The AVMA recognizes the value of veterinary technicians as an integral component of veterinary medicine and urges full utilization of veterinary technicians. The veterinary profession is enhanced through efficient utilization of each member of the veterinary health care team by appropriate delegation of tasks and responsibilities to support staff.
Veterinary technology is the science and art of providing professional support to veterinarians. The AVMA CVTEA® accredits programs in veterinary technology that graduate veterinary technicians and/or veterinary technologists.
A veterinary technician is a graduate of an AVMA CVTEA-accredited or Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA)-accredited program in veterinary technology. In most cases the graduate is granted an associate degree or certificate.
A veterinary technologist is a graduate of an AVMA CVTEA- or CVMA-accredited program in veterinary technology that grants a baccalaureate degree.
Veterinary assistant: The adjectives animal, veterinary, ward, or hospital combined with the nouns attendant, caretaker, or assistant are titles sometimes used for individuals where training, knowledge, and skills are less than that required for identification as a veterinary technician or veterinary technologist.
AVMA will encourage schools, organizations, and regulatory authorities to use the standard terminology described above, but will not attempt to interfere, except through educational efforts, with the actual terminology used.
Role of veterinary technicians
The veterinary technician's role is to provide professional health care in conjunction with the veterinarian.
The duties of veterinary technicians shall be performed under the direction, supervision, and responsibility of veterinarians. These duties shall be accomplished in compliance with federal, state, and local laws. These duties shall not include diagnosing, prescribing, or performing surgery except where explicitly permitted by regulation.
The veterinary technician must be knowledgeable in the care and handling of animals, their normal and abnormal life processes, medical and surgical nursing, anesthesiology, diagnostic imaging, and clinical laboratory procedures.
Role of the AVMA
The AVMA offers consultation on education of veterinary technicians and other related matters.
The AVMA encourages colleges/schools of veterinary medicine to demonstrate proper veterinary technician utilization for the veterinary students, the economic value of such utilization, and the advantages of effective utilization of veterinary technicians in the delivery of quality veterinary care. Cooperation and affiliation between veterinary technology programs and veterinary colleges/schools is encouraged.
The AVMA makes an ongoing effort to determine and address present and future manpower needs in the field of veterinary technology. Placement services for veterinary technicians are available from the AVMA career development center.
The AVMA recognizes the National Association for Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) as the national organization representing veterinary technicians and the Association of Veterinary Technician Educators (AVTE) as the national organization representing veterinary technician educators.
The AVMA welcomes and encourages the participation and support of veterinary technicians in public relations efforts to promote the use of veterinary services including the appropriate utilization of veterinary technicians.
Individuals contemplating a career in veterinary technology should attend an AVMA CVTEA-accredited program at an institution of higher learning where instruction is conducted in laboratory or clinical settings with the humane use of live animals.
The AVMA CVTEA is charged with the responsibility of providing and monitoring AVMA accreditation of programs in veterinary technology. All accredited programs must meet the Standards of Accreditation of the CVTEA to ensure the quality of the educational experience and the assessment of student knowledge and skills.
The CVTEA encourages the development of additional educational and career advancement opportunities for veterinary technicians. Programs are encouraged to partner with national, state, and local groups to provide these opportunities.
Accreditation of post-secondary educational programs in veterinary technology is based on the provisions outlined in the document "Standards of an Acceptable Program for Educating Veterinary Technicians" as authorized by the House of Delegates in July 1983. The education, development, and accreditation procedures are to be determined and administered by the CVTEA. The Accreditation Policies and Procedures of the AVMA CVTEA are available on the AVMA website.
Accreditation of veterinary medical education programs is conducted within the Education and Research Division of the AVMA. Accreditation activities take place in the Center for Veterinary Education Accreditation (CVEA). The AVMA Council on Education® (AVMA COE®) accredits DVM or equivalent educational programs, and the AVMA Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities® (AVMA CVTEA®) accredits veterinary technology programs.
An institution with a distance learning program associated with a traditional program may request that the distance learning program be accredited separately.
Regulation of veterinary technicians
Examination and regulation of veterinary technicians are the responsibilities of state boards of veterinary medicine, veterinary medical examiners, or other authorized state regulatory agencies.
State veterinary practice acts provide for limitations on veterinary activities performed by non-veterinarians. The AVMA Model Practice Act includes provisions to permit veterinary technicians to perform all activities in which they are educated, but does not allow them to diagnose, prescribe, or perform surgery.
At its June 2006 meeting, the AVMA Board of Directors approved a recommendation that the AVMA recommends that veterinary technician credentialing (i.e., licensing, registration, or certification) entities in the U.S. recognize graduates of Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA)-accredited veterinary technology programs as eligible for credentialing. In turn, the CVMA recommends that Canadian provincial licensing bodies recognize graduates of AVMA CVTEA-accredited veterinary technology programs as being eligible for licensure. As always, eligibility for licensure/registration/certification of veterinary technicians is the purview of each state and provincial credentialing agency.
Veterinary assistant programs
The AVMA does not accredit veterinary assistant programs. Accredited veterinary technology programs that also offer veterinary assistant programs have an obligation to explain program differences to potential students and the community. Any information publicizing the institution's programs should indicate which programs are accredited by the AVMA.
Because establishment of a veterinary assistant program may dilute the instructional resources available for the accredited veterinary technology program, the CVTEA reserves the right to request information about such a program and its relationship with the accredited program.
Veterinary technology programs accredited by the AVMA CVTEA
Accreditation of veterinary technology programs