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.

Browse our vet tech schools for more information.