief description

The Animal Health Technician fulfills an important task in the Animal Health Team (Government or Private) with regard to the health of both the animal and human population in South Africa and is mainly responsible for animal health related duties under the Animal Diseases Act, Act 35 of 1984 as well as the provision of primary animal health care to resource poor communities.

Duties & Responsibilities

The main duties and responsibilities of the Animal Health Technician is to ensure a healthy, productive and reproductive livestock and animal population in South Africa by means of the following: prevent, control, and eradicate animal diseases through disease investigation, sampling, collecting & evaluating epidemiological data, implementing sound animal health strategies, veterinary extension and primary animal health care activities.

These duties and responsibilities may change according to the different work spheres.

Work spheres

Animal Health diplomats / graduates can be employed as or in:

  • Animal Health Technician (Government & Private Veterinarians)
  • Feedlot manager
  • Meat inspector
  • Pharmaceutical representative
  • Stock farm manager
  • Research
  • Animal Production sector
  • Animal Welfare Societies


Persons working as Animal Health Technicians must have a SAVC approved Animal Health Qualification and be registered as an AHT with the SAVC. Further information on the statutory requirements for practicing as an Animal Health Technician is available on the SAVC website;

SAVC approved Animal Health training is currently being presented by two institutions, namely North-West University (both a National Diploma and a BSc degree) and Unisa (National Diploma – busy working towards a BSc degree). These are the only SAVC recognized qualifications in South African. The duration of the National Diploma is three years and the BSc degree is four years.

The main emphasis of the training course is on animal diseases / health. During these courses students will gain the required foundation in all aspects of animal diseases and health, including anatomy and physiology, nutrition, pharmacology and toxicology and the relevant animal health legislation in South Africa.

For admission to one of the above courses a Senior Certificate with Mathematics and either Biology and / or Physical Science on a minimum level of 3 (moderate achievement) (40% – 49%) is a requirement for the diploma courses. For the degree course it is a minimum level of 4 (adequate achievement) (50% – 59%). More information regarding the admission requirements is available from the two training institutions on the following websites:

Personality / Character

Some personality traits that are a recommendation for a career as an AHT are the following:

  • A special interest to work with animals and a passion for animals, especially large animals
  • Above average communication skills for effective communication with clients and colleges
  • Ability to work in an often hazardous environment
  • Physical strength is needed especially with fieldwork – e.g. handling of animals.

Animal Health Technicians are members of a learned and honourable profession and are required to at all times, act in a manner that shall maintain and promote the prestige, honour, dignity and interests of the profession.

Any further information on the role and work field of an AHT can be obtained from the Chairperson of the South African Association for Animal Health Technicians – (Mr. Simon Shabangu. Tel – 083 282 0676, e-mail – or the Vice Chairperson (Mr. Johan Oosthuizen, Tel – 082 8707482, e-mail –

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