Texas Veterinary Medical Association


TVMA understands the importance of a well-trained staff. The Certified Veterinary Assistant (CVA) Training and Certification Program was initiated by TVMA to address the staff training needs of veterinarians. If you have a question regarding the CVA program that is not answered below, please contact the TVMA Director of Training and Certification at 512/610-6652.

CVA Training & Certification Program

TVMA offers a simple cost effective option for certification. The TVMA Veterinary Assistant Training Program is standardized and documents the basic skills and competencies required for animal care and assistance. The program will educate veterinary assistants in the essential skills and knowledge needed to become effective contributors to the veterinary medical care team. The best thing about this program is it can be completed either in a clinic or a TVMA approved educational program

In order to receive CVA Level I certification, certain standard requirements must be met. These include:

  • 500 hours of work experience under the supervision of a DVM or LVT
  • Mastering all required Level I material
  • Gaining and demonstrating the hands-on skills listed on the Skills Validation Checklist
  • Exam Application and Skills Validation Checklist completed and approved by the DVM or LVT
  • Successful completion of the certification examination (70%)

To be certified under the TVMA program, the applicant must successfully demonstrate 100% of the required skills and competencies. Some of the required skills may not be regularly practiced in the clinic where the applicant has gained experience.  However, it is the applicant’s responsibility to develop all skills listed. For example, if the required skill states that the applicant has "demonstrated the safe and proper method for placing a halter on a horse," and the clinic where the applicant works does not treat horses, the DVM or LVT who is validating this skill may make this determination by having the applicant describe how this process works and the steps one would take when performing this procedure. Once the supervisor is satisfied that the applicant understands how to perform the skill correctly, they may check the skill off the checklist, even though the actual horse was not available for demonstration.

Upon supervised completion, the Exam Application, Skills Validation Checklist, and payment must be sent to the TVMA office for processing. The certification exam will then be sent to the supervising DVM or LVT, and must be administered within a one-week period. The completed exam and answer sheet must then be returned to TVMA for processing, after which the results will be mailed back to the clinic.  Any applicant who passes the exam will receive a congratulatory letter, certificate and patch. We hope the newly designated CVA will display the certificate in a prominent place and will take considerable pride in their new designation. In the unfortunate event of an applicant failing the exam, the applicant will be eligible to re-take the exam as many times as needed and at a discounted price.

Once the applicant has successfully achieved Level I certification, they must complete six months at Level I before they are eligible to sit for the Level II exam*. This is a standard time requirement that also applies to those moving from Level II to Level III* CVA policies and guidelines posted above for exceptions to this time requirement). Although there is no allotted ‘time maximum,’ TVMA suggests that applicants begin preparation immediately upon receiving Level I certification in order to master the Level II exam material at the conclusion of the six months period. Once TVMA receives the Level II Exam Application and Checklist, the exam will be sent directly to the designated proctor.

The profession of veterinary medicine is ever changing and new knowledge and treatment procedures are developed continuously. Veterinarians must remain current in their license and education and the same is true for Veterinary Assistants. In order to maintain CVA status, the CVA must renew their certification annually. A renewal fee of $30 is due by the renewal month that is indicated on the CVA certificate along with 5 hours of CE. If requirements are not received by the renewal date, the individual is given a two week grace period where a late fee of $15 is charged.  If the renewal fee is not paid and/or required CE is not completed by the deadline, the CVA will be required to successfully pass testing again to reinstate their status. As of January 2011 a CVA is required to take 5 hours of CE per renewal period & these may all be taken online.

Program Fees

TVMA has made every effort to develop the CVA program as a cost effective service to our members and other veterinarians in Texas.  We have priced each component of the program at the lowest possible cost consistent with a high-quality educational and certification program.  These costs are outlined below:

The educational materials for CVA Level I are available for purchase from the Texas Veterinary Medical Association

CVA Continuing Education Requirement

As of January 1, 2011 each veterinary assistant previously certified at any level must complete a continuing education requirement for certificate renewal. During the calendar year preceding the date of expected renewal, the CVA must complete a minimum of five (5) hours of continuing education instruction.  These CE hours may be acquired through any legitimate veterinary educational content produced and provided by a recognized provider, including but not limited to: state and local VMA meetings, online courses, professional seminars presented by veterinary companies, etc. Hours accumulated beyond the five required hours may be carried over to the next year’s requirement. CVA’s may take all five hours of CE online.

CE Proof of Participation
Documentation validating each continuing education activity must be kept on file by the Certified Veterinary Assistant. These records will be audited at random, with a certain number of participants audited each year. When TVMA requests copies of CE documentation the veterinary assistant must provide copies of all documentation for review by TVMA.  Failure to provide sufficient documentation of required CE will be cause for the applicant’s certificate to be deactivated to probationary status.