Registered Veterinary Technician Certification Requirements

To be eligible to become a Registered Veterinary Technician in California, the applicant must be at least 18 years of age, have Livescan® fingerprints submitted to the VMB, must have passed the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) by applying directly to the American Association of Veterinary State Boards, and meet any one of the following three qualifying educational/experience criteria:

1.     Be a graduate of an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited RVT (Registered Veterinary Technician) program or a graduate of a California Veterinary Medical Board (VMB) approved RVT program. List of RVT approved programs. Business and Professions Code 4841.5 – Eligibility for examination 

2.     Complete a combination of 20 semester units, or 30 quarter units, or 300 hours of specific education and 4,416 hours of directed clinical practice experience in no less than 24 months under the direct supervision of a California licensed veterinarian (Alternate Route).

This route is designed for individuals already working in a veterinary setting who do not meet any of the other eligibility categories. Required coursework may be obtained in formal academic institutions, private programs, or through individual course offerings. Coursework must be completed within five (5) years prior to taking the examination and documented by transcripts or certificates of attendance. The directed clinical experience must be completed in no less than 24 months and no more than 5 years prior to taking the examination. Practical experience must be documented by a signed Task List showing competence in all the listed tasks.

Because the Alternate Route is the most complicated eligibility category, the CVMA RVT Roads to Certification Workbook provides detailed information to assist candidates using this route. While the Workbook is designed to help candidates navigate the complexities of the requirements, specific questions regarding the Alternate Route and acceptable course work should be directed to the VMB. California Code of Regulations – Section 2068.5

3.     Licensed, certified or registered as an RVT in another state and have 4,416 hours of directed clinical experience completed in no less than 24 months under the direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian.

Candidates using this route must not have any disciplinary actions against them that the VMB determines constitute evidence of a pattern of incompetence or negligence.  To be eligible, a candidate must be able to provide proof of current certification and a signed Task List documenting completion of the required 4,416 hours of directed clinical practice experience. California Code of Regulations – Section 2068.6

More information about RVT eligibility requirements may be accessed on the Veterinary Medical Board website here.

California Veterinary Medical Association
1400 River Park Drive, Suite 100, Sacramento, CA 95815
(916) 649-0599; fax (916) 646-9156; e-mail:

© 2022 California Veterinary Medical Association

California Veterinary Medical Reserve Corps

Want to do something that saves lives, feels good and helps your community? Then volunteer to help animals when disasters...


Join the CVMA

As a CVMA member, you’ll have access to outstanding benefits and services.

View the benefits of membership »