To work in many states, you must be either a CVT (Certified Veterinary Technician), RVT (registered veterinary technician), or LVT (licensed veterinary technician). This varies by state. Colorado is a CVT (certification) state. To apply to a state for credentialing, you must graduate from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited school such as the Colorado Academy of Veterinary Technology (CAVT).
Although some states allow you to work as a technician (of sorts) without credentialing, veterinarians will prefer to hire you because credentialed technicians possess various skills that enable them to act as fully functioning veterinary nurses. For example, at the CAVT, students learn to place catheters, draw blood, perform blood tests, administer anesthesia, and perform first aid. These are rigorous skills requiring at least two years to learn. CAVT students gain these skills in the CAVT clinic and also engage in a 400-hour internship before graduation from the CAVT.
Credentialed graduates of the CAVT are also eligible to specialize. To apply for specialization, you must log hours in a particular area of expertise, submit case studies, and pass a rigorous exam. Once specialized as a VTS (Veterinary Technician Specialist), you may work at a veterinary specialty center, teach, or consult. These individuals also command higher salaries. This is only available if you are credentialed after graduating from an AVMA-accredited school such as the CAVT.
In addition, only credentialed technicians are, as a technical matter, qualified to administer anesthesia and perform necessary medical calculations needed to dispense drugs. Therefore, life and death issues involving anesthesia and dispensing of drugs should only be performed by qualified personnel. At the CAVT, students learn all the AVMA-required tasks that veterinary technician students must know before graduation.
Call the CAVT at 719-219-9636 to learn more about our school and how to make an appointment for a tour.