Becoming a Veterinary Dental Technician (VDT)

Dental hygiene has been performed for animals as long as it has the practice of veterinary medicine. The evolution of the technology involved in the practice of veterinary dental hygiene has matched that of human dentistry. Therefore, many states require that a veterinarian is specifically licensed to practice what is termed as veterinary medical dentistry. This specialization has also opened up a specific career path for vet techs interested in a focused area of opportunity.


(source: Indeed)
Veterinary dental techs (VDTs) can expect to earn a salary of $45,000/year depending on experience and geographical location.

Dentistry is a Popular Veterinary Technician Specialty
There are two specific designations for technicians who have focused their educational study in veterinary dentistry. The first is a Veterinary Dental Technician (VDT). This is a home-based course of study offered by the American Society of Veterinary Dental Technicians (ASVDT). This is a one level course that includes the watching of a video on animal dentistry and then taking a test. Participants who pass the test are awarded the designation of VDT by the ASVDT. However, this designation is not recognized by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) or by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). However, a second designation, the Veterinary Technician Specialist (VTS) is an accredited course of study

Receiving the VTS Designation
A technician wishing to receive the VTS designation has to fulfil the requirements of a program that has been approved by the Committee for Veterinary Technician Specialties (CVTS). An incredibly strict criterion has been set for any group of veterinary technician specialties in order to preserve and maintain the integrity of that specialty group that is recognized. A technician who wishes to apply to the Academy of veterinary dental technicians first must have graduated from an AVMA accredited school where they have acquired at least 6000 hours of credential technician training with at least 3000 hours involved in dentistry.

Case Log Requirements
Applicants accepted for the VTS dentistry specialization accreditation program have to keep several case logs representing different areas of dentistry. They are required to write five case reports that are of publishing quality that will appear in peer reviews. Also, participants must accomplish an additional 41 hours of continuing education in various areas of animal dentistry that are going to be specified through the AVDT. Participants are required to maintain high standards designated for required credentialing.

Certification Granted
The designation program is approximately 2 years in duration. Once a request for credentials has been submitted, reviewed and accepted by the AVDT committee, candidates aren’t invited to participate in a qualifying examination. This is a three-part exam that will test the core disciplines through written, clinical and practical methodologies. When the individual passes all three sections of the exam and are approved by the Board of Directors, the participant is granted the VTS Dentistry title. Advances in technology will require veterinary dental technicians to keep their education current by taking CE courses as they become available. Additionally, we certification requirements may include participating in lectures, labs, and mentoring and teaching other technicians seeking to specialize in veterinary dental medicine.

The VDT designation is much more advanced than the VTS compelling a great deal more effort and time to complete the necessary requirements. Therefore it provides participants with national recognition for seating a greater specialize in advanced education that suits the specific needs for any veterinary dental medical practice.

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  • veterinary technician specialist salary
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  • April Lamp

    Once applied for the academy of veterianry dental technicians, is it online courses or in class courses?

  • Rebecca Clear LVT

    I am interested in becoming a VDT and I am not clear on the process. Is it a school you have to attend? Please send me more info or contact me at work at Tumwater Veterinary Hospital at 360-754-6008 or via email.
    Thank you

  • Melissa

    i would like information please

  • christina clary

    I am interested in more info as to who to contact to start the process of becoming a VDT.

    Thank you,
    Christina Clary, RVT

  • Chantee Mekolites

    I would like some more information on becoming a VDT if possible. Please send the information to my email. Thank You

  • Kathy

    I grandfathered in and want to know if it’s possible for me to take this class?

  • Ashli Stretton

    Very intertested in this program/certification. Any additional information would be greatly appreciated! Thanks

  • Ashley Kidd

    I have three more semesters until im certified as a veterinary technician, afterwards I have been thinking about getting specialized in animal dentistry. I am interested in the program. Please send some more information to me e-mail : )
    Thank you

  • Vet Tech

    Please email me more information about your school.

  • Rabie_elhadad

    i want any one to help me by books needed for canadian certificate

  • abby

    i would like more information on how to become a certified veterinary dental technician please.

  • gayle capozziello

    please let me know all the courses and requirements to become only a dental technician for animals. I do not want to be a vet asst, or technician or assistant. I just want to clean their teeth, or pull their teeth or cap them or any other thing to do with teeth. I dont want to see any hurt or bleeding animal. please let me know what courses to take to do that only. I am in college taking medical terminology and sexuality as an alternative class. thank u

  • Jennifer Harrison RVT

    Id like more information please. I have gone through the CA. alternate route program am I still able to attend?

  • Benita

    Above there are a few errors in information regarding the Veterinary Technician Specialty in Dentistry. Obtaining a VTS in Dentistry thought the Academy of Veterinary Dental Technicians is much more advanced than the VDT designation. The final paragraph in the above article states this opposite to the correct facts. Please see: for the up to date and correct information.