Frequently Asked Questions
Why did we form the Academy of Veterinary Technicians in Anesthesia and Analgesia?
Veterinary medicine has seen a rapid growth in knowledge and technology in the past several decades. Veterinary technicians/nurses have worked with veterinarians during this period of rapid growth and change. As in human medicine, the ability to specialize in one particular area is also available to veterinarians. Because veterinary technicians work closely with veterinary specialists (e.g. anesthesiologists, surgeons, criticalists, etc.) they may find themselves developing a passion for that area of specialization. The AVTAA's purpose is to recognize veterinary technicians/nurses who have achieved an advanced level of knowledge and clinical skills in the area of veterinary anesthesia and analgesia.
AVTAA is one of 16 VTS academies recognized by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA). https://www.navta.net/veterinary-technician-specialties/
How will the technician benefit from becoming credentialed in the AVTAA?
The application process is designed to push a veterinary technician/nurse to a higher level of clinical knowledge and skill. Instead of simply carrying out a task that the DVM requests, this process requires the veterinary technician/nurse to understand why that task was ordered in the first place. Achieving the Veterinary Technician Specialist (VTS) credential promotes recognition of a higher level of competency in both knowledge and skill. Many of our members go on to speak at national/international veterinary conferences, teach courses and author book chapters or articles. While some VTS do see an increase in pay from their place of employment, this tends to be a low motivator by itself to complete the VTS process.
How do I become a member?
Becoming a member requires a lot of self-motivated hard but rewarding work. You must be a credentialed veterinary technician (veterinary nurse) in order to be eligible to apply. A credentialed technician is a person who holds an active license to practice as a veterinary technician in some state or province. In the USA, this requires passing both the VTNE (excluding CA prior to 2014) and state examinations (if applicable). International applicants must meet specific requirements set forth by each country. The first step is completing the pre-application process. This will verify your work experience and credentials. If approval is granted you are eligible to submit a complete application at the end of the year. The complete application requires you to maintain a case log for the year immediately prior to submission. In addition you will need to show proof of continuing education in anesthesia, documentary evidence of advanced competence in veterinary anesthesia skills and author four case reports that detail your advanced anesthesia knowledge and skill. If your complete application is accepted, you will then be eligible to sit for the certifying examination. Passing the exam will earn you the VTS (Anesthesia & Analgesia) title.
NOTE: AVTAA does not support use of the title Veterinary Nurse for any credentialed veterinary technician residing in the United States or Canada. Veterinary Nurse refers only to international applicants who are legally given that title.
What should I know about the application process?
The application process is very detailed and specific instructions are provided in the application packet each year. It is imperative that you follow all requirements and use all forms in the application packet for the year you plan to apply. This is a professional application and should be an example of your highest quality of work. Presentation of the material (e.g. attention to detail) is just as important as what is said to adequately demonstrate your advanced anesthesia knowledge and skill.
What type of examination will be offered?
The examination is 200 multiple choice questions, along with a separate short answer clinical competency exam.
What type of questions will be asked on the exam?
Topics to be covered on the examination are those that are crucial to anesthesia and analgesia, and include topics that relate in some way to anesthetic care and case management. Broad topics to be covered will include, but are not limited to: all phases of anesthesia (premedication, induction, maintenance, recovery), peri-operative analgesia, anesthesia machines and equipment; complete anesthesia case management for conditions involving a wide array of body systems (e.g., cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, hepatic, renal, endocrine, neurologic, musculoskeletal, reproductive, etc.); fluid/electrolyte/Acid-Base; Pharmacology; and Anatomy/physiology.
When will the next examination be offered?
The exam is offered yearly in September in conjunction with the IVECCS conference.
How do I prepare for the examination?
Reading journal articles or books, and attending anesthesia or perioperative analgesia continuing education is a good start. Please see the Reading List for additional resources.