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 Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to be a graduate of an AVMA approved veterinary technology program?

Currently no, but you must hold an active license to practice as a veterinary technician in some state or province.  International applicants must meet the requirements set forth in their country to be considered a credentialed veterinary technician/veterinary nurse.  You must hold an active license for all years of work experience shown on the application.  A copy of your current in-date license is required.  If you are a graduate of an AVMA approved veterinary technology program, a copy of your diploma may be requested. 

Do I have to work with a veterinary anesthesiologist?

At this time working specifically with an anesthesiologist is not required.  However, AVTAA requires an applicant to work with a board certified doctor (preferably an anesthesiologist, surgeon or criticalist), board eligible doctor (completed a three year residency but has not passed the certifying examination) or VTS (preferably anesthesia, surgery or ECC) throughout the application process.  It is strongly encouraged that an applicant work with a boarded specialist or VTS at least 2-3 years before applying.

The board certified doctor, board eligible doctor or VTS will be required to sign the letter of agreement, skills verification form and must be willing to write 1 of 2 required letters of recommendation.   

What are the work experience requirements?

You are eligible to apply to the AVTAA after you have completed a minimum of 8000 hours AND a minimum of 4 years of work experience as a credentialed veterinary technician/veterinary nurse.  During that time, you must have provided a minimum of 6000 hours (75% of 8000) of anesthesia care as described in the AVTAA definition of anesthesia. For the purpose of this eligibility requirement, the definition of anesthesia care as established by the Academy of Veterinary Technicians in Anesthesia and Analgesia will be used.  Work experience is ONLY counted for the 5 year period immediately preceding the year you plan to apply and all work experience MUST be completed by June 1st of that year. 

Do I need to work at a specialty/referral hospital?

AVTAA does not directly specify the type of practice that you must work at.  However, the application process requires you to demonstrate your advanced anesthesia knowledge and skill by anesthetizing patients that present with some type of systemic disease or condition.  At least 75% of the case logs and all 4 case reports must be performed on patients that qualify as ASA III or above.  You will need to demonstrate your ability to anesthetize patients with a wide array of systemic diseases or conditions.  The best locations to be involved with these types of cases tend to be specialty/referral practices that employ board certified doctors in a variety of disciplines. 

How do I account for my Continuing Education?

The application requires that you show at least 40 hours of CE.  All CE hours for the application must be directly related to anesthesia or peri-operative analgesia.  The presenter of a CE lecture must meet AVTAA requirements.  Make sure you obtain a CE certificate and keep detailed records of all lectures attended at a particular conference.  

The required 40 CE hours can be obtained via the following formats: in person national/state conferences, interactive (live) virtual conferences, on demand virtual conferences, online courses and webinars.  In addition, CE can be obtained from these formats with restrictions:  in-house CE (10 hours max), externship (10 hours max) or journal/magazine articles (3 hours max).  
Please see the application instruction packet for specific details pertaining to presenter qualifications and the definitions for each type of CE format. 

How many case logs must I submit?

The application requires that you have a minimum of 50 acceptable case logs. The maximum number of case logs that can be submitted is 60. If only 50 cases are submitted, a single unacceptable case could result in the application being rejected. Submitting only 50 case logs is NOT advised!  

The case logs must include a variety of patients with an ASA physical status of I - V.  Only 25% of the case logs (12 cases) should be ASA I or II, including ASA IE and ASA IIE cases. The remainder of the case logs should contain cases that qualify as ASA III or higher (including emergencies in these categories).The case log should reflect the diversity of systemic diseases/conditions, species and procedures to which you have experience providing anesthesia care.

How do I write an acceptable case report?

The case reports should demonstrate your knowledge, skills and abilities in advanced anesthesia case management.  The case reports must be written on cases that classify as ASA III or higher.  It is strongly recommended that each case report represent a different systemic disease/condition or procedure in order to show diversity in drug protocols and anesthesia case management.  

The case report should describe, in detail, how the patient was evaluated and managed during all phases of anesthesia (e.g., pre-anesthetic, induction, maintenance, recovery).  Utilize critical thinking skills to present the information in a logical manner.  Only provide pertinent details about the case that directly relate to anesthesia care and case management.  There is a case report outline in the application instructions that details the information that must be contained within the report.  There are specific formatting requirements for these reports that MUST be followed. The complete anesthesia record must be included for each case report. 

What does it mean to master a skill?

Mastery is defined as being able to perform the task safely, with a high degree of success, and without being coached or prompted.  Mastery requires that the applicant has performed the task in a wide variety of patients and situations.  Performing the skill a handful of times does not meet the definition of mastery.  In order to include a skill in the case logs it must be considered mastered by the time the applicant uses the skill for the application. A skill should NOT be performed for the first time in a case used as a case log. 

The applicant must demonstrate mastery of 90% of the skills in the core section and 50% in the supplemental section of the small animal OR large animal combined skills lists by properly describing the skills in the case logs.  To be included in the application the skills must be performed between January 1 and December 31 of the year you plan to apply.  All skills MUST be performed at your place of employment. 

Who can verify mastery of my skills?

The AVTAA requires that a board-certified (diplomat) doctor (preferably an anesthesiologist, surgeon or criticalist), board eligible doctor (completed a three year residency but has not passed the certifying examination) or VTS (preferably anesthesia, surgery or ECC) who works directly with the applicant verify that all indicated skills for a particular practice have met the definition of mastery by the applicant.
If an applicant works at multiple locations during the case collection year, then an AVTAA approved individual must sign the skills verification form for each location.