CVTEA accreditation policies and procedures

Last update to this section: July 2021

Appendix E – Emergency Conditions Policy

The provisions in this policy only apply under Emergency Conditions, as designated by the AVMA-CVTEA.

Emergency Conditions are defined as situations where, in the view of the AVMA-CVTEA, the usual AVMA-CVTEA site visit operations cannot be reasonably undertaken. The first of these Emergency Conditions occurred in March of 2020, where COVID-19 caused the need for the AVMA-CVTEA to conduct site visits that are audio and/or audiovisual in whole or in part ("virtual site visits"). For the purposes of this policy, examples of Emergency Conditions include, but are not limited to, pandemics, large scale natural disasters, and military conflicts.

The AVMA-CVTEA, at is discretion, may designate the Emergency Conditions Policy to apply globally, to an individual country, or to a particular region within a country.

The Committee will notify communities of interest when the Emergency Conditions Policy is in effect. The Committee will reevaluate the plan on an as-needed basis, but no later than at each biannual Committee meeting until the policy is no longer in effect.

The Accreditation Policies and Procedures Manual of the AVMA CVTEA remains the primary source document for policies and procedures of the AVMA-CVTEA. The following policy modifications are designed for use in Emergency Conditions only. All other aspects of the AVMA-CVTEA Policies and Procedures Manual continue to apply.

Assignment of a Contingency Category

Under Emergency Conditions, programs will be divided into Contingency Categories, based on the following Contingency Category Definitions:

Contingency Category Definition
Category 1 New programs, with no previous site visits.
Category 2

Existing programs with;

  • Initial accreditation status
  • Probationary accreditation status
  • Full accreditation status for less than 10 years and/or VTNE 3-year pass rates ≤50%
  • Full accreditation status with unmet critical deficiencies and/or development of new issues of Standards non-compliance during the accreditation cycle.
Category 3

Existing programs with full accreditation status for more than 10 years, and;

  • Unmet major deficiencies and VTNE pass rates ≥50%
  • No deficiencies and VTNE pass rate ≥50%
Category 4

New programs requesting initial accreditation, lacking a CVTEA approved application and confirmed site visit date.

The AVMA-CVTEA will use the assigned contingency category under emergency conditions for risk-based contingency planning.

Site Visits

Upon authorization of the AVMA-CVTEA, a site visit may occur through audio and/or audio-visual means, in whole or in part.

The functions of the virtual comprehensive site visit and the virtual special site visit are the same as those of the comprehensive site visit and the special site visit. Although the conduct of the virtual site visit is similar to that of the non-virtual site visit, it differs in adjustment to its modalities.

In the case where a virtual site visit is conducted, at the sole discretion of the Committee, an In-Person Site Visit may be required within a period not to exceed 18 months. The Committee may grant an extension of up to an additional 12 months to this time period for (Emergency Conditions related) cause.

If site visits are to be conducted virtually, AVMA-CVTEA staff, the Chair of the Site Visit team, and the Program will work collaboratively to determine the most appropriate modalities and Site Visit schedule to facilitate the visit.

Contingency Category Site Visit
Category 1
  • At 8 weeks prior to the scheduled site visit, the AVMA CVTEA will decide whether to proceed with planning for an In-Person site visit or to move to a virtual site visit. If a Virtual Site Visit occurs, an In-Person Site Visit is required within a period not to exceed 18 months. The Committee may grant an extension of up to an additional 12 months to this time period for (Emergency Conditions related) cause.
  • The accreditation decision may be made on the basis of the virtual site visit, or delayed until after the in-person visit, if the CVTEA requires further information to make an accreditation decision.
  • Once the accreditation decision is finalized, it may be made effective from the date of the virtual site visit.
Category 2

Existing programs with;

  • At 8 weeks prior to the scheduled site visit the AVMA CVTEA will decide whether to proceed with planning for an In-Person site visit, or to move to a virtual site visit, or postpone the site visit up to 18 months. If a Virtual Site Visit occurs, at the sole discretion of the Committee, an In-Person Site Visit may be required within a period not to exceed 18 months. The Committee may grant an extension of up to an additional 12 months to this time period for (Emergency Conditions related) cause.
  • The accreditation decision may be made on the basis of the virtual site visit, or delayed until after the in-person visit, if the CVTEA requires further information to make an accreditation decision.
  • Once the accreditation decision is finalized, it may be made effective from the date of the virtual site visit.
Category 3
  • At 8 weeks prior to the scheduled site visit the AVMA CVTEA will decide whether to proceed with planning for an In-Person site visit, move to a virtual site visit, or postpone the site visit up to 18 months.
  • If a Virtual Site Visit occurs, at the sole discretion of the Committee, an In-Person Site Visit may be required within a period not to exceed 18 months. The Committee may grant an extension of up to an additional 12 months to this time period for (Emergency Conditions related) cause.
  • The accreditation decision may be made on the basis of the virtual site visit, or delayed until after the in-person visit, if the CVTEA requires further information to make an accreditation decision.
  • Once the accreditation decision is finalized, it may be made effective from the date of the virtual site visit.
Category 4
  • Site visits may be deferred 12 – 24 months, as scheduling allows.
  • Scheduling priority given to already accredited programs.

Site Evaluation Team

The Accreditation Policies and Procedures of the AVMA Committee of Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA) sets out the makeup of a site evaluation team. Taking into account the Emergency Condition, assembling a full site evaluation team may not always be possible. For the purposes of Emergency Conditions management, the minimum team shall consist of a chair, who is a CVTEA member, or past CVTEA member who has completed their term within the previous 3 years, one veterinarian, and one veterinary technician. The chair may fulfill the requirement for the veterinarian or veterinary technician. Thus, the minimum site evaluation team size will vary between two and three individuals. The site team will be supported by an AVMA staff member.

Follow Up In-Person Site Visits

In the case of programs in Category 1, where a follow up in-person site visit is required after a virtual visit, or for programs in Categories 2 or 3, where the committee, at its option, has required a follow up in-person site visit, the visit will be conducted in accordance with the provisions set forth in Special Site Visit of the Policies and Procedures of the AVMA-CVTEA.

Accreditation Interval

For programs in Site Visit Contingency Category 2 and 3, the AVMA-CVTEA may grant a temporary Emergency Conditions related extension of the accreditation interval by a period not to exceed 18 months.

Accreditation Status Definitions

The definitions of accreditation status remain as per the Policies and Procedures of the AVMA-CVTEA, with the one exception as per below:

The time period of resolution for deficiencies may be extended for (Emergency Conditions related) cause, by up to 18 months under the Emergency Conditions Policy.

Essential Skill Acquisition

The Committee expects all graduates of accredited programs complete all essential skills prior to graduation.

Under Emergency Conditions, the Committee acknowledges that the most challenging skills to ensure student acquisition are the essential skills that are italicized and denoted by an asterisk* in Veterinary Technology Essential and Recommended Skills List of the Accreditation Policies and Procedures of the AVMA-CVTEA Appendix.

For the duration the Emergency Conditions Policy is active, the following accommodation is available regarding the evaluation of essential skills.

If skills have been performed on live animals at clinical experience sites, but not assessed by program personnel, the AVMA-CVTEA will accept alternative documentation of skill evaluation as outlined below.

  1. Attestation

    Attending licensed veterinarian or credentialed veterinary technician that has graduated from an AVMA-CVTEA accredited program at Program approved/affiliated clinical sites signs a written statement to attest that the student completed the task on a live animal consistent with the program's established standardized criteria.

    COMBINED WITH

  2. Summative assessment of essential skills by program personnel

    Signed attestation is combined with a summative assessment where the student demonstrates competency following established standard criteria for each essential skill. Summative assessments must be evaluated by program personnel. Examples may include the student using a model to demonstrate the procedure to Program personnel in real time.

The AVMA CVTEA requires programs to maintain documentation as evidence of skill completion and assessment for future accreditation reporting.

Substantive Change Reports

Under Emergency conditions, the following temporary changes are applicable to substantive change reporting,

  • Temporary changes to the method of delivery of learning in relation to management of the Emergency Condition require notification within 30 days, not pre-approval.
  • Temporary changes to the student clock hours for completion in relation to management of the Emergency Condition require notification within 30 days, not pre-approval.