What Do Veterinary Technician Credentials RVT, LVT and CVT Stand For?

Becoming a Veterinary Technician requires some work which requires obtaining certain credentials so one can actually work in the field. These credentials include RVT, LVT and CVT. Just like any other profession, it is important that one knows which credential is needed for what the individual is seeking to accomplish.

In many cases, people either get too many credentials that are not necessary or not enough credentials. Either way, research and communications with people who are already in the industry is vital.

Credentials for Practicing as a Veterinary Technician

The reason why one needs to obtain these certifications is because a Veterinary Technician performs the same duties as a Registered Nurse (RN) does on humans except a Vet Tech does them on animals.

Outside of medical procedures, Vet Techs may be required to other administrative functions like: answering the phone, Scheduling appointments, Greeting patients and pet owners, Maintaining and organizing records and charts, Maintaining inventory, equipment, and supplies. The actual career-focused tasks though include:

  • Taking blood pressure – This can be more difficult than taking blood pressure from a human. A Vet Tech needs to be very careful and in many cases would need to sedate the animal before taking its blood pressure. Although taking blood pressure from an animal is non-invasive, some don’t like any contact from any other human outside of their owner.
  • Administering medications by injection – This can also be very difficult as needles can be painful to animals just as they are to humans. The difference is, humans don’t bite but animals do.
  • Performing laboratory testing – This is a very specific function of Veterinary Technicians and requires education. Not just anyone can test a sample of blood, urine, or fluids without knowing what they are looking at or looking for.
  • Assisting Veterinarians with surgical procedures – This function includes a lot of passing tools and equipment as per the Veterinarians orders. Typically, as a Vet Tech, one would not be making incisions but yet helping the Veterinarian through the process of cutting, stitching, or removing objects from a pet.
  • Performing physical Exams – These duties include things like checking heart rate, checking pulse, looking at teeth, checking hair growth (or lack thereof), evaluating reflexes, checking eyesight and hearing, and much more.
  • Administering feeding tubes – This is probably easier to administer to a pet than to a human. Pets don’t know the function of a feeding tube and have no reason to be afraid of it. Also, it doesn’t hurt them but still does gag them like it does a human.
  • Dressing wounds – This function includes wrapping bandages, applying disinfectants, and removing old dressings and applying new ones.
  • Applying stints – This is very easy but must be done very accurately. Just like humans, applying a stint to a pet must be done with accurate placing and pressure. If done incorrectly, the bone will not heal and may cause further pain and injury.
  • Performing x-rays or other radiological procedures – This is very difficult to perform on pets as one needs to be completely still to get a clear picture. Therefore, in most cases, a pet needs to be completely still. To do this, the Tech will usually have to sedate the pet or it would be near impossible to obtain a clear xray image.

The Credentials for Becoming a Veterinary Technician and the Meanings

The necessity for all or one of the required certifications depend on what state the individual who is seeking this profession reside in as detailed as per the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA). In some cases, all the certifications are required, but in others, one of them may be required.

Each state has different rules on who can and who cannot practice as a Veterinary Technician and what the requirements are. The main difference is in the title of each credential (i.e. license, certification, or registration). Regardless of the credential, most states use the Veterinary Technician National Exam. Whichever is required or sought after, the individual seeking the credential will have to pay some sort of fee. The Following are the credentials required to practice as a Veterinary Technician:

Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) –

This is a probably the lowest ranking credential in the list of credentials for a Veterinary Technician. The CVT is usually furnished privately and not provided by any governmental agency. Therefore, these standards are not set forth by any state or federal agencies but a private agency, school, or learning center.

RVT – Registered Veterinary Technician –

This credential is sometimes not required at all in some states. Furthermore, this credential typically does not require any testing or requirements for registration. Also, the RVT is not always an actual credential but rather a list of Vet Techs practicing in a given state or region that is held but the governmental officials or body of said area. Detailed information about becoming and RVT.

LVT – Licensed Veterinary Technician –

This credential, like the CVT means that an individual met all requirements through testing and evaluation and was furnished this credential because the governing body who issued it believed the individual to be able to perform all tasks as a Vet Tech well and effectively. The LVT is probably the highest level of credentials out of all three listed.
No matter what credential(s) and individual goes for, it is important to fist know what is needed to practice.

As stated above, sometimes people go out and get credentials that are not needed to practice in the field they choose. Therefore, a lot of time and money can be wasted in obtaining credentials that are not needed. Also, some individuals may be short a credential or two which will restrict them from practicing in the capacity that they wish. Again, research is essential in determining what is needed and what is not needed before one becomes a Veterinary Technician.