increasing consideration to requirethat all veterinary technicians takethe examination and eventually tolimit the test to graduates of accred-ited veterinary technology programs. As with many professions, contin-uing education is an important as-pect in the career of veterinary tech-nicians. The AVMA first offered a1-day continuing education sessionspecifically for technicians at theirannual meeting in 1978; in 1997,veterinary technicians were includedin the planning of those sessions.Today, 32 states require veterinary technicians to earn continuing edu-cation credits to maintain their cre-dentials. To fulfill this need, bothtechnician and veterinary associa-tions plus regional and national asso-ciations offer multiple-day continu-ing education programs.
In 1981, a group of technicians rep-resenting 20 U.S. states and Canadi-an provinces met in East Lansing,Michigan. Their goal
to improvethe professional and public recogni-tion of veterinary technicians
ledto the formation of the North Amer-ican Veterinary Technician Associa-tion (NAVTA).
NAVTA representsand promotes the veterinary technol-ogy profession; it
provides direc-tion, education, support, and coordi-nation for its members and works with other allied professional organi-zations for the competent care andhumane treatment of animals.
In 1993, representatives from 13countries met to help organize theInternational Veterinary NursesCongress (renamed the InternationalVeterinary Nurses and Technicians Association. The United States wasrepresented by NAVTA, and Canada was represented by the Canadian Asso-ciation of Animal Health Technolo-gists and Technicians. This organiza-tion strives to collect and disseminateinformation, foster and promotehigh standards of education, pro-mote the interests of the profession,and provide advice to professionalassociations.
In 1994, NAVTA began to devel-op guidelines for recognizing vari-ous veterinary technician specialty groups. The Academy of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Tech-nicians and the Academy of Veteri-nary Technician Anesthetists weregranted provisional recognition by NAVTA in 1996 and 1999, respec-tively.In the 18 years since its inception,NAVTA has provided support to itsmembers by initiating the formationof the AVMA/NAVTA liaison com-mittee. This committee has accom-plished a number of major goals: Itdeveloped a position statement rec-ognizing veterinary technology as anintegral part of veterinary medicine;defined the terms
veterinary techni- cian
vet- erinary assistant
; recommended the cri-teria for technicians serving on disasterresponse teams; and helped place atechnician on the AVMA
The future holds some critical junctures for the profession. Amongthese are the debate over titles, re-sponsibilities, education, and qualifi-cations
issues that need to be re-solved for the profession to continueadvancing. In addition, whereas someveterinarians believe there is a short-
September 199920TH ANNIVERSARYSmall Animal/Exotics
Education is Key.
Veterinary technicians play an importantrole in the clinic setting. A 1999
marketprofile study showed that 90%of veterinary technicians areresponsible for client educationand 83% are responsible for staff training.
sveterinary technicians havesignificant input into whatproducts their clinics purchase. A 1994 veterinary sales representativesurvey (conducted by Veterinary Learning Systems and tabulated by Data Vision Research, Princeton,NJ) discovered that veterinary technicians have almost as muchinfluence on purchasing decisions(46.4%) as practice owners do(54.1%).
The first National Veterinary Technician Week is observed
becomes the official journal of NAVTA
age of qualified technicians, many technicians argue that the problem isa shortage of well-paying technicianpositions. A significant number of technicians are moving to higher pay-ing jobs in sales, industry, and re-search or leaving the profession en-tirely, thus contributing to thisperceived shortage. In reality, thenumber of accredited veterinary tech-nology programs is on the rise; also,most veterinary technology programshave waiting lists and are thereforeincreasing class sizes to meet the in-creasing demand for education. A 1994 NAVTA utilization survey documented that most veterinariansare still performing tasks that techni-cians are educated to do (e.g., col-lecting blood samples, taking radio-graphs, placing intravenous catheters,
The AVMA/NAVTA liaison committee is created
NAVTA represents the United States at an organizational meeting of the International Veterinary Nursing Congress
NAVTA hosts the first state representative workshop for leadership training Academy of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Technicians administers its first examination