Apprenticeship Program

Apprenticeship Program

To all Washington State Association of Veterinary Technician Members, including Licensed Veterinary Technicians, Veterinary Assistants, Veterinary Technician Students, and associated veterinary paraprofessionals in Washington State:

Summary: The WSAVT strongly opposes the proposed veterinary technician apprenticeship program and urges veterinary professionals to send a letter of opposition to the Veterinary Board of Governors by September 28th, 2021.

The Executive Board of the Washington State Association of Veterinary Technicians works diligently to follow closely and participate in legislative action regarding Veterinary Medicine within Washington State and beyond. This includes attending the Veterinary Board of Governors (VBOG), Washington State Veterinary Medical Association (WSVMA), and other related board meetings. Veterinary Technicians are directly impacted by these conversations, and it is our priority to have a presence where decisions are being made.

Over the past 18+ months, the Veterinary Board of Governors has been involved in discussions surrounding a proposed veterinary technician apprenticeship program in Washington State. Cascade Veterinary Clinics (CVC), who has collaborated with the Washington State Apprenticeship and Training Council (WSATC) and the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) in the process, initiated the proposal.

In our commitment to full transparency, we are happy to provide all related documents from CVC, WSATC, VBOG, etc., by request.

The WSAVT has listened to these conversations with an open mind. We have attended regular and special meetings to have a full understanding of the proposal prior to taking a position as a board. It is critical that we, as a board representing Veterinary Technicians, Veterinary Assistants, and Veterinary Technician students, explore any opportunity that will elevate the veterinary technician profession and provide a well-grounded path to licensure in Washington State. Ultimately, the proposed apprenticeship program falls short of the standards we, and those before us, have worked studiously to uphold.

After considerable deliberation, the WSAVT strongly opposes the Cascade Veterinary Clinic’s veterinary technician apprenticeship proposal. Our list of concerns is extensive, but the most critical deficiency of the proposed program is the proposed apprenticeship program will not be AVMA CVTEA accredited. The absence of this critical accreditation poses consequential deficiencies, including a total lack of veterinary oversight outside of CVC that ensures the students receive an education that meets the current standards for veterinary technicians.

The WSAVT urges the VBOG to ensure any path to licensure for Veterinary Technicians in Washington State be AVMA CVTEA accredited. 

The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) has been, and continues to be, present for these discussions and has submitted a letter of opposition. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), as requested by the WSAVT and WSVMA, has also been evaluating the proposal and has submitted a letter of opposition as well.

The WSAVT is deeply troubled that the VBOG would consider approving a program that lacks accreditation standards that are critically important to ensuring adequate education of future Licensed Veterinary Technicians. The VBOG’s mission is “to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public and their animals by regulating the competency and quality of veterinary healthcare providers and facilities,” and approval of this program as a pathway for licensure would be contradictory. Furthermore, the VBOG’s possible support of this program demonstrates a gross misunderstanding of Licensed Veterinary Technicians’ role in patient care and their responsibilities to sustain their licensure. 

Potential apprentices that spend their time and energy in this program are not guaranteed licensure in any other state in the event they need to relocate. Reciprocity is critical to the financial stability of Veterinary Technicians, and Washington State must maintain our current integrity of licensure processes that promote it.

Please help us by sending a letter to the Veterinary Board of Governors urging them to deny approval of this program. We encourage you to use your own unique voice but have also provided a document for public use as well. Our hope is the VBOG, and its affiliates will hear the concerns of all the veterinary professionals in our state and reconsider their approach. We also encourage anyone who feels strongly to ask their veterinary colleagues, including DVMs, to submit letters as well.

Please send your letters directly to the VBOG by emailing: loralei.walker@doh.wa.gov. Please include president@wsavt.org in your communication (to or CC) so we may ensure every letter makes it to the VBOG's desk.

Thank you!

The WSAVT Executive Board

For further questions or comments for the WSAVT directly, please reach out at president@wsavt.org.

Click here for a letter you may use to send to the VBOG, voicing your opposition to the proposal.

View the WSAVT & WSVMA's most recent letter of opposition here.

View NAVTA's letter of opposition here.

View the AVMA's most recent letter of opposition here.

View Pierce, PIMA Medical Institute (Seattle & Renton), Yakima Valley, and Bellingham Technical College's letter of opposition here.

View the WSVMA's letter of Opposition from October 2020 here.


Published 09/21/2021.