Close this search box.

NAVTA Denounces Decision to Permit Veterinary Technician Apprentice Program in Washington State


Bridgewater, NJ – May 6, 2022 – The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) denounces the decision by the Washington State Veterinary Board of Governors (WSVBG) to support the Cascade Veterinary Clinics proposal to establish a self-serving apprenticeship program as an alternative pathway to licensure as a Veterinary Technician in the state.

NAVTA, along with several other veterinary groups, including AVMA, the Washington State Veterinary Medical Association, and the Washington State Association of Veterinary Technicians testified against the proposal at the May 5 WSVBG meeting.

NAVTA noted that permitting this apprentice program contradicts Washington’s state law that prohibits the on-the-job (OTJ) pathway to licensure in Washington and serves only the needs of a self-interested entity that clearly held sway over the WSVBG.

“The Washington Veterinary Board of Governors showed complete disregard to uphold its charge to protect the public,” said NAVTA President Ashli Selke, RVT, CVT.  “The proposer’s apprentice program was – and remains – deficient in many critical areas that put animal and public safety in jeopardy. It is a travesty that, apparently, for some political reasons, the Board approved this proposal.”

The critical deficiencies NAVTA pointed out include:

  • The absence of a requirement that individuals graduate from a program accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) that would provide with the necessary base of knowledge in all
  • The fact that the proposal falsely claimed to be in alignment with the requirements set forth by AVMA’s Committee on Veterinary Technician Education & Activities (CVTEA). The CVTEA requires that all graduates are taught and are deemed competent in over 300 essential skills; the outline provided in the proposal does not align clearly with those skills.
  • The Washington State Apprenticeship and Training Council has no expertise in the field of veterinary medicine and is allowing the proposer to develop at least some of its own curriculum content for Veterinary Technicians, rather than requiring curriculum and facility reviews by objective outside parties.
  • The proposal itself states there can be only one (1) apprentice for each journey-level employee. This will hardly alleviate or positively impact the overall state shortage of Veterinary Technicians, as falsely claimed by the proposer.

NAVTA suggested that the proposer use the time and money needed to start this new apprenticeship program to instead establish a pathway for their veterinary assistants to attend an established online Veterinary Technician program.  NAVTA noted that this strategy has been successfully employed by many veterinary practices over the years and would prove most beneficial to everyone.

Despite overwhelming evidence and testimony about the negative impacts of this proposal, the Washington State Veterinary Board of Governors voted 4-2 to approve it.   The proposal now goes to Washington’s apprenticeship accrediting body for review and possible implementation.

NAVTA and its allied associations are working together to develop unified strategies in their continued opposition to the program.