The Veterinary Technician National Exam

In today’s economy, becoming a veterinary technician can be an excellent way to ensure both a long-term and financially rewarding career. In addition to the material benefits, this profession is also one that is widely respected among the community due to its importance in caring for many of their beloved pets.

However, in order to become a licensed veterinary technician, the candidate must take and successfully pass the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE).

Preparing for the Veterinary Exam

Like many professional exams, the VTNE is not an exam that can just be taken. Rather, the candidate must fulfill a number of requirements before the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) will permit the individual to apply for and take the test.

Becoming Eligible For the VTNE

In order to be considered eligible for the VTNE, the candidate must have completed and properly documented all the pre-requisites the AAVSB requires.

It is vital that the candidate follow these requirements to the letter, as well as reviewing any possible changes in the current standards for eligibility. Failure to do so could result in delays in the processing of his or her application, or even the outright rejection of the application, forcing the candidate to repeat the process at some later date.

The requirements for taking the VTNE are the following:

  • The candidate must have successfully graduated from a veterinary technician program that is accredited by the AAVSB. Depending on the course of study, this may require either two years or four years of course work.
  • Official transcripts must be delivered to the AAVSB by the test application deadline. These transcripts must be official transcripts with a date of graduation and must come directly from the school. Copies mailed by the student will not be accepted.

Alternative Study Methods For the VTNE

There are several other alternative ways to qualify for the VTNE, but they are not universal and vary from state to state. They include the following methods:

  • On the job training, where the candidate has worked with a qualified veterinarian and can document his work experience, may be accepted in some states. Currently, these states include Alaska, Delaware, Wisconsin and Washington. However, the candidate should make certain to verify that his or her state accepts this type of experience, and most especially determine what the requirements are for properly documenting it for the AAVSB.
  • Some states permit graduates of other, related programs to take the VTNE. This varies from state to state and so the candidate should consult with his or her state veterinary or licensing board to determine what, if any, alternate study paths can permit the student to take the VTNE.

Taking the VTNE

The VTNE is a comprehensive exam, designed to evaluate the student’s understanding of the veterinary knowledge needed to effectively carry out the responsibilities of a vet tech. It is continuously updated to reflect the most recent advanced in veterinary science, and is developed and written by skilled veterinarians.

The VTNE is taken via computer, and the test center will provide all needed materials. The candidates will be allowed four hours to complete the test. Finally, candidates should plan to arrive at least 30 minutes prior to the start of the test, as refunds are only granted for valid excuses for missing the test starting point.

Contents of the VTNE

The VTNE is a multiple choice test, with 200 operational multiple-choice questions and 25 pilot multiple choice questions which will be used to further improve the test. Only the operational multiple-choice questions count in evaluating the candidates score.

The VTNE exam covers the following fields of information:

  • Seven primary fields of responsibility, representing the primary duties of a veterinary technician.
  • A group of task area statements, covering 23 separate domains. These are specific examples of a veterinary technician’s duties under the supervision of a qualified veterinarian.
  • Additionally, 47 knowledge area statements are included, representing the basic knowledge that is needed to carry out duties within the seven primary fields of responsibility.

Passing the Test

The VTNE is evaluated using a scaled score, and the passing score for the VTNE is 425 or, 75, depending on the method the individual state uses. The score is automatically reported to the state the candidate indicated on his or her application and needs no further action on her part.

Retaking the Test

Should a candidate fail to pass the VTNE, he or she may attempt to retake the test. However, there are limitations on when and how many times a candidate can retake the VTNE. These include the following restrictions:

  • A candidate may only take the VTNE once every 91 days.
  • The VTNE may not be taken more than three times in any given year.
  • The candidate must pay the full application fees for each time he or she retakes the test.
  • A candidate may not take more than five VTNE’s without the specific approval of the AAVSB. It should be noted that the AAVSB is not required to provide more than five tests and may demand proof that the candidate has taken action to rectify the problems responsible for their previous failures.
  • Finally, some states will have their own restrictions on how many times a candidate may take the VTNE if it is for licensing within the state. It is important that any individual who is seeking to retake the test also consult with his or her state licensing agency.

Taking the VTNE is the final step before being eligible to become a licensed veterinary technician. By preparing for this test, the candidate can ensure that he or she will be able to pass it with little difficulty, opening the path to a rewarding career as a veterinary technician.

We’ve put together some tips on passing the VTNE.