Reasons Why You Should Become a CVPM

Do you want to push your career to the next level in the field of animal care, but you aren't sure what the next step is? Are you eager to move up the leadership ladder and looking for an opportunity? Or have you already managed a practice for a while but want to develop your skills and abilities? Do you want a raise but don't know how to ask for it? All these questions have a simple answer — become a certified veterinary practice manager (CVPM).

How to Become a CVPM

The veterinary practice manager is a certification that veterinary practice management professionals can earn through the Veterinary Hospital Manager's Association, an outstanding organization that provides a wealth of resources and opportunities for managers.

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The journey to certification begins by completing an application. In it, you must demonstrate several things:

  • At least three years of practice experience at select duties
  • 18 college semester hours in management-related courses
  • 48 hours of management-focused continuing education
  • Four letters of recommendation

Once the application is complete, the next step is the exam, which tests you on five essential subjects: human resources, law and ethics, marketing, organization of the practice, and finance.

If that seems like a lot, the good news is you have up to two years to take the exam, so buddy up with a colleague on the CVPM path or find an accountability partner to help you remain committed, provide support, and share resources and experiences.

For more structured help preparing for the exam, look to VHMA's Test Preparation Study Program, which guides students through an organized and facilitated study group that covers the five essential management domains. Another option is an online course with Veterinary Information Network and Veterinary Support Personnel Network

Once you pass the test, congratulations! You are now one of the roughly 735 certified veterinary practice managers in the world, giving you elite status among veterinary management professionals.

Rewards of Becoming a CVPM

After becoming a certified veterinary practice manager, you can apply what you've learned to operate your business more efficiently. A good example is how you deal with one of the biggest headaches that managers are tasked with: inventory. Imagine having an inventory process that is so fine-tuned that turnover is calculated more correctly than ever, you never run out of stock, and you curtail waste by reducing expiration and theft.

Understanding prudent budgeting and proper pricing strategies are other benefits of certification, and those financial savings can be diverted to the parts of your practice with more pressing needs. Paired with solid inventory procedures, they may increase the practice's bottom line in more ways than one.

With a certified veterinary practice manager, you'll also better navigate the situation when a member of your team comes to you with a difficult question or a problem. It will bring you more peace of mind to provide a solid answer, and your confidence will inspire your team's and win you more respect as a manager. The increased level of trust will then allow you to take bolder steps forward in the future.

As a certified veterinary practice manager, you'll be better equipped to help each member of your team develop new skill sets, increasing their value to the practice as well and enhancing the practice's overall flexibility. On top of this, you can teach them to work more efficiently and safely, resulting in improved customer service and patient care.

You may also find that you enjoy writing articles for veterinary management publications or securing speaking engagements at conferences as a subject matter expert. These conferences can be great opportunities to network with individuals in varying capacities of veterinary practice management. It is priceless to connect with new colleagues who provide motivation, inspiration, and solutions to all kinds of issues you may face as a practice manager.

Becoming a CVPM brings rewards to all at your practice, including colleagues, customers, and pets. So, start today by investing in the certified veterinary practice manager certification journey and see where it takes you.

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Andrea Crabtree

Andrea is a Southern California native. She graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with a BS in animal health science in 2004. She has received certifications as a Certified Veterinary Practice Manager (2011), Professional in Human Resources (2016), California Professional in Human Resources (2017), Senior Professional in Human Resources (2019), and Certified Compassion Fatigue Professional (2019). In January of 2016, Andrea received the Southern California VMA Paraprofessional of the Year Award. She is currently the owner of FurPaws Consulting.

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