Certified Veterinary Assistant Program

Certified Veterinary Assistant Program

Forging clearer career paths starting from the veterinary assistant role.

By clearly defining roles and titles based on education and proven skill through assessment and licensure, GVMA believes we can enhance internal career advancement for non-DVM veterinary professionals.
You don’t feel equipped to handle challenging situations
You’re not sure you have what it takes to perform at a high level
Work can leave you feeling isolated and overwhelmed
Expectations and pressures from work impact your relationships

A program designed to address the shortage and retention issues for qualified veterinary support staff.

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"By combining this program with my clinical experience, I became a much more valuable and confident employee, especially when it came to patient care and client interaction."

CVA program graduate, Brooke King​
Lake Oconee, GA

What You Get

Education Manual

A comprehensive training manual is available for individuals or an entire practice. The manual, consisting of educational text, exercises, and other learning experiences arranged in workbook style, includes 10 courses dealing with a wide variety of skills and competencies required for certification.

Skills Development

A CVA must demonstrate competency in dozens of foundational skills

Work Experience

On-the-job training is an important element in this educational model. The CVA is required to accumulate 500 hours of practical, supervised work experience.


A comprehensive certification exam ensures that CVAs possess a sound knowledge base.

What You Gain

For leaders

How will my practice benefit?

For assistants

How will I benefit from becoming a CVA?

Program Fees

Level I

Levels II and III

Training Manual




* Received after successful passing of exam. Pins & Patches available for purchase upon exam order.​

Levels II and III

Please note:​

Program Details

The GVMA certifies the designation of Certified Veterinary Assistant (CVA) for Levels I, II & III. This CVA program encourages continuing education for veterinary medical personnel, enabling them to become more informed, skilled, and trusted members of the veterinary medical team. This program is offered exclusively to GVMA Members and their staff.

GVMA offers a simple, cost-effective option for certification. The GVMA Certified Veterinary Assistant (CVA) 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 in a clinic.

In order to receive CVA certification, certain standard requirements must be met. These include:
  • 90 days of work experience under the supervision of a Licensed Veterinarian or Veterinary Technician
  • Mastering all required material for level of desired certification, as well as previous levels
  • Gaining and demonstrating the hands-on skills listed on the Skills Validation Checklist
  • Exam Application and Skills Validation Checklist completed and approved by the supervising Licensed Veterinarian or Veterinary Technician
  • Completion of the certification examination (70%)

For GVMA certification, applicants must demonstrate 100% of required skills, even if not regularly practiced in their clinic. Responsibility lies with the applicant to develop all listed skills. For instance, if a required skill involves horse care, and the clinic doesn’t treat horses, the supervisor may assess understanding through verbal explanation instead of a live demonstration.

Upon completion, submit the Exam Application, Skills Validation Checklist, and payment to the GVMA office for processing. While the Exam Application can be completed online, the exam is sent only after all items are received. The certification exam is sent to the supervisor, administered within a week, and results are mailed back to the clinic. Successful applicants receive a congratulatory letter and certification; those who fail can retake the exam with a $35 re-examination fee.


CVA Level 1 offers comprehensive learning through a textbook and paper exam.

Hard-copy Training Manual:

  • $169 – GVMA premier members
  • $249 – GVMA individual members

Hard-copy Certification Exam


CVA Levels 2 & 3 are offered through online training via Animal Care Technologies (ACT).

Please Note: Applicants must have passed examination for CVA Level I to receive certification for level II and have passed examination for both levels I & II to receive certification for level III.

Learn more about CVA Levels II and II

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.

Renewal Fee: $30
CE Requirements: 5 hours
Renewal deadline: Due by the renewal date that is indicated on the CVA certificate.

The 5 hours of CE required per renewal period may all be taken online.

If requirements are not received by the renewal date, the individual is given a two week grace period. If the renewal fee is not paid and/or required CE is not completed by the end of the two week grace period, the CVA will be required to successfully pass testing again to reinstate their status.