The CVMA is pleased to now offer its Certified Veterinary Assistant (CVMA CVA) program to high schools, regional occupational programs and technical colleges. The CVMA established the CVMA CVA program in order to provide veterinary practitioners more qualified, more professional, more productive employees in the traditionally entry-level positions of the veterinary support staff. Initially offered as an in-hospital training program, but now CVMA CVA is also being offered by high schools, regional occupational programs, and technical colleges in partnership with veterinarians and RVTs who serve as mentors and program advisors.
The CVMA CVA program emphasizes basic training and skills in a variety of areas, including medical care, client communication and practice safety through online learning and experience in the practice.
CVMA CVA FAQs
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 CVMA committee RVT and DVM members and reviewed by the CVMA RVT Committee.
With the CVMA CVA program, participants increase their knowledge through four components: online education materials, practical experience, evaluation (skills assessments), and a written examination.
Education Complete, with a passing grade, a minimum of nine months or two semesters of an approved high school or adult learning curriculum designed to prepare students for employment in the animal care industry. Applicants are required to view more than 140 videos and documents. Participants learn medical terminology, breed identification, how to give medications, proper lifting and restraining techniques, how to safely handle chemicals – and a lot more.
Experience Students will complete a minimum of 500 hours practical veterinary assisting experience, at least 250 hours with live animals in a hospital setting, up to 250 hours laboratory time. Student CVMA CVA applicants are required to gain practical, real-world experience and demonstrate competency in over 100 skills under the supervision of a California-licensed DVM or RVT.
Evaluation Mentors will evaluate the 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
Examination 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 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 certificate renewal fee.