If I am a member of SLAVT am I also a member of the ALAVTN?
No, the two groups are separate entities. The Society of Laboratory Animal Veterinary Technicians (SLAVT) is an AALAS affiliate and supporting society of the Academy. Academy membership is obtained by meeting certain requirements, submitting a comprehensive application, and taking an exam.
What are the differences between the ALAVTN membership certification and the already existing AALAS and Academy of Surgical Research (ASR) membership certifications?
The major difference between the ALAVTN membership certifications and the AALAS membership certifications are the application requirements and “accreditors”. All ALAVTN applicants must be a credentialed veterinary technician or nurse (RVT, CVT, LVT, LVMT, AHT or RVN) in good standing. The focus of the ALAVTN exam is clinical medicine based, rather than husbandry, regulatory and operations based. AALAS is a well-known self-accrediting association and as such is the authoritative body over the membership credentials it recognizes with its own registry system. The ALAVTN is an incorporated professional membership with a rigorous application process for membership but abides by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America’s committee of veterinary technician specialty guidelines to maintain active and continued recognition as a veterinary technician/nurse specialty provider with collaborative oversight by the AVMA.
The major difference between the ALAVTN certifications and the ASR certifications are the application requirements. ASR applicants are not required to be a credentialed veterinary technician or nurse in good standing. ALAVTN applicants are required to be a credentialed veterinary technician or nurse in good standing and completed a much more rigorous process to become members. ALAVTN also does not allow membership to the Academy without having gone through and passed the application and exam process. Membership certifications are also designed to accommodate non-surgical, or anesthesia focused veterinary technicians and nurses. The Academy of surgical research is a well-known self-accrediting association and as such is the authoritative body over the membership credentials it recognizes with its own registry system.
Are the ALAVTN certifications better than the AALAS certifications?
No, the ALAVTN exam was designed specifically to compliment the AALAS membership certifications. Applicants must already hold or be eligible to sit for the AALAS provided Laboratory Animal Technologist exam or the Canadian equivalent. We work in collaboration with the AALAS board to maintain mutual respect and support of each other’s efforts.
Are the ALAVTN certifications better than the ASR certifications?
Part of our mission is to advance the veterinary nursing field by stricter regulation of who is best qualified to perform certain veterinary care tasks and minimum education/certification levels to practice veterinary medicine. We feel this is pivotal in the advancement of the veterinary nursing profession giving us the ability to ask for increased wages and harbor respect from the veterinary and non- veterinary community. Part of this is advocating for credentialed veterinary technicians and nurses who have graduated from an accredited veterinary technician or nursing programs or taken the steps to become credentialed in their state, province, or country. While we applaud the intent and advancement ASR has provided for credentialed and non-credentialed professionals with their membership certifications, for those working in research we as an Academy are catering only to credentialed veterinary technicians and nurses. We feel credentialing among those considered veterinary technicians and nurses is the minimum requirement in our goal of better respect and recognition.
What organizations or associations oversee the ALAVTN specialty certification?
The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in American (NAVTA) is the direct accrediting body over all the recognized veterinary technician specialty Academies. We are the 14th academy to have received approval and support from NAVTA.
The American Association of Laboratory Animal Science has supported for the formation of this Academy, and we hope to continue close collaboration between the organizations in support of credentialed veterinary technicians and nurses seeking advancement in the areas of clinical and research based medical skills and knowledge.
While not a governing body of the academies, but the accrediting association for veterinary schools (including technical schools) and the specialty colleges for the veterinarians, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) also supports and recognizes the veterinary technician specialty academies as an important advancement in veterinary nursing.
The American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine (ACLAM) and the Association of Laboratory Animal Practitioners have also expressed their support of the ALAVTN.
As an employer what should I expect from someone who has a certification from the ALAVTN?
Employers who seek a professional, highly skilled, and knowledgeable candidate can be assured that anyone holding an ALAVTN credential has gone through a strenuous and validated process to prove and assess their clinical skills and knowledge base. This was achieved by proving employment in animal research for no less than 3 years, a challenging skills list that must be completed with a mastery of each skill verified by a technician specialist or veterinarian, proof of continuing education by highly qualified individuals, a case log describing their effort and skill base, multiple case reports describing their mastery of said skill, clinical knowledge, and critical thinking skills, and finally a validated exam. The exam is validated by several DACLAM veterinarians as well as other veterinary specialists to the relevancy in laboratory animal medicine. All applicants must have also completed or be eligible for the AALAS Laboratory Animal Technologist (LATg) exam, showing competency in laboratory animal regulations, facilities management, and animal husbandry.
What do I as an applicant have to gain from achieving an ALAVTN membership certification?
While most applicants complete the process as a means of personal professional growth, the applicant should know they are part of an elite group of individuals who have completed a complicated and professional membership exam. This is the veterinary technician or nurse equivalent to passing specialty boards like veterinarians attaining DACLAM status.
Some employers may choose to financially compensate employees who take and pass the exam as described in a 2013 study of other technician specialists already in existence. Greater than 50% of employers compensated, by means of a raise, to employees who successfully completed the exam.
Becoming a VTS/VNS also opens the door to professional speaking and writing as a recognized specialist in your field. Many conference planners, magazine or journal editors prefer individuals with specialty designation.