As a veterinary professional, you may be looking to expand upon your experience and further pursue a medical area of interest. RVTs can further their training by pursuing a specialty and earning the title of Veterinary Technician Specialist (VTS).

What can I specialize in?

There are a wide variety of specialties a veterinary technician or technologist can pursue.

  • Anesthesia and analgesia
  • Behavior
  • Clinical pathology
  • Dentistry
  • Dermatology
  • Diagnostic imaging
  • Emergency and critical care
  • Equine nursing
  • Internal medicine
  • Laboratory research
  • Nutrition
  • Ophthalmology
  • Physical rehabilitation
  • Surgery
  • Zoological medicine

Where do I start?

In order to become a VTS, you will need to seek out a National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) approved specialty academy. You will need to gain experience in your field of interest and apply for certification. Per the VetTechColleges guide, you can expect the following application materials across most specialties:

  • Completed application with work experience, including proof of 1,000- 10,000 hours of experience in the specialty area
  • Copy of RVT, CVT, or LVT credential
  • Hours of continuing education (CE)
  • Letter(s) of recommendation
  • Skills assessment signed by a supervisor
  • Portfolio of case logs and studies
  • Passing score on a specialized exam
  • Application fee

    Please note that your VTS credentials will require CE hours to maintain.

Tell me about the specialty academies!

Per the RVTCC, an academy “designates veterinary technicians receiving recognition as a specialty and is restricted to credentialed veterinary technicians who must complete a formal process of education, training, experience and testing.” The specialty academy information in the chart has been obtained directly from the Registered Veterinary Technologists and Technicians of Canada (RVTTC) page and reformatted for this article.

Why should I specialize?

Specializing isn’t easy, but it is rewarding. It will not only benefit you as an individual and professional but will also benefit your workplace. The expertise and knowledge a VTS brings to a facility can increase overall facility productivity and provide more opportunities for more client education. Veterinary Technician Specialists are in high demand and typically earn higher salaries than RVTs that choose not to specialize. Specializing can broaden your horizons and lead to more professional opportunities. Many technicians feel more fulfilled in their positions after choosing to specialize.

Ready to take the plunge?

Follow the website links in the chart or check out these resources:

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Specialty of Interest Academy Academy
Anesthesia & Analgesia The Academy of Veterinary Technicians in Anesthesia and Analgesia: Promotes patient safety, consumer protection, professionalism and excellence in anesthesia care and pain management. The Veterinary Technician Specialist in Anesthesia and Analgesia is there to provide your pet with exceptional care before, during and after a procedure.
Behavior The Academy of Veterinary Behavior Technicians: The AVBT promotes excellence in the discipline of veterinary behavior medicine. The AVBT will advance the skills of veterinary technicians within the discipline of animal behavior and further their recognition as critical components of the veterinary behavior team in creating, maintaining and strengthening the human-animal bond.
Clinical Pathology The Academy of Veterinary Clinical Pathology Technicians: Created to advance the area of and promote excellence in the discipline of veterinary clinical pathology.
Clinical Practice The Academy of Veterinary Technicians in Clinical Practice: Modeled after the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners, this academy has developed three initial species-specific categories: Canine/feline, avian/exotic and production animal. The academy’s credentialed veterinary technicians provide comprehensive, multidisciplinary care. Candidates are expected to demonstrate expertise in a range of clinical disciplines within their species specialty.
Dentistry The Academy of Veterinary Dental Technicians: Allows technicians the opportunity to expand their knowledge and their professional value by becoming a credentialed specialist in the field of animal dentistry.
Dermatology The Academy of Dermatology Veterinary Technicians: The purpose of ADVT is to promote excellence through specialization in the discipline of veterinary dermatology by demonstrating an advanced proficiency of dermatologic procedures, working with the veterinary team and client to advocate superior patient care, and providing cutting-edge continuing education.
Diagnostic Imaging The Academy of Veterinary Technicians in Diagnostic Imaging: The AVTDI is comprised of veterinary technicians dedicated to performing a higher level of veterinary Diagnostic Imaging modalities such as: digital radiographs, fluoroscopic special procedures, CT scan, MRI, ultrasound and nuclear medicine imaging.
Emergency & Critical Care The Academy of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Technicians: The AVECCT has the goal of certifying Veterinary Technicians to ensure the veterinary profession and the public that AVECCT certified technicians possess the knowledge and experience needed to work effectively in a well equipped and staffed emergency or critical care facility.
Equine Nursing The Academy of Equine Veterinary Nursing Technicians: Created to meet the needs of the equine veterinary community.
Internal Medicine The Academy of Internal Medicine Veterinary Technicians: A group of RVTs from varied backgrounds who have come together to realize the formation of a new specialty organization specifically for RVTs working in Internal Medicine. Sub-specialties include: small animal medicine, large animal medicine, cardiology, oncology and neurology.
Laboratory Science The Academy of Laboratory Animal Veterinary Technicians and Nurses: Designed to promote excellence in animal welfare and medical care for animals used in laboratory animal settings by specialization in veterinary technology/nursing in the distinct field of Laboratory Animal Medicine.
Nutrition The Academy of Veterinary Nutrition Technicians: Created to develop and support the area of veterinary nutrition, develop the knowledge and expertise of veterinary technicians to become certified in the field of nutrition and endorse technicians as a vital part of the veterinary nutrition profession.
Ophthalmology Academy of Veterinary Ophthalmic Technicians: Advocate ocular health while advancing the knowledge and practice standards in the field of Ophthalmology. The Academy operates under the guidance of NAVTA and ACVO to foster yearly continuing education, professional development, and networking with industry partners.
Physical Rehabilitation The Academy of Physical Rehabilitation Veterinary Technicians: Our mission is to provide assistance in veterinary physical rehabilitation, encouraging veterinary professionals and colleagues to further their education, while improving the quality of animals’ lives.
Surgery The Academy of Veterinary Surgical Technicians: Encourages experienced surgical technicians to enhance their education and training by pursuing a surgical specialty. AVST will provide a standardized route through which technicians may qualify for a national examination to become a VTS (Surgery).
Zoological The Academy of Veterinary Zoological Medicine Technicians: Created specifically for veterinary technicians working in zoological medicine, the AVZMT offers the opportunity for zoo technicians to demonstrate excellence in the field.



“How to Become a VTS – A Guide for Aspiring Vet Tech Specialists.” Vet Tech Colleges, a-vts.

Kramer, Mary Hope. “5 Reasons to Pursue a Vet Tech Specialty.” The Balance Careers, 14 May 2019, vet-tech-specialist-125822.

“Specialties- Laboratorial, Academic, and Societal.” Registered Veterinary Technologists and Technicians of Canada, specialties-laboratorial-academic-societial/.

“Specialties.” National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America,