To receive the CVMA members-only $50 annual subscription discount, use code CAVET50 at checkout.
CVMA Certified Veterinary Assistant Private Practice Program
CVMA CVA Private Practice Program
Veterinary practices can provide their veterinary assistants the opportunity to advance their knowledge and learn the skills needed to increase their value as a member of the veterinary practice team.
The CVMA CVA private practice program emphasizes training and skills in a variety of areas, including medical care, client communication and practice safety through online learning and experience in the practice. A veterinarian or RVT will mentor the student throughout the program and assess and verify their skills along the way. Students in the program acquire their online education along with on-the-job practical experience and skills assessment and then go on to take their final examination online.
The CVMA CVA Committee oversees the program. This online program was created uniquely for the CVMA by Animal Care Technologies (ACT). Exam questions were written by the CVMA committee RVT and DVM members and reviewed by the CVMA RVT Committee.
With the CVMA CVA Level I program, veterinary assistants increase their knowledge through four components: online education materials, practical experience, evaluation (skills assessments), and a written examination.
Through this CVMA-endorsed program, veterinary assistants learn the skills and knowledge needed to advance their careers and be effective members of the veterinary team. Applicants are required to view more than 100 videos and documents as they participate in this online education. Participants of the CVMA CVA Level I program learn medical terminology, breed identification, how to give medications, proper lifting and restraining techniques, how to safely handle chemicals – and a lot more.
The CVMA CVA Level I applicant is required to complete 600 hours of hands-on training. By learning on-the-job from highly trained veterinarians and RVTs, students are able to continue working while they are learning. This model is not only an effective method of learning, but it also makes sense in tough economic times. CVMA CVA student participants will learn job duties such as how to care for animals, how to assist veterinarians during examinations, how to communicate with clients and their pets, and how to schedule appointments.
Mentors will evaluate the CVMA CVA Level I applicant’s ability to accomplish 100 skills from these areas of the task list:
- Communication and Client Relations
- Office Procedures and Medical Terminology
- Animal Identification
- Animal Restraint
- Safety Concerns and Cleanliness
- Auxiliary Skills
- Pharmacy and Pharmacology
- Laboratory Procedures
- Diagnostic Imaging
- Veterinary Dentistry
- Surgical Preparation and Assisting
To become certified for two years, upon completion of the experience and education components and verification of this by ACT, applicants must pass a certification exam. The online exam consists of 100 randomly generated questions. The CVMA CVA Level I applicant will have a two-hour time limit to complete the exam and must score 75% or higher.
Maintaining CVMA CVA Certification
After becoming certified, CVMA CVA certificate holders may renew their certification by completing ten hours of continuing education from an approved provider list and pay a minimal certificate renewal fee.
CVMA CVA Level I Program General Requirements
- Applicant must be 16 years of age or older.
- Practice must designate a California-licensed DVM or RVT mentor
- Mentor must complete and return mentor responsibility agreement.
- Limit of five CVMA CVA applicants per mentor.
The CVMA CVA program is affordable and efficient. To participate in the CVMA CVA program, practices must subscribe to the Animal Care Technologies (ACT) training library. The annual subscription allows the entire practice access to ACT’s complete training library and it allows up to 10 users at one time to participate in the CVMA CVA curriculum. Each staff member can learn at their own pace and there is no long term commitment. To receive the CVMA members-only $50 annual subscription discount, use code CAVET50 at checkout.
Certification testing fees are paid as each applicant for the CVMA CVA Level I and Level II program takes their final exam. The test fees are $169 CVMA members / $203 Non-members. (Practice must have at least one CVMA member veterinarian to receive the member discount.)
10 hours of continuing education units are required every two years. Minimal certificate renewal fee.
Benefits to Veterinary Practices
- High-quality training for students on a flexible schedule.
- Improve patient care.
- Up to 10 staff members at one time (additional seats can be purchased) obtain access to the CVMA CVA curriculum and more than 1,000 training videos from ACT in both English and Spanish closed caption.
- This interactive format allows mentors to easily track the progress of veterinary assistants.
- Multiple staff members can enroll in the program at the same time, each working at their own pace.
- Reduced turnover by creating career opportunities, not just jobs.
CVMA CVA Level II Training Program
Veterinary practices can also provide their Level I CVMA Certified Veterinary Assistants the opportunity to advance their knowledge even further with training in the CVMA CVA Level II program. They will learn the skills needed to increase their value as a member of the veterinary practice team even further! CVMA CVAs will complete three components in this advance program: online education (130 videos), evaluation (skills assessments task list), and a written examination (passing score of 80% required). A student is eligible to take this test for the Level II course if they are a current CVMA CVA in good standing.
Benefits to Veterinary Assistants Enrolled in the Program
- Experience professional growth and increase your value to the veterinary team.
- Become skilled at medical terminology and understand patient diseases.
- Continue to work in a veterinary hospital while learning online.
- CVMA CVA certificates upon completion of the Level I and Level II programs.
- One-year complimentary membership in the CVMA upon certification.
RVTs and CVMA CVAs
RVTs and DVMs have the opportunity to be mentors to students enrolled in the CVMA CVA program. RVTs benefit from having more informed and skilled team members and serve as role models to the CVMA CVA students. The CVMA CVA training process also helps veterinary assistants appreciate the advanced knowledge and skills of RVTs.
One goal of the CVMA CVA program is to increase the expertise of veterinary assistants in California and encourage advancement to becoming an RVT. However, the curriculum is not a substitute for technical colleges that train RVTs. CVMA CVA participants who are interested in doing so are encouraged to take the next step and enroll in an RVT program.
For more information on the CVMA CVA program, contact Laura Phillips at the CVMA at 800.655.2862.
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