Professional Regulation FAQs *updated November 2021


Background Information

As the professional association for certified veterinary technicians (CVTs) in the state of Colorado, CACVT continues to work toward increasing professional protections. For an overview of past and ongoing regulatory activities, please click HERE.

In November 2020, CACVT submitted a Sunrise Review Application for the profession of veterinary technology to determine whether veterinary technicians should be regulated. The last time a Sunrise Review Application was completed was in 1994, and we all know how far the field of veterinary medicine has come since then! Veterinary technicians are currently regulated in 41 states with varying levels of credentialing, title protection, and CE requirements. In Colorado, credentialing = certification = CVT (as opposed to licensing or registration). For a thorough description of credentialing and the different levels, visit this page on NAVTA’s website. Despite the lack of a credentialing requirement to work as a veterinary technician, we are proud that Colorado, as a voluntary private entity credentialing state, has one the highest number of credentialed veterinary technicians in the US – over 2600!

Concurrently, the Colorado Veterinarian's Practice Act is open for sunset review. A sunset review seeks to determine the ongoing need for regulation of a profession and to address any problems with the profession's statute. To learn more about the Sunset review, visit CVMA's member information page.


Sunrise Review

What is a Sunrise Review? UPDATED NOVEMBER 2021

The Department of Regulatory Agencies states that “a sunrise review explores whether there is a need to regulate a currently unregulated profession or occupation”. This process involves submitting a detailed application to the Colorado Office of Policy, Research & Regulatory Reform (COPRRR) to educate them on occupational responsibilities and how a lack of regulation has been a disservice to the public. Over one year, the application is evaluated, and a comprehensive study is submitted to the Colorado General Assembly. The review process began at the end of 2020 and culminated in the publication of the final report on October 15, 2021. During the review process, DORA Analysts reviewed the application, researched other states' regulation, contacted stakeholders, and created their recommendations. 

The Sunrise Review report was published with a recommendation to regulate veterinary technicians. The review process found evidence supporting creation of a competency-based regulatory program for veterinary technicians, serving two purposes:

  1. Establish a minimum level of competency
  2. Ensure an understanding of the appropriate duties that are permissible while practicing as a veterinary technician

Why are we doing this?

In periodic surveys, our members highlighted professional regulation as a top concern for CVTs. CACVT has functioned as a private-entity certification system for the last 25 years. Although the current system has supported the veterinary community, it is time to prepare for the future. Veterinary medicine is ever-evolving and CVTs have done their part to advance the profession. CVTs are an essential member of the animal healthcare team, with more and more responsibility and utilization as veterinarians increasingly recognize the value of CVTs. To step into their roles in a more comprehensive way, CVTs need to be recognized for their education, diligence, and contribution to veterinary healthcare. Regulation can also provide the differentiation between non-veterinarian staff the public deserves.

In the Sunrise Report Conclusion, DORA stated that "the proper actions of veterinary technicians, both in competency and integrity, are essential. Consumers and patients (animals) rely heavily on the actions of veterinary technicians to ensure, among other things, that they are competently working with veterinarians". They go on to say, "veterinarians rely on veterinary technicians to complete a variety of tasks. It is important for public safety to ensure that veterinary technicians are competent to practice safely, and if they are not practicing safely, it is important that a regulatory authority have the ability to discipline them as appropriate". In other words, this is an opportunity to ensure that when safety is compromised, the appropriate individuals are able to learn from mistakes and grow as a professional. Sharing accountability with veterinarians is imperative to increase veterinary technician utilization. Regulation will provide guidance for credentialed veterinary technicians to understand their role and responsibilities.

How will regulation affect CVTs?

The potential affects are a bit dependent on the level of regulation recommended by COPRRR. To learn more about the different levels of regulation, click HERE. In all instances, credentialing would move to the state in some capacity. The state could have the responsibility to determine the amount of CE needed for renewal as well as credentialing requirements. 

We have a long legislative process ahead of us and will keep you updated on what regulation will look life for veterinary technicians as we move forward following the release of the Sunrise Review. As a reminder, the Sunrise Report does NOT automatically mean regulation, nor does it generate legislation. There will be many points in the process where we will need YOU to share your experience. Keep an eye on our communications for opportunities to get involved!

At this time, CACVT and CVMA are in communication regarding veterinary technician regulation. Please read our joint statement HERE.

What level of regulation has been proposed?

As Colorado is an innovative state, we sought out an innovative solution to regulating CVTs while decreasing barriers to attain certification. Details of a state-endorsed certification process can be found here. This model serves as an example of private entity certification working in tandem with government regulation to protect the public, relieves the government of the burden of establishing and maintaining certification standards, and simultaneously assures the public there is a process in place to allow for verification of certification. Benefits of a model such as this include increased credential portability across states allowing for accurate reporting of malpractice incidents in the state and across state lines, accurate tracking of certified veterinary technicians within Colorado for information dissemination purposes, and an assurance of credentialing for veterinarians to support proper task delegation.

How does DORA determine a need for professional regulation?

When considering whether a profession should be regulated, DORA looks for key criteria as outlined in the Sunrise Review report.

How can you help?

  • To learn more about advocating for your profession, visit Tips on Becoming an Advocate.
  • Watch Advocacy 101 on-demand (worth 2 hours of non-medical RACE approved CE)
  • Combat regulation misconceptions, starting here:

Additional Resources in Support of Regulation of CVTs

Data Supporting Regulation of Veterinary Technicians

Licensure in Veterinary Medicine: How it Protects the Public and Our Animals