CVTEA accreditation policies and procedures

Last update to this section: January 2024

Appendix A – Statement on Safety

  1. Veterinary technology programs and their parent institutions must establish policies and procedures that ensure a safe and healthy environment for students, instructors, personnel, and animals involved in the educational program.
  2. Student acquisition of safety-related knowledge and skills is an important part of the educational process. The ability to apply these safety-related skills will increase the value of graduate veterinary technicians to the veterinary healthcare team.
  3. It is recognized that compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations can be subject to variances in interpretation and application. Further, state and/or municipal safety regulations may supersede OSHA regulations. Nevertheless, all programs must comply with all applicable safety standards and monitor and maintain safety. Student understanding of basic OSHA concepts must be instilled through the curriculum.
  4. Programs will be evaluated for attention to safety issues in general, with particular emphasis on specific subjects covered under Standards 4 (Physical Facilities and Equipment), 5 (Resources for Clinical Instruction), 8 (Students), and 10 (Curriculum). (see Use of Animals in Veterinary Technology Teaching Programs Appendix)
  5. The following are general safety concerns that CVTEA will review during site visits:
    1. Animal Handling – Because species can inflict personal injury if improperly handled or restrained, understanding and application of proper animal handling procedures must be included in veterinary technology education. In addition, the safety of animals used in program instruction must be considered for all handling procedures. (see Use of Animals in Veterinary Technology Teaching Programs Appendix)
    2. Occupational Safety and Health – While recognizing that health and safety hazards are inherent in veterinary technology education, programs must demonstrate vigilance in taking steps to reduce these risks. All areas in which program student learning takes place must be in compliance with OSHA regulations. In some instances, the CVTEA expectations may expand on OSHA requirements to cover areas not specifically addressed in OSHA regulations. Areas of concern to the CVTEA include, but are not limited to: compressed gas cylinder placement and storage; eye wash (fixed or portable), safety shower, and drench hose availability; radiation equipment, logs, use of dosimetry badges, and exposure records; availability of containers for sharps; secondary labeling of repackaged materials; use of personal protective equipment; anesthetic machine maintenance with vaporizer validation and recalibration if indicated; waste anesthetic gases handling; presence of Safety Data Sheets (SDS); program student pregnancy and rabies and/or other zoonotic disease prevention/vaccination policies; formaldehyde standards; noise; refrigerator contents; safety signage; and imperviousness of surfaces in laboratories, including seat covers, in which potential pathogens and/or hazardous material are used.
    3. Personal Safety – Students and program personnel must be protected from personal harm and injury due to inadequate security. Care must be taken to avoid placing individuals in risk situations as a part of educational activity, e.g., if students are responsible for handling or caring for animals, means must be in place to reasonably ensure student safety. A protocol must be in place for the handling or disposition of aggressive or dangerous animals (such as "faculty only to handle animal" signage or removal of the animal from the program). A process shall be in place to monitor student injuries/safety in all program-related activities including, but not limited to externships/preceptorships. Also, a protocol must be documented that describes the management of bites, scratches, and/or other injuries sustained by students during their educational experience.
    4. Emergency Preparedness – A plan must be in place to address safety issues and animal care/evacuation in the event of any natural or other disaster.
    5. Zoonoses – Students must be educated about the potential risks of animals as a source of zoonotic exposure or disease transmission to humans must be taught, and program personnel must model behaviors that minimize such exposure.
      1. Rabies exposure is an occupational hazard for all members of the veterinary healthcare team, and preventive measures are necessary to protect personnel. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), preexposure vaccination should be offered to persons in high-risk groups, such as veterinarians and their staff. If a program does not require rabies preexposure vaccination for veterinary technician program staff and students, the program must provide documentation of their rabies mitigation plan. This plan must include evidence that Appendix A has been reviewed by the institution, and students have been appropriately educated about rabies risks in their geographic area and worldwide.

Appendix A


Rabies in humans can be prevented either by eliminating exposures to rabid animals or by providing exposed persons with prompt local treatment of wounds combined with appropriate postexposure prophylaxis (including both passive antibody administration and active immunization with cell culture vaccines). In addition, pre-exposure vaccination should be offered to persons in high-risk groups, such as veterinarians, animal handlers, and certain laboratory workers. Student safety must be considered above financial challenges. The Committee is supportive of program's assisting students to manage the cost of vaccination including methods to integrate the cost of the vaccine into tuition or fees that may be supported by federal financial aid.

Recommended sources for guidelines regarding zoonotic disease and rabies protection:
Rabies, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
What is Rabies?, World Health Organization,

Comprehensive Rabies Mitigation Plan Components

  1. Vaccination of mammals with the exception of rodents and rabbits.
    • Documentation of rabies vaccination of all appropriate species within every medical record including date acquired, date vaccinated, holding dates for all animal resource locations. Includes a comprehensive list of all animal resources to include faculty and student sourced animals.
    • Documentation of animals with unknown status including holding period.
  2. Hold/seroconversion period post rabies vaccination (per CDC-28 days).
    • Documentation of holding period including location and handling procedures during the hold
  3. Hold/observation period for vaccinated animals exposed to rabies (45 days, per Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention and Control, 2016).
    • Dogs, cats, ferrets, and livestock current on rabies vaccination with an approved USDA-licensed vaccine should be observed and given a booster vaccination immediately.
    • Documentation of booster vaccination and hold period including location and handling procedures during the hold.
  4. Communication to external parties – animal sources, off-campus sites, externship sites.
    • Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) must include rabies notification showing either the animals or the students are vaccinated. If not, the document must list all the timelines for holding unknown animals.
  5. Communication to internal parties.
    • Documentation that the program’s institutional administration (Office of the President or equivalent level) has been provided comprehensive information about rabies as a disease and has reviewed and approved a) the student vaccination policy, and b) the comprehensive rabies mitigation plan. Documentation that the program consulted with legal counsel to ensure the 
      student vaccination policy and comprehensive rabies mitigation plan comply with applicable law.
  6. Communication to students.
    • Documentation of comprehensive rabies information provided to students indicating student awareness of risk to a fatal disease during the program and in the profession. Explain when the information is made available to applicants and/or students and whether applicants and/or students must sign a recognition form.
    • Documentation of contact tracing of any students that worked with any unvaccinated animals in the event the animal shows signs of or is diagnosed with rabies.
    • Documentation of any student waiver of vaccination for religious or other health reasons with alternate risk mitigation plan.
    • Documentation that student is aware of where to receive rabies vaccine availability and cost assistance (if applicable).
  7. Comprehensive risk assessment taking into account local rabies prevalence.