Frequently Asked Questions
Updated August 14, 2012
What is the RVT Job Title Protection?
The RVT title protection prohibits anyone who was not an RVT licensed in California from using the following titles:
- Licensed Veterinary Technician (LVT)
- Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT)
- Animal Health Technician (AHT)
- Technician or Tech
Persons who are not RVTs may also not use the words certified, licensed or registered, in combination with the words tech, technician, aide or assistant while working in a clinical setting. An RVT who possesses a four-year degree in veterinary science, animal science or a closely related field may use the term “technologist” in place of “technician."
Persons who are not RVTs, may use the following designations in a clinical setting:
- Unregistered assistant
- Veterinary aide
- Kennel attendant or kennel assistant
- Practice Manager
- Technician Assistant
In addition, any person who does not provide medical care to an animal may utilize any common term that does not indicate the provision of animal medical care.
The term "nurse" shall not be used alone or in conjunction with "pet" or "veterinary" by any person in a clinical setting. An RN or LVN who works in a veterinary setting may use their titles or abbreviations provided that their status as an RVT or unregistered assistant is made clear to the public.
How Do I Become an RVT?
Updated July 2012
To be eligible to take the RVT licensing examination, a candidate must meet the requirements of one of three eligibility categories:
- 1. Graduate from, at minimum, a two-year curriculum in veterinary technology in a college or other post-secondary institution approved by the California Veterinary Medical Board (VMB). (Generally an AVMA approved school) or complete a program or curriculum that has been deemed "equivalent" to a two-year approved program by the VMB (California approved school). *
- 4. Licensed, certified or registered as an RVT in another state (or in Canada) and have taken an examination determined by the VMB to be equivalent to the California RVT examination and have at least 4416 hours of directed clinical practice in no less than 24 months under the direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian. **
- 5. Complete a combination of at least 4416 hours of directed clinical practice in no less than 24 months under the direct supervision of a California-licensed veterinarian and 300 hours (or 20 semester or 30 quarter units) of specific education. (This is the Alternate Route). **
Other Requirements for Licensure
In addition to meeting the requirements of one of the above eligibility categories, candidates must be:
1. At least 18 years of age
2. Fingerprinted (live scan) prior to licensure
3. Free of convictions for crimes substantially related to the practice and duties of an RVT. (Anyone who has any convictions should contact the VMB to be sure they will be eligible.)
You can download the California VMB's Registered Veterinary Technician application at: www.vmb.ca.gov/applicants/forms.
Practice Exams are available through the AAVSB: www.aavsb.org/VTNE
* Please Note: Categories 2 & 3, graduation from an unapproved RVT program and possession of a 4-year degree in an animal related science, were eliminated in 2009.
** In 2009, the term practical experience was replaced with directed clinical practice and the number of hours were changed to reflect the State of California’s definition of full-time work.
How Do I Become an RVT through the Alternate Route Eligibility?
Updated August 14, 2012
We've provided answers to the most frequently asked questions:
What are the new CE requirements for RVTs?
Updated August 14, 2012
Essentially, the new regulation states that as of July 1, 2011, RVTs will be required to accumulate 20 hours of continuing education during the 2 years prior to re-licensure. This means that RVTs whose licenses are due for renewal after July 1, 2013 can start taking approved CE courses as of July 1, 2011. If your renewal date is in October 2011, the first time you will be required to have your 20 hours of CE will for your October 2013 license renewal. This means, between October 2011 and October 2013, you must accumulate the required 20 hours of CE.
The law also states that the CE credits must be from an approved provider (virtually all large conferences, like our Back-to-School Conference, are approved CE providers; as is CE given by RVT schools and associations). Four (4) hours of the required 20 hours can be self-study, meaning reading journals or listening to audio or video.
Once your 2-year clock starts running, be sure to keep any CE attendance certificates that you earn. There will be a check-off box on the license renewal form where you state that you completed your required 20 hours. About 10% of licensees will be audited for documentation.
Keep checking our web site for more information as we get it. You can read the entire regulation by going to: http://www.vmb.ca.gov/laws_regs/rvt_language.pdf.
You also can download this pdf of the VMB's explanation of RVT CE accrual timing.