VMB Changes Routes To Become An RVT

July/August 2009 California Veterinarian

RVT News

Effective July 13, 2009, the California Veterinary Medical Board (VMB) eliminated two of the registered veterinary technician (RVT) exam eligibility categories and amended the remaining three categories.

Two Routes Dropped

  1. Graduates of a two-year curriculum in veterinary technology that is not accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) or approved by the VMB.
  2. Applicants who had a BS or BA degree in an animal science-related field (including foreign veterinary degrees) and also had 12 months of practical experience under the direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian.

Applicants who would have qualified under these two categories must now apply under one of the remaining three routes.

Three Categories of Eligibility for RVT Certification

  1. Graduates of an AVMA accredited RVT program or a California VMB approved RVT program (this includes distance learning).
  2. Applicants licensed in another state whose licensing requirements are equivalent to California’s. Applicants must have obtained the same direct clinical practice as in-state applicants; however it may be under the direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian outside of California (in the U.S. or Canada).
  3. The alternate route, described below.

The Alternate Route

The alternate route is ideal for candidates who are already working in veterinary medicine and credits them for their work experience (now called “directed clinical practice”). Under the alternate route, in lieu of a two-year curriculum in animal health technology, completion of a prescribed combination of practical directed clinical practice and education can be used to qualify for the RVT exam. To take advantage of this opportunity and to meet its challenges, applicants need to be fully informed of the requirements for being eligible to take the RVT exam through the alternate route.

To apply for the RVT exam under the alternate route, the education requirement for unregistered veterinary assistants with three years of on-the-job training has now been changed to 20 semester units, 30 quarter units, or 300 hours of specific education. The education must be given by a postsecondary academic institution or a qualified instructor and must be properly documented by transcripts or certificates of attendance.

The required directed clinical practice must now consist of at least 4,416 hours, completed in no less than 24 months, under the direct supervision of a California-licensed veterinarian. This experience must be documented by a signed “Task List” showing competence in all the required job skills – the workbook includes a copy of this list. The workbook also includes a list of items to be submitted to the VMB.

Specific questions regarding the alternate route should be directed to the VMB at their website,

The CVMA has updated a comprehensive, 68-page workbook which describes the three remaining ways veterinary technicians can become certified in California, with particular emphasis on the alternate route. Now in its tenth edition, the workbook fully outlines requirements and lists sample test questions, suggested reading materials and the VMB’s Task List.

To order the Roads to RVT Certification Workbook, call 800.655.2862 or email, or order online at:

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