CVA Training & Certification Program

GVMA offers a simple cost effective option for certification. The GVMA Veterinary Assistant Training (CVA) 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 DVM or RVT
  • Mastering all required Level I material
  • Gaining and demonstrating the hands-on skills listed on the Skills Validation Checklist
  • Exam Application and Skills Validation Checklist completed and approved by the DVM or RVT
  • 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 DVM or RVT 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, and payment must be sent to the GVMA office for processing. The certification exam will then be sent to the supervising DVM or RVT, 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 and at a discounted price.


CVA training manual
$169 - GVMA hospital members
$249 - GVMA individual members

Order a manual here.

Certification Exam
$139 - GVMA hospital members
$199 - GVMA individual members

Re-test Fee - $35

Annual 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 month 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 where a late fee of $15 is charged. If the renewal fee is not paid and/or required CE is not completed by the deadline, the CVA will be required to successfully pass testing again to reinstate their status. As of January 2011 a CVA is required to take 5 hours of CE per renewal period & these may all be taken online.