What is the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE)?

The veterinary technician national examination (VTNE) is an examination used to test a veterinary technician's knowledge and skills. The VTNE is used by most states, provinces, and Canada as a requirement for credentialing. Upon passing the exam, a vet tech will be eligible to receive their certification and become a practicing veterinary technician. This veterinary technician exam is owned and administered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB).

In order to take the VTNE, you must be a graduate of an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) or Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) accredited veterinary technology program or a program approved by the regulatory board governing your jurisdiction. Before you take the exam, you must also submit an application to the AASVB.


  • Multiple-choice
  • 200 actual exam questions and 25 pilot questions (pilot questions are used for future exams and do not count towards your score)
  • Computer-based

The exam is offered three times per year. These testing windows are offered in the spring, summer, and winter. For upcoming dates, visit www.aavsb.org/vtne.

This vet tech exam includes seven major areas of focus (called domains), which are:

  1. Animal Care and Nursing
  2. Surgical Prep & Assisting
  3. Anesthesia and Analgesia
  4. Laboratory Procedures
  5. Pharmacy & Pharmacology
  6. Dentistry
  7. Diagnostic Imaging

Within each domain are task area statements (specific goal-directed actions) and knowledge area statements. See the Veterinary Technician National Exam Candidate Information Handbook provided by the AASVB for more detailed information.

The Veterinary Technician National Exam Candidate Information Handbook provided by the AASVB is the official resource for information about the VTNE, VTNE content, VTNE administration, VTNE eligibility, VTNE application, VTNE registration, VTNE scheduling, preparing for the VTNE, taking the VTNE, VTNE testing centers, and VTNE scores.

You can find the handbook at www.aavsb.org/VTNE/CandidateHandbook

Applying for the Veterinary Technician National Exam

Applying for the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) can be confusing. The following information will hopefully make this process a little easier.

Testing Windows

There are 3 testing windows per year:

  • March 15 - April 15 (Application Deadline is February 15)
  • July 15 - August 15 (Application Deadline is June 15)
  • November 15 - December 15 (Application Deadline is October 15)

Exam Information

There are 200 multiple-choice questions and 25 multiple-choice pilot questions.

You will not know which of the questions are pilot questions, but the pilot questions do not count as part of your score. You will have 4 hours to complete the exam.

Applying for the Exam

There are three steps that need to be completed in order to apply:

  1. Determine eligibility
    1. Requirements for eligibility vary by state or province.
    2. If you do not know your eligibility requirements, you make click here to be redirected to the VTNE site, which allows you to obtain eligibility requirements for your state or province by completing Step 2 on their site.
  2. Apply and pay for the exam
    1. The current cost of the exam is $300:
      1. This includes the Prometric seating fee.
      2. They accept Visa, MasterCard and American Express.
    2. Review the application.
  3. Once your eligibility is confirmed and your application is processed, you will receive an Authorization-to-Test (ATT) email from Professional Examination Service (PES). At this point, you must schedule a date, time, and location to take the exam. It important to note that all communications are sent via email, including score results.
    1. Exams are administered at Prometric Testing Centers:
      1. Prometric Testing Centers are typically in little buildings/offices that have computers in a room set up in a cubicle-style arrangement. The centers have video cameras throughout to help discourage academic dishonesty. Do not be intimidated.
      2. Visit www.prometric.com/aavsb to locate a Prometric Test Center near you.
    2. To schedule an exam appointment, visit www.prometric.com/aavsb or call 1-800-869-1100. Remember you can only do this after you receive the ATT email.
      1. Once you schedule, an appointment confirmation number will be sent to you via email.
      2. The online scheduling option closes 48 hours prior to the testing window.
      3. We recommend scheduling your appointment as soon as you receive the ATT email.
      4. We also recommend you confirm your appointment within 48 hours after making it.

Day of the Exam

  1. Arrive 30 minutes prior to your scheduled testing time.
  2. Bring an acceptable ID (current driver license, passport, national or military ID) that has your name exactly as it appears on your application.
  3. Bring your Authorization-to-Test letter (email).
  4. You may bring earplugs, as there will likely be background noise from other test takers; however no headphones or headsets are allowed.
  5. Testing sessions are videotaped and audio-monitored.
  6. A tutorial will be provided at the beginning of the exam to explain how to mark your answers.
    1. The timed section of the exam will begin after the tutorial.
    2. There is a clock on the computer screen that will show your remaining time.
    3. During the exam you can skip questions, change answers to questions, use the strikethrough feature, and mark questions for review.
    4. There is a calculator on the computer, a timer, and a comment section for each question.
  7. Breaks are allowed during the exam, but the clock continues to run during your breaks.
  8. There is no penalty for incorrectly guessing the answer.
  9. Scratch paper is not allowed.
    1. You will be provided an erasable board for notes.
  10. You will receive a preliminary PASS or FAIL immediately following the exam.
    1. An official score report will be provided via email 3-4 weeks later.

Tips for Passing the VTNE Exam

For tips on taking and passing the VTNE Exam, check out The Savvy VetTech blog.

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