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Washington State OKs Controversial Veterinary Technician Apprenticeship Program

NAVTA, Coalition Vow to Appeal

Despite strong and compelling arguments by a coalition of veterinary groups to block a proposed apprenticeship in Washington state, regulators recently approved a veterinary technician training program that will bypass the national accreditation system.

The seven-member Apprenticeship and Training Council unanimously granted provisional registration for a three-year program comprising 6,766 hours of on-the-job training, plus lectures and labs, sponsored by a practice group in Central Washington. After one year, provisional registration may be made permanent or continued as provisional through the first training cycle or rescinded following a compliance review.

In a first in the nation, it is not yet clear whether graduates of the apprenticeship will be allowed to take the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) and a state licensing test.  The program is not accredited by the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities and the current rules of the Washington veterinary medical board require graduation from an accredited program. CVTEA was established in 1972 by the American Veterinary Medical Association to develop and implement standards for technician training programs.  The Washington veterinary medical board has informally indicated its willingness to consider a change to its rules, but it has not yet started that process.

NAVTA is part of the coalition of veterinary associations, including AVMA, the Washington State Veterinary Medical Association, and the Washington State Veterinary Technician Associations, that opposed the apprenticeship program.  The coalition is appealing the ruling.