June 01, 2004


 Accreditation standards for veterinary technician programs revised

Posted May 15, 2004

The Executive Board approved several changes to clarify and improve the accreditation requirements for veterinary technician training programs. Among the substantive changes were the creation of a new standard, the removal of a standard, the removal of separate guidelines for distance learning programs, and an increased emphasis on developing critical thinking skills.

The Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities recommended the changes after conducting an in-depth review of its Accreditation Policies and Procedures Manual. The committee created a draft revision of the document aimed at improving clarity and brevity, reorganizing the document into a more logical format, identifying critical-thinking skills that technicians need for success, and reformatting the document to better reflect the documents of the AVMA Council on Education, the parent group of the CVTEA.

The revision is also designed to be less prescriptive, and to allow veterinary technician programs to meet their objectives while demonstrating how they are meeting the standards of the CVTEA.

The committee sent copies of its draft revision to the Association of Veterinary Technician Educators. The CVTEA revised the document to incorporate AVTE changes, sent copies to veterinary technology programs for comment, and made more revisions. Finally, the document was brought before the board for approval in April.

While the majority of the revisions approved by the board did not change the substance of the standards, there were a few important exceptions. The first was the creation of a new standard on Resources for Clinical Instruction. The new standard applies to animal resources that were previously included in the standard on Physical Plant and Equipment, which was revised to reflect those changes.

Second, several substantive changes were made to the standard on Faculty. The requirements for faculty teaching some courses were redefined. The position of the program director was clarified. The changes also require programs to employ a full-time veterinary technician.

Substantive changes were made to the standard on Curriculum and related appendix, the Essential and Recommended Skills List. The list has been modified to emphasize critical thinking, along with motor skills development and clinical application. Additionally, the distance learning guidelines have been eliminated, and distance learning programs will now be held to the same standards as traditional programs.

Finally, the standard that required veterinary technology programs to offer continuing education was removed. The AVMA Council on Education stopped requiring veterinary colleges to offer continuing education in 2002.