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September 01, 2020

CVTEA makes accreditation decisions virtually

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AVMA CVTEAThe AVMA Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities granted initial accreditation to five new programs and withdrew accreditation from two during a virtual meeting in April.

There are currently 211 CVTEA-accredited veterinary technology programs which are classified as follows: 165 at full accreditation, 41 at initial accreditation, three on probationary accreditation, and two on terminal accreditation.

The following programs were most recently granted initial accreditation:

  • Black Hawk College, Galva, Illinois.
  • Nash Community College, Rocky Mount, North Carolina.
  • Tidewater Community College, Norfolk, Virginia.
  • Ana G. Mendez University, Barceloneta, Puerto Rico.
  • Ana G. Medez University, Ponce, Puerto Rico.

Initial accreditation is for newly accredited programs and lasts for five years. Graduates of an initially accredited program are considered graduates of a CVTEA-accredited program and are eligible in nearly all states to take the Veterinary Technician National Exam.

The CVTEA uses 11 standards to accredit veterinary technology programs, including standards related to finances, admissions, students, and resources for clinical instruction.

The committee withdrew accreditation from the following two programs:

  • Vet Tech Institute at International Business College, Fort Wayne, Indiana.
  • Vet Tech Institute at Bradford School, Columbus, Ohio.

The CVTEA has 22 site visits scheduled for 2020, as of press time in late July. Fourteen programs have indicated an interest in seeking initial accreditation, and 12 new program applicants have been approved for initial site visits. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, several site visits are being rescheduled or held virtually.

The committee published a COVID-19 policy (PDF). The document, first released in April and updated in June, outlines a contingency system for the site visits planned for 2020 and the foreseeable future.

For example, for Category 1a programs, which are new programs with no previous site visits and with students graduating in the spring, a site visit may be done virtually but will require a follow-up, in-person visit to be done within 18 months. Some site visits have been deferred depending on the category a program was assigned.

The CVTEA has not made any changes to the requirement that all graduates of accredited programs must complete all essential skills before graduation. However, for students graduating in 2020, the COVID-19 policy says, “If skills have been performed on live animals at clinical experience sites previously, but not assessed by program personnel, the AVMA-CVTEA will accept alternative documentation of skill evaluation.”

In addition, the CVTEA has been requiring that every accredited veterinary technology program publicly report the number of students who took the VTNE for the first time and the three-year mean pass percentage.

The CVTEA was to begin requiring that a program’s three-year mean VTNE pass percentage for first-time test takers must be 50% or higher starting Sept. 1. But the committee has now delayed implementing this accreditation standard until Sept. 1, 2021.

“This decision is due to AVMA-CVTEA graduates’ inability or delay in completing the Veterinary Technician National Exam for the spring 2020 testing period, during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the COVID-19 policy says.

There are also about 35,000 veterinary technicians currently enrolled in campus or distance learning programs. The 2018-19 academic year included 5,212 graduates, and of those, 344 graduated with a bachelor’s degree. See a list of accredited veterinary technology programs.

The next CVTEA meeting is scheduled for Nov. 5-8.