(Editor’s note: The author uses the terms credentialed, licensed, etc. interchangeably within the contest of this article.)

It’s exciting; you’ve spent countless hours in class, and even more time studying, and you’ve finally graduated and passed your national and state exams. Now what?

As you continue to grow your knowledge base and expand clinical skills, how can you continue to ensure you’re staying on top of licensing requirements?

Let’s start with the basics:

  • The American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) owns and administers the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) but does not credential veterinary technicians.
  • Take note of which governing body oversees veterinary technician credentialing in your area. This can and will vary by state, and may be the state’s veterinary medical board, department of agriculture, or other government agency.
  • Research the requirements for veterinary technician license renewal.
    • Each state will have a set standard of license renewal timeframes and requirements for renewal, including (but not limited to) a set number of continuing education hours.
    • It is imperative to understand what is required for your license renewal, as well as to keep track of when you are due to renew. Some states may be based on the calendar year, while others may be based on the date you first became licensed.

Stay organized!

  • As veterinary technicians, most of us excel at organization on the job!
  • Extend those organizational skills to managing your credentials.

Keeping track of Continuing Educations (CE) hours can seem daunting! Avoid a last-minute scramble to remember all the details of your CE hours when it’s time for license renewal.  It’s much easier to keep track of those CE hours as they are accrued. Start a spreadsheet, mark them in your calendar or planner, or keeping a running list.  Start a folder (digital or otherwise) and keep all of those CE certificates in one place.  Make sure to keep track of the date, title of presentation, and speaker, as well as the number of CE hours obtained.  The AAVSB also offers a free database, RACErack, that allows you to record and store your CE details in one centralized location. Some states may even accept reports directly from your RACEtrack account.

What are all these associations?

There is always confusion surrounding state and national veterinary medical boards, veterinary medical associations, and veterinary technician associations.
To put it briefly:

  • Veterinary Medical Boards often license practitioners, investigate complaints, and discipline professionals, as well as uphold the state’s veterinary practice act. Their executive boards are often appointed.
  • Veterinary Medical Associations (state or national): advocate for members and aim to advance the profession through various means. There are often benefits to a membership.  VMA memberships are most often only for veterinarians.
  • Veterinary Technician Associations (state or national): advocate for members and aim to advance the veterinary technician profession through various means. VTA memberships are restricted to veterinary technicians, though some allow veterinary assistants and other staff members to hold limited memberships.
    • VTAs can only be as strong as their membership! In the last several years, many VTAs have made fantastic efforts in improving the veterinary technician profession, by lobbying their state’s veterinary medical boards to make favorable changes upholding their titles, scope of practice, and other changes.