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What Certifications Can I Get as a Vet Tech/Nurse?

by Kelsey Wirt, MS, LVT and Josh L. Clark, MS, RVT

As a veterinary technician/nurse, earning additional certifications can enhance your skills, improve job prospects, and possibly increase your earning potential. After obtaining your credentials, you may consider furthering your education in specific areas of veterinary medicine.

Veterinary Technician Specialist (VTS)

The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) offer Veterinary Technician Specialist (VTS) certifications in areas including:

  • Anesthesia & Analgesia
  • Behavior
  • Clinical Pathology
  • Clinical Practice
  • Dentistry
  • Dermatology
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Emergency and Critical Care
  • Equine Nursing
  • Internal Medicine
  • Laboratory Animal Medicine
  • Nutrition
  • Ophthalmology
  • Physical Rehabilitation
  • Surgery
  • Zoological Medicine

Each VTS specialty has its own requirements, which typically include a set amount of work experience in the specialty area, completion of a skills list, case logs or case reports, and passing a specialty examination.

Fear Free Certified Professional

The Fear Free certification program is designed to alleviate fear, anxiety, and stress in pets during veterinary visits. The program equips vet techs with the knowledge and tools to handle pets in a way that reduces fear and stress. This certification is becoming more popular as more clients and veterinary staff look to improve the overall experience for the pet and the client.

Rehabilitation

There are a few options for veterinary technicians/nurses that would like to obtain certification(s) specific to rehabilitation. The University of Tennessee offers three different certifications: Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner (CCRP), Certified Equine Rehabilitation Program (CERP), Certified Canine Fitness Trainer (CCFT).

Another option specific to canines is available through the Canine Rehabilitation Institute called the Certified Canine Rehabilitation Veterinary Technician or Nurse (CCRVT or CCRVN).

Certified Veterinary Pain Practitioner (CVPP)

Offered by the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management (IVAPM), this certification focuses on pain management in animals, a critical aspect of veterinary care. The program is open to licensed veterinary professionals with a certain amount of experience. This certification does require an application process. 

Learn more details about CVPP

Certified Veterinary Practice Manager (CVPM)

For vet techs interested in practice management, the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association (VHMA) offers this certification. It involves studying areas like human resources, law and ethics, marketing, organization, and finance in relation to veterinary practice. 

Learn more about becoming a CVPM

RECOVER

The RECOVER certifications are for veterinary professionals who want to gain knowledge and skills regarding veterinary CPR. There are two options for certification: Basic Life Support (BLS) and Advanced Life Support (ALS). This program is accredited through the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care.

Learn more about obtaining the RECOVER certification

Remember, the need for additional certifications will depend on your career goals and the requirements of potential employers. Each certification requires a significant investment of time and often money, so it's crucial to choose the one that aligns best with your career path. Keeping up with continuing education to maintain these certifications is essential.

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