What is the difference between a veterinarian (DVM) and a veterinary technician (RVT)?

Both veterinarians and veterinary technicians work hand-in-hand to care for our pets, but there are some critical distinctions between them, including education and occupational responsibilities.

A veterinarian is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM). They are the decision-makers in patient care. After completing eight years of education, veterinarians must pass national and state board examinations before becoming licensed to practice. They must also complete a certain number of continuing education credits each year in order to maintain their license. Veterinarians are qualified to diagnose a medical problem and prescribe medications and therapies. 

A registered or licensed veterinary technician (RVT/LVT) cannot diagnose or prescribe however, they are qualified to provide guidance on your pet's overall wellness. Veterinary technicians must also meet the licensing and continuing education requirements of the state/province in which they intend to practice. RVTs can offer general advice and triage for your pet and give you a better idea of the next best steps, including whether you should meet with a veterinarian.