Minnesota creates title protection, licensure pathway for veterinary technicians

State veterinary board will create rules that go in effect in 2026

Veterinary technicians will now be included in Minnesota’s Veterinary Practice Act, a feat that veterinary professionals in the state have been working toward for nearly 20 years.

The bill was included in a 1430-page omnibus package approved by the Minnesota state legislature on May 19 and signed into law soon after by Governor Tim Walz. Its passage means a licensed veterinary technician (LVT) will be regulated by the Minnesota Board of Veterinary Medicine (MBVM).

The legislation authorizes the MBVM to establish licensure and related practice requirements for LVTs. The process is expected to take 12 to 18 months, according to the Minnesota VMA (MVMA), and the rules will become effective July 1, 2026.

Two veterinary technicians in exam room with chihuahua
Legislation recently passed in Minnesota defines veterinary technology as “the science and practice of providing professional support to veterinarians, including the direct supervision of unlicensed veterinary employees.”

To work as an LVT, individuals must graduate from a program accredited by the AVMA Committee on Veterinary Technology Education and Activities (CVTEA) and pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) and the Minnesota Veterinary Technician Jurisprudence Examination. A provision will allow individuals who don’t meet that criteria—but have been working as veterinary technicians for about 2.5 years full time within the last five years—to apply to be an LVT by July 1, 2031.

The MVMA has long had a voluntary certification program for veterinary technicians who graduated from a CVTEA-accredited program and passed the VTNE. However, there was no legal definition of the title nor was there a distinction from persons trained on the job or from those who did not pass the VTNE. Also, veterinary technicians could only work under direct supervision of a veterinarian, who assumed all responsibility for an employee’s professional performance. Now the scope of practice has been expanded to allow remote supervision of LVTs and for LVTs to supervise unlicensed staff members.

Dr. Ann Brownlee, MVMA president, said the bill’s passage was the result of a joint effort by the MVMA and the Minnesota Association of Veterinary Technicians (MAVT) that had started at least two decades prior.

In the last three years, the MVMA met frequently with legislators—both in person and remotely—and received help from their lobbyist. The association also set up townhall meetings with its members to build support.

Dr. Brownlee recalled one veterinarian who talked about seeing a client every day for 14 days just to give an injection because a veterinary technician could not legally do that without direct supervision.

“Veterinarians do value veterinary technicians, so with this, we hope that it will elevate the profession. We’re hoping as the rules get written, veterinarians see we can change the scope of practice a bit, mostly having to do with remote supervision and allowing (vet techs) to work independently and with animals in different situations.”

She continued, “With better utilization, we hope that will help vet techs with their earnings and job satisfaction to use skills they’ve acquired. And title protection is essential. We feel strongly about that.”

Dr. Janet Donlin, AVMA CEO, wrote in a letter of support to the MVMA in 2022, “We support licensure for veterinary technicians to recognize their professional abilities, as well as to enhance veterinary medicine by improving the quality of patient care and providing professional accountability and public protection.

“Licensing these professionals will not only elevate standards of veterinary technology, but also recognize the integral part veterinary technicians already play in veterinary practices in Minnesota.”

Eight states do not currently regulate veterinary technicians, though some have a voluntary credential process: Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wyoming.

“We’re joining majority of states that have some type of licensing or registration for veterinary technicians, and we’re thrilled this has happened and for the state supporting us,” Dr. Brownlee said.