Veterinary Technician Specialty Approved

The first veterinary technicians to become specialists in dental procedures, ultimately earning the title veterinary technician specialist, will start the credentialing process with the Academy of Veterinary Dental Technicians (AVDT) on Jan. 15. Members of the academy are hoping to start the program with 30 applicants.

A specialty in dentistry is the third specialty approved by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) for veterinary technicians. The other two are emergency and critical care and anesthesia. Approval for internal medicine and behavioral specialties are in the works, says Sara Sharp, CVT and secretary for the AVDT.

“There is huge potential for a lot more specialty groups in the future,” says Sharp, one of 10 board members who will mentor up to three technicians in different areas of the country. Each mentor is limited to three technicians.

Only licensed veterinary technicians with at least one year of experience can enroll in the two-year credentialing process that will cover different facets of dentistry, including periodontics, orthodontics, endodontics and prosthodontics.

Technicians who complete 1,500 hours of education and work with mentors to review case logs will earn the dental specialties in 2006. Technicians will also be required to pass an exam that includes bench, written and practical components. Some technicians may take longer to complete the program, says Sharp, but the AVDT has capped the timeframe at three years.

“Historically there was no place for technicians to go, except management [but] this specialty gives technicians an opportunity to achieve a higher education level and show that they are experts in their field,” says Sharp.

Industry reports show that dental procedures can account for 17 percent of a veterinary practice’s income though it currently accounts for between two and four percent. “The opportunity is huge,” says Sharp. “Our animals are living longer, and periodontal disease is becoming a huge area.”

Technicians who are interested in applying for the new certification program can email Sharp at [email protected] to request an information packet. General AVDT information can be obtained through the website at