Certified Veterinary Assistant Program

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.

CVA Program Features
  • 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.
  • Testing – A comprehensive certification exam ensures that CVAs possess a sound knowledge base.
CVA Program Benefits

Benefits to Veterinary Facilities

  • Motivate current personnel to pursue veterinary medicine as a career, resulting in less turnover and investment in replacement and re-training efforts.
  • The CVA, as part of your medical team, demonstrates your practice’s commitment to training and education.
  • Use the comprehensive training manual as the foundation for your staff training program.
  • The CVA program offers real-time progress tracking and results.

Benefits to the CVA Applicant

  • Gain a sound knowledge base to be a more effective and valuable member of any veterinary medical team.
  • Hands-on experiences to demonstrate competency in dozens of foundational skills.
  • Work experience under the supervising DVM or RVT to utilize the materials being learned.
  • Solid foundation to explore further career opportunities in the veterinary medical field.
Getting Certified

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
  • Successful completion of the certification examination (70%)

To be certified under the GVMA 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 supervising Licensed Veterinarian or Veterinary Technician 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, (all located within the manual) and payment must be sent to the GVMA office for processing. You may also complete the Exam Application online, although we will not send the exam until all aforementioned items are received by our office. The certification exam will then be sent to the supervising Licensed Veterinarian or Veterinary Technician, and must be administered within a one-week period. The completed exam and answer sheet must then be returned to GVMA for processing, after which the results will be mailed back to the clinic. Any applicant who passes the exam will receive a congratulatory letter and certification of completion. 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. A re-examination fee of $35 applies per exam.

Applicable Fees


Hard-copy Training Manual
$169 – GVMA premier members
$249 – GVMA individual members

Hard-copy Certification Exam
$139 – GVMA premier members
$199 – GVMA individual members

CVA Level 1 is also available online through ACT. For more info about the online course, visit stafftraining.4act.com/gvma.

Already completed the hard-copy course? Access the Level I Exam Application here.


CVA Levels 1, 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.


Annual Certification Renewal – $30

Annual Renewal

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