The Veterinary Technician National (VTNE) Exam is an exam given to measure the competency a prospective veterinary technician should have in order to practice and become credentialed.
The exam is a 3-hour computer-based exam, and consists of 170 multiple choice questions.
20 of these questions are not scored. Instead, they are used as pilot questions – questions that are used for future exams and do not count toward your score.
The American Association of Veterinary State Boards:
The American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) owns the VTNE examination, and oversees it’s administration and development.
Although the AAVSB administers the exam, they DO NOT credential veterinary technicians. For information about how you can get credentialed you will need to visit the AAVSB website.
What is the cost of the exam?
The cost of the exam is $320. You may pay by credit/debit card while completing your online application.
What are the testing dates?
The exam is offered during 3 month-long exam windows throughout the year:
- March 15th to April 15th
- July 15th to August 15th
- November 15th to December 15th
Is it really necessary for me to take the exam?
If your goal is to become a licensed veterinary technician, then yes. You must take the VTNE exam.
Is the exam offered in my state?
Yes. The VTNE exam is offered in all fifty states, and in The District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico.
How can I apply to take it?
You can apply for the exam on the AAVSB website. This is where you will pay the application fee.
After filling out the application, you will have to apply for eligibility.
The process of eligibility includes your school sending over official transcripts and proof of graduation to the VTNE. You will need to apply with your legal first and last name, which is the name on your government issued identification card.
Once you have completed the application process, you will receive information about how you can schedule a test appointment.
*Important: Be sure to submit the required information to your jurisdiction, or to the AAVSB by the posted deadlines.
Where is the exam given?
You will be taking the exam at a Prometric Testing Center. There are more than 300 throughout the U.S. and Canada. To find a center that is closest to you, you can visit the PSI website.
When you show up for your exam, make sure you have your government issued photo ID with you. If you do not have it with you on exam day, you will not be permitted entry.
*Important: Temporary IDs are NOT accepted, nor is any other forms of ID.
What will I be tested on?
The VTNE is broken up into sections, which are referred to as domains, and there are 9 of them. You can also expect to encounter: 38 Task Area Statements, and 50 Knowledge Area Statements.
- Domains are the major areas that are essential for an entry-level veterinary technician.
- Task area statements are specific goal-directed actions undertaken by an entry-level veterinary technician within one of the specific domains of practice.
- The knowledge area statements are acquired from a job analysis study completed by the AAVSB and its exam vendor every 5-7 years.
- Pharmacy & Pharmacology (12%)
- Knowledge of physiology, anatomy, and pathophysiology as it relates to the use of pharmacological and biological agents; calculate medications based on the appropriate dosage in compliance with veterinarians orders; correctly dispense medications in compliance with veterinary orders.
- Surgical Nursing (11%)
- Prepare patient for procedure; apply knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology as it applies to surgical nursing; maintain aseptic conditions in surgery room and throughout the surgery.
- Dentistry (7%)
- Educate client about dental health; apply knowledge of physiology, anatomy, and pathophysiology as it relates to dentistry; perform oral examination along with documentation.
- Laboratory Procedures (12%)
- Knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology as it relates to laboratory procedure; prepare specimens along with documentation for internal and/or external laboratory evaluation.
- Animal Care and Nursing (22%)
- Utilize your knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology as it pertains to patient care and nursing; perform patient nursing procedures. (Some examples of nursing procedures include, but are not limited to catheterizations, restraint, and wound management); documentation of continual evaluations of physical, behavioral, nutritional and environmental status of animals.
- Diagnostic Imaging (7%)
- Apply your knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology as it relates to diagnostic images; maintain imaging/radiograph equipment and related equipment in an effort to ensure quality of results, equipment, operator, and patient safety.
- Anesthesia (15%)
- Assist in the development of the anesthetic plan (administration of medication and monitoring) to enable diagnostic, therapeutic, and/or surgical procedures.
- Emergency Medicine/Critical Care (8%)
- Perform triage on a patient presenting with emergency/critical conditions, including: shock, acute illness, acute trauma, and toxicity; perform emergency nursing procedures, (CPR, control acute blood loss, etc.)
- Pain Management/Analgesia (7%)
- Apply your knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology as it relates to pain management and analgesia; determine the need for analgesia in a patient; educate client in regard to patient pain assessment and management to ensure the safety of patient and client.
How is the exam scored?
In most states the VTNE exam is scored on a scale that ranges from 200 to 800 with a minimum passing score of 425.
The AAVSB scores the exam based on local scoring requirements, so based off of your states scoring requirements, that’s how the AAVSB will determine whether or not you passed the exam.
If I fail the exam, will I be able to take it again?
Yes. If you fail the VTNE exam you may take it up to four times. Keep in mind that you will need to pay the registration fee each time you apply to retake the exam.
If you fail the exam more than four times, then you will need to contact the AAVSB Board of Directors to get approval to take it again.
What if I’m late for the exam?
If you are 15 or more minutes late for the exam, you will NOT be permitted entry. Try your best to arrive at least 30 minutes early.
What if I need a break?
Short breaks are given during the exam, however, its important to note that the clock will keep running.
I don’t know an answer to a question. May I skip it?
Sure. If you don’t know the answer to a question, don’t spend too much time on it. Move on, and if time permits, come back to it later. You can even mark the questions you need to come back to later on if you’re not sure about them.
Will I be penalized for guessing?
Not at all. The exam is scored based on how many questions you answer correctly.
I’m a person with a disability. Will I be offered accommodations?
Yes, but there is an application process that is different from the normal application process. If you are a person with a disability, and need testing accommodations, you will first need to refer to the AAVSB’s instructions, because testing accommodations vary from state to state.
When will I have my results?
Your results will be available to you immediately upon completing the exam. However, a more detailed review of your results will be available to the jurisdiction you listed on your application 2-3 weeks after completing the exam.
I registered for the exam, but then realized that I won’t be able to take the exam on the day that I chose. Can I get my money back?
If you need to withdraw from the exam for any reason, you may do so with a partial refund of the money you paid to register, but you are required to withdraw before the application deadline.
What do I do if I need to cancel the exam altogether?
If you need to cancel the exam altogether you must immediately contact AAVSB directly by email before the application/refund deadline.
What happens if I pass the exam in one jurisdiction, but then move?
If you move to another jurisdiction you may put in a request to have your scores transferred by going on the AAVSB website, and putting in the request there.
*Keep in mind that there is an $85 transfer fee.
How Can I Prepare for the VTNE Test?
That’s a great question. We’ve broken down the answer into three parts.
- Do yourself a favor and study. Do not walk in unprepared. We have recommended prep materials below, but that only helps if you actually try. Plus, studying is actually proven to be the best antidote to test anxiety.
- Take care of yourself. Make sure you’re eating well, exercising, and sleeping. All of these things are scientifically linked to brain performance. If you take care of your body, you’ll be helping your grades.
- Get a study guide or set of flashcards. Some people study better a certain way. Find your study strengths and make the most of them. We’ve tried to make it easy for you by tracking down the best study guide and flashcard set for your exam. Below you’ll see links to both!