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NAVTA Response to AVMA Statement on Scope of Practice

The following letter was sent to AVMA Leadership:

In response to the AVMA’s recent statements1 on the scope of practice for non-veterinarians, the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) shares the sentiment that veterinary technicians and team members have not been “utilized to the fullest extent that they could be under our practice act.” NAVTA also appreciates AVMA’s acknowledgment of the “considerable knowledge and skill sets of veterinary technicians.” NAVTA further recognizes the strict guidelines set in place for veterinary technology programs to achieve and maintain AVMA accreditation through the AVMA Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA).

As mentioned in an AVMA article2 on empowering veterinary technicians, “the success of our veterinary practices relies on the performance of the whole veterinary care team. An important — and often underused — role is that of veterinary technicians. Having credentialed veterinary technicians on our teams with the skills we need is a critical part of building an efficient practice; so is leveraging those skills efficiently.” NAVTA concurs.

NAVTA also concurs with AVMA’s recognition that more work needs to be done in leveraging the full veterinary team. In a recent AVMA article3 addressing workforce issues, AVMA stated one way to leverage the full team was by investing in “programs and tools that fully engage veterinary technicians and veterinary technician specialists as part of a veterinarian-led team, and that allow them to practice to the top of their degrees and training…”

NAVTA has a successful history of working with AVMA to advance the Veterinary Technology profession. In the past two years alone, NAVTA’s Government Relations Committee (GRC) has responded to requests in 25 states for guidance or to support legislative initiatives for veterinary technician credentialing, title protection, and scope of practice delineation. Most of these efforts have been in conjunction with our AVMA counterparts. We have also collaborated with AVMA and others to stop proposals that would undermine the value of professional education and credentialing standardization, such as the veterinary technician apprenticeship program in Washington.

Based on this history, NAVTA has an avenue for continued collaboration with AVMA and hereby provides the following action items for AVMA:

  1. Continue the conversation with NAVTA about allowing Veterinary Technicians to become voting members of AVMA.
  2. Actively support NAVTA’s GRC to fill the gaps in legislative protection and require state practice act modifications to include credentialed staff title recognition and protection along with skill delineation.
  3. Activate the Committee Advancing Veterinary Technicians and Technologists, which was formed earlier this year, so that it can begin to create recommendations for advancement of veterinary technology and begin to educate the AVMA membership on the breadth of knowledge and skills required to become a Credentialed Veterinary Technician.
  4. Recommend continuing education for all DVMs on the CVTEA skills list for Veterinary Technicians, the AVMA standards for veterinary technology program accreditation, and the Veterinary Technician Specialty Academies.
  5. Task the AVMA’s CVTEA with outlining specific standards for veterinary technologists and support recognition of the lower-case “g” (e.g. LVTg) used to identify those who have earned a Bachelor’s degree in veterinary technology.
  6. Encourage AVMA members to complete NAVTA’s survey on Legislative Support for Veterinary Technicians.
  7. Cease using the terms “paraprofessional” and “technician” when referring to Veterinary Technicians and use only “Veterinary Technician” or “Veterinary Nurse” (as appropriate).

NAVTA will continue to encourage and implement a collaborative approach with AVMA in matters that involve Veterinary Technicians. We believe we can accomplish our goals through professional and courteous dialogue without placing blame or pointing fingers. To that end, we look forward to NAVTA’s Town Hall meeting on September 5, where AVMA leaders will be present to discuss these goals. For information on that event, please click here.


Jamie Rauscher, LVT
(on behalf of the NAVTA Board of Directors)

Articles referenced: