CVTEA accreditation policies and procedures

Last update to this section: July 2021

VIII. Standard Operating Procedure for Accreditation of Programs Educating Veterinary Technicians

The AVMA accreditation of veterinary technology programs is voluntary. Expenses incurred for a site visit are the responsibility of the program. Communication with the AVMA office prior to application is encouraged and available by contacting the AVMA Division of Education and Research at jhorvathatavma [dot] org; www.avma.org.

  1. Standard Operating Procedure for Initial Accreditation of Veterinary Technology Programs

    Veterinary technology programs seeking initial accreditation must submit an application prior to the enrollment of students.

    Veterinary technology programs seeking initial AVMA CVTEA accreditation are required to submit an Intent to Apply for Initial Accreditation form online at this link: https://form.jotform.com/AVMAConvention/avma-cvtea-intent-to-apply-for-init. Once all the information is completed, reviewed, and verified by AVMA staff, the program will be sent the full Application Material and Review Instrument via the CVTEA Accreditation Portal by Armature (Armature).

    Veterinary technology programs seeking initial AVMA CVTEA accreditation are required to provide the following on the CVTEA Application and Material Review Instrument available from AVMA staff:

    1. Initial Program Application
      1. Prior to the enrollment of students, the program director must file an Application that includes:
        1. Identification of institution offering program
        2. Evidence of institutional accreditation
        3. Rationale for program
        4. Membership roster and charge of advisory committee
        5. Date the program director was hired
        6. Date full-time equivalent veterinarian and full-time equivalent credentialed veterinary technician will be on staff*.
        7. A $3,000 (non-refundable) application fee.
        8. Completed submission of Steps 1 and 2 of the Application Material and Feedback Instrument (available from AVMA staff).
      2. AVMA staff will confirm receipt of initial application within 10 business days of receipt. Confirmation of a site visit date** will be granted upon approval of items requested in Step 2 below.

        *A program director, who is a licensed veterinarian, or a credentialed veterinary technician who is a graduate of an AVMA CVTEA-accredited program must be in place at the time of the initial application for accreditation. The full-time equivalent licensed veterinarian and the full-time equivalent credentialed veterinary technician who is a graduate of an AVMA CVTEA-accredited program must be on staff 3 months prior to the enrollment of students to allow adequate time for curriculum development and course preparation.

        **Site Visit Limitations: The cumulative number of all site visits in a 12-month period shall not exceed 50 so all requests may not be met in a given year. The CVTEA may in its sole discretion and for good cause shown give consideration to exceed the maximum number of site visits. Currently accredited programs will be given priority in scheduling.
    2. Initial Review – Step 1
      1. Prior to student enrollment in veterinary technology specific coursework, the program must submit the following information:
        1. Date students were first enrolled and anticipated date of first graduating class
        2. List of program faculty with date of hire and credentials
        3. Program curriculum outline with suggested course sequence and descriptions
        4. Description of facility to be used for primary clinical instruction
        5. An example of standardized criteria used for evaluation of student acquisition of essential skills
        6. A description of how student acquisition of essential skills will be evaluated and documented
        7. A description of clinical resources available to the program (Standard V)

        Initial Review – Step 2

      2. Prior to animal use in program coursework, the program must submit the following:
        1. Membership of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC),
        2. Example of an IACUC-approved animal care and use protocol, and
        3. Copy of recent IACUC meeting minutes.
    3. Confirmation of Acceptance of Initial Application

      Information received from the program will be reviewed by AVMA staff and CVTEA assigned reviewers. If approved by the CVTEA reviewers, AVMA staff will confirm a mutually agreed upon site visit date. Classes must be in session during the site visit evaluation. An initial accreditation site visit is usually conducted when the initial class has completed approximately two-thirds of the curriculum. A self-study report will be due no later, and no earlier, than 8 weeks prior to the site visit. If the calendar year reaches the maximum of 50 site visits, programs applying for initial accreditation for that year must petition for a site visit. The petition should be in letter format explaining the reasons necessary for a site visit. Petitions for site visits will be presented to the CVTEA for action within 30 business days following approval of the application materials.
    4. The program must then meet the criteria and follow the steps outlined in the Standard Operating Procedures for an Accreditation Site Visit.

    INITIAL REVIEW OF THE PROGRAM AND SCHEDULING OF A SITE VISIT IS NOT A GUARANTEE OF ACCREDITATION NOR DOES IT GRANT ANY TEMPORARY ACCREDITATION STATUS.

  2. Standard Operating Procedures for Re-accreditation of Veterinary Technology Programs

    1. Programs due for re-accreditation are notified of a required site visit approximately one year in advance. Programs should contact AVMA staff to schedule a mutually agreed upon site visit time. Classes must be in session during the site visit evaluation. A self-study report for programs seeking re-accreditation is due no later, and no earlier, than 8 weeks prior to the site visit.
    2. Accreditation may be withdrawn from a program that fails to provide a report of self-evaluation at least 8 weeks before a scheduled site visit; fails to provide an annual, biennial, or requested interim report by the published due date prior to the CVTEA meeting at which the program is to be reviewed; or fails to invite a site visit at the required time.
  3. Standard Operating Procedures for an Accreditation Site Visit (Initial or Re-accreditation)

    1. The program will submit a self-evaluation report (see Self-Study Submission Requirements, Documents, and Comprehensive Verification Materials Appendix) no later, and no earlier, than 8 weeks prior to the site visit.
    2. The self-evaluation report is reviewed by AVMA staff for major deficiencies or any other needed clarification. If no major deficiency is apparent, the site visit date is finalized.
    3. An evaluation team is formed. The evaluation team consists of five members: a chair who is a CVTEA member or past CVTEA member who has completed their term within the previous three years; a veterinarian from the state, preferably a member of the state veterinary medical association; a veterinary technician from the state or within the community the program serves; a public member; and an AVMA staff member. AVMA staff is responsible for identifying the CVTEA member and securing a state veterinarian member. The program director is responsible for providing the names, addresses, phone, and email information of the public member and the veterinary technician as follows:
      1. The name of an individual willing to serve as the public member must be submitted with background information. The criteria used in the selection of the public member specify that they shall not be:
        • An employee, member of the governing board, owner, or shareholder of, or consultant to, an institution or program that is accredited by the CVTEA or has applied for accreditation
        • Associated with the college
        • A spouse, in-law, parent, child, or sibling of any of the individuals listed above
        • A veterinarian, veterinary technician or veterinary assistant, or be associated with the veterinary profession
        • Must not serve on the program's advisory committee or IACUC
      2. The veterinary technician member must be a graduate of an AVMA CVTEA-accredited veterinary technology program and should be chosen by the state technician association, if at all possible. The veterinary technician must not be a graduate of the program being evaluated. Veterinary technicians who do not reside in the same state as the program being evaluated may participate on the site team provided they are a graduate of an AVMA CVTEA- or CVMA-accredited veterinary technology program and credentialed. The veterinary technician must not be a member of the program's advisory committee or IACUC.
      3. To ensure that all matters dealing with accreditation of programs of veterinary technology are conducted in an unbiased manner, the CVTEA has adopted the following Conflict of Interest Policy:
        The site team member:
        • is not currently associated with the program or faculty/staff/personnel being evaluated.
        • is not employed by the program being evaluated.
        • is not a member of the advisory council or animal care and use committee of the program being evaluated.
        • will reveal any potential conflict of interest to the site team (including having graduated from the program being evaluated or provided consultation on accreditation matters with the program being evaluated). Potential conflicts of interest revealed to the entire team may not preclude service on the site team if the team agrees the individual can serve in an unbiased manner.
      4. The program to be evaluated may comment on the membership of the evaluation team after it has been formed and may ask for a change in site team members. Such change must include reasons for this request and take place early enough for a replacement to be found.
    4. AVMA staff will write a first draft report based on the self-evaluation materials and send the draft Report of Evaluation to the evaluation team.
    5. The site visit evaluation is conducted. The site visit will be structured to include sites where primary clinical instruction and/or technical instruction is provided. Video or audio recording of any portion of the site visit evaluation is prohibited. The evaluation team will:
      1. Interview the program director.
      2. Inspect physical facilities, equipment, and library.
      3. Interview faculty members and staff.
      4. Review curriculum and course outlines.
      5. Interview students.
      6. Consult privately to review findings.
      7. Report findings to program director.
      8. Report findings to institutional administration.
      9. Prepare a written report of site visit.
      10. Sign an AVMA CVTEA confidentiality agreement
    6. After the site visit, a second draft Report of Evaluation will be prepared by AVMA staff and distributed to the evaluation team for review and appropriate changes. All documents (print and electronic) related to the site visit are considered confidential. Accreditation materials provided by the program must be returned to the program or destroyed following the site visit. AVMA CVTEA documents and personal notes (print and electronic including email correspondence) relating to the site visit must be destroyed following site team review of the second draft of the Report of Evaluation.
    7. A third draft Report of Evaluation will be submitted to the program director of the institution for (1) factual verification, and (2), at the program's option, a Post Site Visit Response to the critical and/or major deficiencies included in the third draft ROE. If the program intends to submit a Post Site Visit Response, the program must notify AVMA staff of the intent to respond to the critical deficiencies within 10 business days after receipt of the third draft report of evaluation and file its response with the committee within 20 business days after receipt of the third draft report of evaluation. The program's response must only include documentation, data, or other information relevant to deficiencies identified in the ROE that may result in a change in accreditation. The Committee reserves the right to conduct a special site visit, as needed, to validate information submitted for reconsideration.
    8. The site team chair will present a final draft Report of Evaluation, the program's Post Site Visit Response, if any, and site visit information to the CVTEA at the earliest possible regular meeting. Reports from site visits conducted less than 60 calendar days prior to a CVTEA meeting may be deferred and considered at the next Committee meeting. AVMA staff will provide information about the specific dates for consideration of a particular report.
    9. The CVTEA will determine the accreditation status of the program based on a majority vote of CVTEA members.

      If the Committee develops additional critical deficiencies not presented to the program in paragraph 7 which may result in an adverse accreditation action, then it will defer the accreditation decision, give written notice to the program of each critical deficiency, and provide the program with an opportunity to respond in writing. The program must notify the Committee of its intent to respond to these additional critical deficiencies within 10 business days after receipt of the draft report of evaluation and file its response with the committee within 20 business days after receipt of the draft report of evaluation. The program's response must only include documentation, data, or other information relevant to the additional deficiencies identified by the Committee that may result in an adverse accreditation action.

      The Committee will consider the written response and documentation sent by the program within 30 business days of receipt. The Committee reserves the right to conduct a special site visit, as needed, to validate information submitted for reconsideration. Should an adverse accreditation decision be made the program will be notified in writing of the reasons for the action and reminded of the appeal process. An adverse accreditation action is defined in Procedures for Appeal of Adverse Decision on Accreditation.

      After opportunities to respond in writing or appeal have passed or the processes completed, the action of the Committee is considered final and a final report of evaluation is prepared.
    10. CVTEA will notify the program and other stakeholders of the final decision consistent with Program Notification and Reporting to the Community.
    11. The evaluation process is repeated at five year intervals until a program has been fully accredited for two cycles, after which time site visits are conducted at six-year intervals. Major changes or concerns can also precipitate site visits.
    12. All site visit participants are required to sign an AVMA CVTEA confidentiality agreement.
    13. Programs are responsible for all costs associated with the accreditation process including the site visit.
  4. Procedures for Programs with a Classification of Voluntary Terminal Accreditation

    1. Voluntary closure of a program must be reported to the CVTEA within 10 business days of the announcement to close. Programs may request a change in classification status to Voluntary Terminal Accreditation by submitting a request in writing and completing a Voluntary Terminal Accreditation Plan (VTAP) (Email AVMA staff at jhorvathatavma [dot] org for Voluntary Terminal Accreditation Plan Template) within 20 business days of the announcement to close. The VTAP must document how the program will continue to comply with accreditation standards. CVTEA standards that address continuity of the program such as graduate surveys, long term support for the program, etc. are not required to be part of the VTAP. Requests for voluntary terminal accreditation status are submitted to the CVTEA within 30 business days of receipt.
    2. During the period of voluntary terminal accreditation, a special site visit may be required to determine whether the program is meeting the conditions for voluntary terminal accreditation. The site visit and information furnished in writing by the program will be considered by the CVTEA to determine if voluntary terminal accreditation should continue.
    3. Following graduation of enrolled students or their matriculation away from the program, voluntary terminal accreditation will be discontinued.

    Once Voluntary Terminal Accreditation is granted:
    CVTEA will notify the program and other stakeholders of the change in accreditation status consistent with Program Notification and Reporting to the Community. Notification will include the projected date of discontinuation of the program as noted in the institution's VTAP Reports.

    Voluntary Terminal Accreditation is maintained on the condition the program:

    1. Commits resources adequate to support the education and services provided to currently enrolled students that permit them to complete the program.
    2. Discloses the projected date of the planned closure to currently enrolled students.
    3. Submits reports on the progression of the VTAP showing ongoing compliance with applicable requirements to the CVTEA 60 calendar days prior to each meeting.
    4. Does not admit additional students to the program during the period of Voluntary Terminal Accreditation.
    5. Hosts and cooperates in special visits by CVTEA as directed.

    Discontinuation of Voluntary Terminal Accreditation
    In the event any one of the foregoing conditions is not met, the classification status of Voluntary Terminal Accreditation will be discontinued. Discontinuation of Voluntary Terminal Accreditation is not subject to review or appeal.

  5. Procedures for Programs with the Classification of Involuntary Terminal Accreditation

    The classification of Involuntary Terminal accreditation is intended to protect enrolled students from the disadvantage of graduating from a non-accredited program and may continue no longer than necessary to protect the educational interests of such students.

    When Involuntary Terminal Accreditation is assigned:

    1. Within 60 calendar days of being assigned involuntary terminal accreditation, programs must submit a detailed report describing how it will ensure that the educational interests of currently enrolled students will be met.
    2. Reporting to the CVTEA will continue every six months until all students have matriculated from the program. Reports to the CVTEA are due 60 calendar days prior to each meeting.
    3. The program may initiate appeal proceedings as described in the Accreditation Policies and Procedures of the AVMA CVTEA.

    CVTEA will notify the program and other stakeholders of the change in accreditation status consistent with Program Notification and Reporting to the Community.

    Involuntary Terminal Accreditation is maintained on the condition that the program:

    1. Discloses the change in classification status to all current and prospective students including its impact on access to licensure and/or professional certification.
    2. Develops and submits and Involuntary Terminal Accreditation Plan (IVTAP) in accordance with CVTEA requirements.
    3. Submits Reports on the progression of its IVTAP indicating compliance with applicable CVTEA requirements 60 calendar days prior to each CVTEA meeting.
    4. Continues to support the program with adequate resources and services for the students enrolled.
    5. Ensures that the reasons for the change in classification status do not worsen during the period of Involuntary Terminal Accreditation.
    6. Agrees to host and cooperate in special visits as directed by CVTEA.
    7. Notifies CVTEA when all students enrolled when the program's status was changed to Involuntary Terminal Accreditation have completed or matriculated away from the program.

    In the event any of the above conditions is not met, Involuntary Terminal Accreditation will be discontinued. Discontinuation of Involuntary Terminal Accreditation for this reason is not subject to review or appeal.

  6. Procedures for Programs with the Classification of Accreditation Withdrawn

    Students enrolled in a program with the accreditation withdrawn will not be graduates of an accredited program.

    The Committee may assign Accreditation Withdrawn if:

    A) An accredited program has ceased operations.
    B) An accredited program has matriculated all existing students on Voluntary or Involuntary Terminal Accreditation.
    C) An accredited program fails to meet the requirements of its assigned accreditation status.

    When accreditation is withdrawn:*

    A) CVTEA will notify the program and other stakeholders of the change in accreditation status consistent with Program Notification and Reporting to the Community.
    B) The program may initiate appeal proceedings as described in the Accreditation Policies and Procedures of the AVMA CVTEA.

    If after accreditation has been withdrawn, a program wishes to regain accreditation, the program must apply for initial accreditation by completing the steps outlined in the Standard Operating Procedures for Initial Accreditation of Veterinary Technology Programs.

  7. Subsequent Reporting

    Subsequent to receiving initial accreditation, programs are required to submit annual evaluation reports until the program has been accredited for five years. Programs are assigned to either a spring or fall reporting schedule.

    The CVTEA will review the annual report at its next meeting. A change in accreditation status may occur if the Committee finds that a program has not made sufficient progress on critical deficiencies or if other new concerns/issues are identified in reporting.

    A program that has been fully accredited for five consecutive years, and has again been granted full accreditation status after a second complete evaluation and site visit, shall be required to submit biennial reports and shall be subject to a complete re-evaluation every six years unless major changes in the program indicate to the CVTEA that an earlier site visit may be necessary.

    Programs are placed on either a spring or fall annual or biennial reporting schedule. Reports are due for review approximately 60 calendar days prior to the scheduled CVTEA meeting. AVMA staff will announce when reports are due at least six months in advance of the due date. Reports are completed in the CVTEA Accreditation Portal.

    Programs are responsible for completing an annual survey for accreditation purposes. The response deadline is typically March 30 of each year, The CVTEA reserves the right to change the accreditation of a program that, after due notice, fails to submit a self-evaluation, annual, biennial, or interim report or other required reporting. Subsequent accreditation will be considered only after submission of application for accreditation, self-evaluation and other accreditation materials, followed by a site visit to the program. Based on the progress noted in an annual or biennial report, the CVTEA may request an appearance of a program representative at its next regularly scheduled meeting. The cost for such an appearance will be borne by the respective program/parent institution.

  8. Substantive Change

    Substantive changes in the program must be reported within the required reporting timeframe. The report must document how the program will continue to comply with the Standards. Changes requiring pre-approval must be received no later than 60 calendar days prior to the next meeting of the CVTEA. Failure to meet any reporting requirement will result in Probationary Accreditation or Administrative Probation and possible penalty fees or other changes in accreditation status (See Standard 3d)

    The CVTEA requires pre-approval of the following changes:

    1. Changes in courses that represent a significant departure in either content or method of delivery.
    2. Changes in addition of any degree or credential level offered.
    3. Changes in the clock hours (student contact hours) for completion.
    4. Change in required credit hours of 10 percent or more for degree completion.
    5. Enrollment or cohort increase of 10 percent or more of program maximum capacity of students.
    6. Changes in number of cohorts admitted each academic year.
    7. Change in the legal status, form of control, or ownership of the parent college or the institution in its entirety.

    The CVTEA must be notified of any of the following changes in the program within 30 calendar days of implementation:

    1. Change in the established mission, objective, or change in name of degree of the program.
    2. Change in administration (including change of dean, college president, etc.) or organization.
    3. Change in program personnel (including program director, primary program faculty, and staff) assigned 0.25 FTE or more to the Program. This includes leaves of absence for FMLA or sabbatical.
    4. Major changes in physical facilities used for primary instruction.
    5. Changes in off-campus sites that provide primary instructional support where essential skills are taught and evaluated.
    6. Any USDA non-compliance inspection report.
    7. Other changes that affect teaching/education of students.
    8. Changes in general contact information including email, phone, and name changes.
    9. Natural disasters*

    Substantive Change Reports are completed online at: https://form.jotform.com/201344689793063

    Approval of substantive changes is at the discretion of the CVTEA based upon the information received and continued compliance with the standards. A site visit may be required to verify the reported substantive changes.

    Natural Disasters*
    Should the educational program of an institution be disrupted for more than two weeks (for example, closure due to a natural disaster, hurricane, infectious disease, tornado, fire, flooding, etc.), the program must report in writing to the CVTEA the cause of the disruption and remedies to minimize or to provide an alternative educational opportunity for students in response to the disruption.

  9. Program Notification and Reporting to the Community

    Following the final decision regarding the accreditation status of a program, the CVTEA will notify the program of the assigned accreditation status in writing, and where applicable, provide a copy of the final Report of Evaluation. The CVTEA makes every effort to notify programs as soon as practicable, and typically, within 30 calendar days following a decision by the CVTEA.

    The Report of Evaluation is considered private communication between CVTEA and the institution involved. Release of reports shall be at the discretion of the institution.

    The CVTEA also reports its accreditation activities to the public, and other stakeholders, via the AVMA website and other communication modalities. Public notification occurs after an accreditation decision becomes final, and the period for potential appeals and reconsideration has lapsed.

    Each program must notify the public of its performance in educating veterinary technicians by posting on the program's website homepage or direct link from the program's home page the following:

    1. The three-year pass rate (based on a July 1 to June 30 reporting year) on the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE);
    2. The number of first-time candidates that have taken the VTNE, for the corresponding time frame as the reported VTNE pass rate.
    3. The VTNE data on the website must be updated by September 1st of each calendar year. Information released to the public must be current, readily accessible, and accurate.
     

    (July 1, 20XX – June 30, 20XX)

    Number of first-time candidates that have taken the VTNE #
    Three Year VTNE Pass Percentage (%) #%

    Any reference by an institution or program to CVTEA accreditation may state only the following: "[Identification of program] is accredited by the AVMA CVTEA as a program for educating veterinary technicians." If a program wishes to include the AVMA-CVTEA Accredited Logo, only the logo device provided by the CVTEA for this purpose can be used.

    Programs that have had an initial application accepted, may state only the following "(Identification of program)'s application for accreditation has been accepted. An accepted application for accreditation does not guarantee accreditation and applying for accreditation does not grant any temporary status of accreditation."

  10. Accreditation Fees

    An annual accreditation fee is invoiced to all AVMA CVTEA-accredited programs to cover the costs of maintaining accreditation. This fee is adjusted on an annual basis. The annual fee will be communicated to programs via the website or by contacting the AVMA office.

    • This fee also applies in years in which a site visit is conducted; in addition, programs are responsible for all costs associated with conducting the site visit.
    • New programs are assessed an application fee of $3,000 in addition to the costs associated with the site visit. The first annual accreditation fee will be deferred until the year following the initial accreditation decision.
    • Programs reapplying for accreditation following an initial accreditation-withheld decision will be assessed a reapplication fee equal to the amount of the application fee.
    • Failure to pay the annual accreditation fee by April 15 of the assessed calendar year will result in a $500 penalty fee.
    • Programs with unpaid annual accreditation fees as of July 1 of the year due may result in Administrative Probation. Administrative Probation accreditation may result in a penalty fee up to double the annual accreditation fee.
    • Self-study reports received after the required due date may result in a late fee of $250.
  11. Participation of Site Visit Observers

    As a principal goal of accreditation is to improve educational outcomes, it is recognized that observation of the practices of the CVTEA as they conduct veterinary technology accreditation site visits is of value to certain individuals. To facilitate this process, the following guidelines have been established. Observers are welcome to participate in CVTEA site visits if the following conditions are met.

    1. Each observer must meet at least one of the criteria below:
      1. Recently appointed CVTEA member.
      2. Newly appointed director of an accredited veterinary technology program or the program director of a non-accredited veterinary technology program. The program must have submitted an application with CVTEA prior to participation as a site visit observer.
      3. Other individuals who may benefit from observation of the accreditation site visit. The CVTEA will determine if appropriate to observe.
    2. The chairperson of the site team and the program director of the host institution must agree to each proposed observer.
    3. A maximum of two observers (from all sources) may be accommodated on each site visit. Observers will be selected on a first come, first served basis within the constraints of the priority list in Item 1 (see above).
    4. The observer may be recused from sessions that the site team chairperson considers confidential.
    5. Observer requirements

      All observers must:
      1. Arrange to pay the full costs of their participation in the site visit.
      2. Arrange for personal hotel accommodations and transportation to the site visit.
      3. Assume full liability for personal safety during the visit.
      4. Be competent in spoken and written English.
      5. Sign a CVTEA confidentiality statement.
      6. Sign a CVTEA conflict of interest statement.
      7. Prepare for the site visit by reading information provided.
      8. Be cognizant that the role is as an observer.