Veterinary Technician National Examination

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The Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) was created under the Veterinary Information Verifying Agency (VIVA), an agency founded by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) in 1996. In 2005, the AAVSB assumed direct responsibility for the VTNE and has administered the exam ever since.[1] The examination began as a paper-and-pencil test, but has transitioned to a computer-based format.[2][3]

Function of the Test

VTNE Study Guide

The VTNE typically serves as a licensure examination for candidates who wish to become qualified to practice as veterinary technicians in a jurisdiction in the United States or Canada. Different states and provinces have different eligibility requirements for the VTNE exam, so candidates are encouraged to review the Board and Agency Directory on the AAVSB website to determine local requirements.[3]

The AAVSB does not appear to routinely publish statistics for the VTNE exam. However, a 2008 document reported that 3,579 candidates took the exam in June 2008 and achieved a pass rate of 64.54%. The document noted that this pass rate was "similar to recent administrations."[2]

Test Administration

VTNE Flashcards

The VTNE is a computer-based exam which is administered at over 250 Prometric testing centers in the United States and Canada. The fee to take the exam (regardless of country) is $320 USD.[4] There are three testing windows per year: March 15–April 15, July 15–August 15, and November 15–December 15.[4] Candidates wishing to take the examination during a given testing window must apply at least one month before the testing window (i.e. by February 15, June 15, or October 15).

The exam comprises 170 multiple-choice questions, and the time limit is 3 hours.[3]

Candidates see a preliminary pass/fail score report on their computer screen immediately after completing the exam. Official results are provided on the MyAAVSB website three to four weeks following the exam date. One official score report is also sent to the candidate's provincial or state veterinary board.[3] Candidates who wish to retake the exam may do so up to four times (i.e., five total attempts) without restrictions from the AAVSB. After five unsuccessful attempts, candidates wishing to take the exam again must contact the AAVSB for further instructions. Some jurisdictions have stricter retesting policies, so candidates must check to ensure they have not exceeded the retake limit for their intended jurisdiction.[3]

Candidates who require special testing accommodations for a disability should refer to the AAVSB's instructions, as the accommodations process varies by state, province, and country. In some jurisdictions, the AAVSB processes the request for accommodations, while in other jurisdictions, another organization (typically the local veterinary board or agency) processes the request, and requirements vary.[3]

Test Format

Test Structure

The VTNE, or Veterinary Technician National Exam, is comprised of 170 multiple choice questions that have to do with nine major domains: Pharmacy and Pharmacology; Surgical Nursing; Dentistry; Laboratory Procedures; Animal Care and Nursing; Diagnostic Imaging; Anasthesia; Emergency Medicine/Critical Care; and Pain Management/Analgesia. Of the 170 questions, 20 are unscored, pretest questions that will be mixed in with the scored questions.

Test Environment

Exams take place at Prometric Testing Centers. Candidates are expected to arrive at least half an hour early to the testing site. A government-issued identification is required for admission. Hats, food, drinks, bags, electronics, and watches are not allowed into the testing area. A locker will be provided to store all restricted items for the duration of the test. The exam takes place on computer, and a preliminary pass/fail report will be given that day. Detailed scores will be provided within about a month.[3]

Sample Questions

More free VTNE practice test questions.


The VTNE comprises 170 multiple choice questions, 150 of which are scored and 20 of which are unmarked, unscored pretest items being assessed for inclusion on future versions of the examination.[3]

The distribution of questions on the VTNE is as follows:

Distribution of questions
on the VTNE exam[3]
Domains % of
Pharmacy & Pharmacology 12%
Surgical Nursing 11%
Dentistry 7%
Laboratory Procedures 12%
Animal Care and Nursing 22%
Diagnostic Imaging 7%
Anesthesia 16%
Emergency Medicine/Critical Care 6%
Pain Management/Analgesia 7%
Total 100%

There is no penalty for guessing. Incorrect answers are counted the same as omitted answers.[3]

VTNE scores are reported on a scale from 200 to 800 with a passing score of 425. Scores are scaled based on the difficulty of each specific version of the VTNE exam so that the scores of candidates who take more difficult versions of the exam can be compared fairly to the scores of candidates who take easier versions of the exam.[3]


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