Become a Specialist

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Achieving the VTS (Behavior) Specialist Credentials Requires

  • An accumulation of skills and knowledge gained over time that meet the standards set forth by AVBT under the guidance of NAVTA

  • Self-study through books (AVBT’s Reading List link…), webinars, conferences, courses, etc

  • Self-assessment to identify knowledge and skill weaknesses and strengths

  • Reaching out to other qualified pet professionals to round out your skills (this may be in addition to your current job duties)

  • Support from veterinary colleagues and often your employer to allow for your skills expansion

  • Time to dedicate toward achieving the standards within the packet and compiling the packet

  • Finances to purchase educational materials and/or attend educational courses/conferences

  • Finances to cover the cost of packet submission, exam fee and travel to the exam site

How do I get started?

  • Candidates must be credentialed veterinary technicians, licensed or certified to practice in the state in which they reside.

  • Prospective candidates should join the Society of Veterinary Behavior Technicians (SVBT) to gain access to valuable continuing education and CE announcements, networking opportunities, and access to the webinars, newsletters, and online groups especially for SVBT members. Technicians and other animal care professionals with an interest in behavior should consider joining SVBT even if their eventual goal is not a VTS.

  • Additionally, it would benefit candidates to join the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) and become an active member of the state organization.

  • Candidates for the exam must provide proof they are members of NAVTA and SVBT when submitting their membership packets.

  • Prospective candidates should familiarize themselves with the recommended reading list, skills list, and basic requirements for the candidate packet described further below.

  • Extensive continuing education, clinical practice, and skills assessments must be completed before candidates can apply to be considered to take the exam.


Candidate Packet Requirements

*All packets must be received by February 28th to be considered for examination.

Exams are given every other year, during even years.

Candidate Packet Checklist

  • Cover letter

  • Signed Application Agreement

  • Candidate’s CV

  • Proof of NAVTA and SVBT membership.

  • Proof of graduation of an AVMA approved Veterinary Technician program and/or credentialed to practice as a Veterinary Technician in some State or Province of the United States, Canada, or other country.

  • Two (2) letters of recommendations from the following: a VTS (Behavior), a supporting Veterinarian, or a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behavior.

  • Completion of the Skills Assessment Form: Clinical OR Research

  • Time Sheet: Three years (a minimum of 4,000 hours) work experience or its equivalent in the field of animal behavior, clinical or research based. All experience must be completed within five years prior to the application.

  • CE Record: A minimum of forty (40) continuing education (CE) hours related to veterinary behavior, animal behavior, or behavioral research within 5 years immediately prior to submitting application.

  • A clinical case log OR research case log is maintained for one (1) year within the three (3) years immediately preceding the submission of the application.

    • Clinical- A minimum of fifty (50) cases must be recorded

    • Research- One (1) year within the three (3) years immediately proceeding application must consist of behavior research or research using behavioral observations as a major portion of the study.

  • Five (5) detailed case reports (should come from your case log)

  • Publish a peer reviewed article


See Our Recommended Reading List for Candidates