New legislation grants Minnesota veterinary technicians the opportunity to be licensed

News
Article

Licensed veterinary technicians, now included in the Veterinary Practice Act, will be regulated by the state veterinary board.

Photo: chokniti/Adobe Stock

Photo: chokniti/Adobe Stock

Veterinary technicians have achieved a significant milestone in Minnesota, as they are now included in the state's Veterinary Practice Act per a recently passed bill. The new incorporation of licensed veterinary technicians (LVTs) into this statute establishes a legal definition for veterinary technicians, which grants recognition for trained and qualified veterinary team members, the Minnesota Association of Veterinary Technicians (MAVT) told dvm360.

“This has been a 20 plus year effort in Minnesota and elevates the veterinary technology profession, providing a career longevity path,” they said.

The bill was passed by the Minnesota state legislature on May 19, 2024, and was then promptly signed into law by Governor Tim Walz, according to the AVMA. Under this new legislation, an LVT will be regulated by the Minnesota Board of Veterinary Medicine (MBVM).1

The legislature gives the MBVM authorization to institute licensure and related practice requirements for LVTs. The Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA) anticipates that the process will take between 12 to 18 months to allow enough time for writing the rules. They will go into effect on July 1, 2026.1,2

“We are excited to begin licensing veterinary technicians in 2026. We feel strongly that this will elevate and sustain the profession for years to come, helping to alleviate the current veterinary technician shortage,” expressed Leslie Kollmann, BS, AAS, CVT, CIC, president of the MAVT; Kim Horne, AAS, CVT, VTS, MAVT charter member and chair of credentials committee; and Sam Geiling, CVT, MAVT interim treasurer, National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America government relations co-chair.

To become an LVT, candidates must graduate from a program accredited by the AVMA Committee on Veterinary Technology Education and Activities (CVTEA) and pass both the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) and the Minnesota Veterinary Technician Jurisprudence Examination. However, a clause in the bill will allow individuals with approximately 2 and a half years of full-time experience as veterinary technicians within the past 5 years, who do not meet these criteria, to apply for LVT status by July 1, 2031.1

In a 2022 letter to the MVMA, Janet Donlin, DVM, CEO of AVMA, expressed support for licensing veterinary technicians. “Licensing these professionals will not only elevate standards of veterinary technology, but also recognize the integral part veterinary technicians already play in veterinary practices in Minnesota,” she wrote, according to the AVMA report.1

For quite some time, the MVMA offered a voluntary certification program for veterinary technicians who completed a CVTEA-accredited program and passed the VTNE. Yet, despite fulfilling these education and exam requirements, there was no legal definition of the title nor a distinction from those trained on the job or from those who did not pass the VTNE. Moreover, veterinary technicians could only operate under direct veterinarian supervision.1

Ann Brownlee, DVM, MVMA president, attributed the bill's success to a long-standing collaborative effort between the MVMA and the MAVT, in the AVMA report. During the past 3 years, the MVMA met with legislators on a regular basis, face-to-face and remotely; received support from their lobbyist; and organized townhall meetings with members. “With better utilization, we hope that will help vet techs with their earnings and job satisfaction to use skills they’ve acquired. And title protection is essential. We feel strongly about that,” Brownlee said.1

Increased efficiency in veterinary clinics across the state

The MAVT told dvm360 about the potential impact of the bill, once in effect, on veterinary clinics across the state. “Veterinary clinics will see increased efficiency as the current language states all veterinary team members must be under the direct supervision of a veterinarian. The new bill outlines that LVTs will be able to oversee veterinary assistants and other team members in tasks delegated by the veterinarian,” they said.

“In addition, a remote supervision definition has been created to increase care for large animal practices. The remote supervision will allow an LVT to do a recheck farm call or administer ongoing medications, with the attending veterinarian available via phone or virtual communication,” the MAVT continued.

In conclusion

In a social media post, the MVMA thanked advocates who contributed efforts for the law’s passage and assured its members more information would be made available. “We expect a lot of questions and needed explanations for what happens next, and we look forward to communicating with you throughout the process,” the Facebook post read.2

Minnesota will now join other states in recognizing and regulating veterinary technicians. Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wyoming still lack regulation of veterinary technicians, although some of them provide veterinary technicians the option to go through a voluntary credential process, according to the AVMA.1

“There are now 8 states remaining without state oversight for veterinary technicians, and we hope that the [veterinary] techs are inspired to rally and work toward Veterinary Practice Act changes. The wording [Minnesota] used, without defining a prescriptive skills list, is a model for other states that have struggled to gain support from veterinarians in those remaining states,” the MAVT expressed.

References

  1. Larkin M. Minnesota creates title protection, licensure pathway for veterinary technicians. News release. American Veterinary Medical Association. May 30, 2024. Accessed May 30, 2024. https://www.avma.org/news/minnesota-creates-title-protection-licensure-pathway-veterinary-technicians
  2. Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association. Facebook. May 28, 2024. Accessed May 30, 2024. https://www.facebook.com/MN.VMA
Related Videos
Managing practice caseloads
Nontraditional jobs for veterinary technicians
Angela Elia, BS, LVT, CVT, VTS (ECC)
© 2024 MJH Life Sciences

All rights reserved.