August 01, 2013


 Veterinary technician, other accreditation policies modified

Posted July 17, 2013
Policy changes affecting the AVMA Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities were approved by the AVMA Executive Board during its June 6-8 meeting.

One substantial revision to the CVTEA Accreditation Policies and Procedures manual requires that accredited programs post statistics online related to the Veterinary Technician National Examination. The VTNE is the primary measuring tool used to evaluate entry-level veterinary technicians’ competence to practice and to be credentialed by state licensing boards and agencies.

However, not all states require veterinary technicians take the examination. And, for some programs, only a small number of students take the test.
At the same time, the CVTEA thinks programs should provide VTNE performance data to the general public—
particularly potential students—to encourage transparency and accountability for program outcomes, according to the recommendation background.

So, the three-year pass rate on the VTNE must be made available on programs’ websites along with the number of eligible first-time candidates and the number of first-time candidates who have taken the examination.

Dr. Karen Martens Brandt, AVMA staff liaison to the CVTEA, said it’s something the committee has been looking at for a while and is not uncommon for accreditors to require. 

Additional changes made to the CVTEA manual include the following:

  • CVTEA-accredited programs granted provisional accreditation are no longer allowed to petition for full accreditation during their initial five years. This is to ensure that sufficient outcomes data are available to determine trends.
  • Revisions were made to the “Guidelines for the Use of Animals in Veterinary Technology Teaching Programs” to emphasize the importance of adhering to Department of Agriculture regulations and use of best practices in the humane care and use of animals in veterinary technology teaching.
  • A clarification states that the CVTEA allows volunteers to serve more than one term on the committee as long as the terms are not consecutive.
  • A section on participation of site visit observers was added because of the growing number of requests from new program directors and others to participate in site visits.

In other board actions, the AVMA will spend $15,525 for AVMA Council on Education site visitor training.

The U.S. Department of Education has changed the interpretation of its recognition guidelines since the council was last recognized in 2006 (see JAVMA, Feb. 15, 2013). The council was informed at the USDE recognition hearing this past December that it is now considered a conflict of interest for members of a decision-making body to conduct site visits, although they may observe a site visit for training purposes.

To comply with this directive, according to the recommendation background, the council must recruit and train a pool of COE nonmembers to conduct accreditation site visits. The council is developing a new, in-depth training program to prepare these individuals.

New site team members must have a thorough understanding of the accreditation process and the application of each of the council’s 11 standards. The COE has decided the most efficient and cost-effective approach will be to bring 30 selectees (15 people in 2013; 15 people in 2014) for a one-and-half-day training session at AVMA headquarters.