GENERAL QUESTIONS

What does VTS stand for?
The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America has a special Committee governing Veterinary Technician Specialists.

“NAVTA created the Committee (CVTS) in 1994 to contribute to the development of specialty disciplines for veterinary technicians. CVTS has developed guidelines to assist groups petitioning NAVTA for specialty recognition and has been recognized by the AVMA as the body to oversee the development of veterinary technician Academies”

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What does becoming a VTS mean to me?
“Veterinary Technician Specialties are the next step to advance technicians into the new century, and NAVTA's Committee on Veterinary Technician Specialties is the governing body for granting specialty status.”

Essentially, becoming a VTS in a certain specialty is a way to advance your career and enhance your personal growth. While it may not be a gain for you in salary, it will mean that you are a motivated individual with a love for the practice of veterinary medicine and the quest for further knowledge with hopes of helping not only yourself, but also the client and companion animal.

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What does the VTS (Dentistry) designation stand for?
There are currently two designations for technicians that have extended their studies in veterinary dentistry.

The first is VDT which stands for Veterinary Dental Technician. This is a home study course offered by the American Society of Veterinary Dental Technicians, or ASVDT. This course has one level and involves watching a video tape on basic dentistry and taking a test. If the individual passes the test, they are given the VDT designation by the ASVDT. This is not a recognized designation by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) or the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).

The second designation that can be given to technicians, which is recognized by NAVTA, is Veterinary Technician Specialist or VTS (Dentistry). In order to receive the VTS (Dentistry) designation, the technician must go through a program that has been approved by the Committee for Veterinary Technician Specialties (CVTS). NAVTA/CVTS has very strict criteria for any group of technician specialties that must be adhered to to maintain the integrity of the specialty group recognized. In order for a technician to apply to the Academy of Veterinary Dental Technicians (AVDT), they must have graduated from an AVMA-recognized technician program, have at least 6000 hours as a credentialed technician within the state in which they are employed with approximately 3000 of those hours having been spent in dentistry. If the applicant is accepted into the credentialing program, they must keep a certain number of case logs in different areas of dentistry, write five case reports that are of high enough quality that they can be published in a peer-reviewed publication, take 41 hours of continuing education in various aspects of dentistry which the AVDT has specified and also achieve other high standards specified by the AVDT for credentialing. This program takes approximately 2 years to complete. After the credentials packet is submitted and reviewed and accepted by members of the AVDT credentialing committee, the candidate is then invited to sit for the qualifying examination given by the exam committee of the AVDT. The exam is a three-part examination that tests core disciplines by written, bench (clinical), and practical format. IF the individual passes all three portions of the examination and are approved by the Academy Board of Directors, then they are granted the VTS (Dentistry) title. The technician must then maintain their credentials with the AVDT by continuing their education in dentistry through recertification processes put forth by the AVDT. This requires a certain number of hours devoted to CE, lecture, labs, polishing and teaching others.


In conclusion, the VTS (Dentistry) title is more advanced than the VDT designation and individuals who have received the VTS title possess national recognition for having received advanced level education of acceptable high quality as a veterinary dental technician.

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How do I qualify to credential?
NAVTA/CVTS has guidelines for each specialty academy to follow. These state that the individual must have graduated from an AVMA accredited technician program or be credentialed within the state in which they are employed. The guidelines for the AVDT state that the applicant has had to work in the field of veterinary medicine as a credentialed veterinary technician for 6000 hours with at least 3000 of these hours having been spent in the field of veterinary dentistry before qualifying for application.

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Do I need to commit a lot of time and money to credential?
The credentialing process requires a significant time commitment on your part. There will be case logs, case reports, CE and wet labs and required reading. Most of the CE and wet labs you will need will be provided at the annual Dental Forum. There are also online courses and other local CE that we recommend you take. All CE offered by an AVDT member, or an AVDC Diplomate will also qualify. IF you attend another dental CE meeting, the meeting notes can be submitted to the Education Committee Chair for CE approval towards credentialing. Money will not be a huge commitment. You will need to pay an application fee and an small annual fee, the cost of your CE and the administrative costs for receiving your credentials package and administering the qualifying examination.

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Is there a Society I can join?
We advise that you become a member of NAVTA, become active in your state organization, and also become a member of the AVDS (American Veterinary Dental Society). You can contact them through their website at www.avds-online.org.

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Do I have to travel in order to achieve my goals?
There will be some travel involved. We do recommend attending the annual Dental Forum each year. This event is packed full of fabulous speakers delivering presentations on many different topics, wet labs put on by peers and members of the American Veterinary Dental College, and over forty dental exhibition booths that shouldn’t be missed.

Other national meetings will also be attended by AVDT members such as NAVC, AVMA and AAHA.

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How did the AVDT get its start?
A call went out in 2000 for interested veterinary technicians willing to make the time commitment involved in setting up the academy. The American Veterinary Dental College (AVDC) advised us along with representatives from the NAVTA/CVTS committee. Our application for provisional approval was accepted in November 2002. When the first class of applicants passes the credentials and examination, the academy will be allotted full acceptance by NAVTA.

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Are there other specialty academies?
Yes, there are currently three other specialty academies, Emergency and Critical Care, Anesthesia, and Internal Medicine.

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Can I become a VTS in other specialties than dentistry?
Yes.

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