Many overseas veterinary nurses travel and work in Canada. The most important things to be aware of are that:
Registered Veterinary Technicians/Technologists (RVT) are regulated by province, and credentialing requirements and permitted tasks vary. Many provinces require graduation from a program accredited by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) or by the Ontario Association of Veterinary Technicians (OAVT) and successful completion of the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) for minimum credentialing. Provinces may have additional requirements to become a RVT.
Visitors from most other countries will require a work permit to work in Canada.
What national veterinary nursing qualifications are available?
There is one nationally recognised animal health/veterinary technician qualification available in Canada:
Animal Health/Veterinary Technician/Technology Diploma (2 or 3 year)
As of May, 2016 there are currently 17 CVMA accredited AHT/VT programs and 11 OAVT accredited programs in Ontario. Those with the above diploma qualify to take the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) to qualify for credentialing.
Credential governance of veterinary technicians/technologists is instituted at the provincial level, and are of variable status.
No credentialing – There is no regulation by private or governmental entities.
Voluntary credentialing – Private organizations, such as the state veterinary technician association has instituted voluntary credentialing, scope of practice, and enforce maintenance requirements.
Compulsory credentialing – A governmental agency governs the credentials and dictates the scope of practice through legislated practice acts.
Those who are in the process of meeting or completing the required credentials are typically termed Veterinary Technicians/Technologists or VT.
Those with completed credentialing are termed Registered Veterinary Technicians / Technologists (RVT).
The term technician and technologists is utilized depending on the province, there is no distinguishable difference between them.
Do I need to hold the credential (RVT – Registered Veterinary Technician/Technologist) to be able to work as a veterinary technician?
This varies by province. In provinces that have written title protection for veterinary technicians in the practice act, the credential is required to practice as a veterinary technician and to perform tasks as outlined in the province’s practice act.
In provinces that lack formal legislation or by-laws regarding veterinary technicians in the practice act, a non-credentialed (VT or AHT) individual can perform the same job task as a credentialed veterinary technician (RVT).
Will my overseas veterinary nursing qualification be recognised?
Recognition of overseas qualifications vary by province and the language of the practice act. Some provinces will grant reciprocity in credentialing, with most requiring a passing score of the VTNE. Some provinces specify the need for graduation from an CVMA/AVMA accredited program, thereby preventing transferring of overseas qualifications.
Checking with the province’s veterinary medical board for reciprocity policies is recommended.
How do I find work as a veterinary nurse?
Employment opportunities for veterinary nurses can be found in a number of ways; advertisements in newspapers, employment section of the provincial VT association or RVTTC websites, veterinary employment companies, classified sections in veterinary magazines / journals and word of mouth. Alternatively, you can deliver your resume to veterinary clinics to hold on file in case any opportunities arise.
How do I find out about pay and working conditions?
In the first instance, this information should be available through your employer. You and your employer will need to negotiate a contract and a job description for your employment (the job description is often included as part of the contract). You should receive a summary of your pay and deductions every pay day.
The Canada, Statistics Canada periodically publishes census information of professions.
Is there a national association for veterinary nurses?
Yes, the Registered Veterinary Technologists & Technicians of Canada (RVTTC) / Technologues et techniciens vétérinaires agréés du Canada (TTVAC) is the national body for veterinary technician/technologists in Canada. See www.rvttcanada.ca for more information.
Can I be a registered / listed veterinary nurse if I have an overseas qualification?
The requirement varies from province to province, and each province’s credentialing body should be contacted for the most up-to-date information. The information on the credentialing organization for specific provinces can be obtained by contacting the provincial associations. Contact information can be found at http://rvttcanada.ca/provincial-associations/
What are the immigration requirements to work as a veterinary nurse?
In order to work in Canada international visitors will require a work permit.
Contact your local Canadian Embassy or visit the Canadian Immigration and Citizenship Services at http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/work/ for more information.