Veterinary Medicine Licensing

Overview

The veterinary science programs at the University of Melbourne, the University of Queensland and the University of Sydney hold full American Veterinary Medical Association AVMA accreditation, which is the North American standard for vet accreditation. You can find the each of these universities listed on page 3 of the Accredited Colleges of Veterinary Medicine published by the AVMA.

Both the graduate-entry and undergraduate-entry veterinary medicine programs will allow you to practice as a veterinarian in North America as well in Australia. The name of the program does not necessarily affect its accreditation status. The program is not required to be a “Doctor” program in order to be accredited here in North America; it is the content and quality of the program that determines its eligibility, not simply the name.

This means that graduates are considered in the same category as graduates from North American veterinary schools when undertaking licensing examinations in North America. Graduates of these programs are eligible to sit the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE) along with graduates from AVMA accredited veterinary colleges in the United States and Canada.

Applicants are reminded to consult the licensing body of the province where they wish to obtain a license for specific requirements.

Steps to Practice in Canada

1. Register with the NEB (for Canada only)
Once you have graduated from your AVMA-accredited veterinary program, you must register with the Canadian National Examining Board (NEB). The NEB reviews the credentials of graduates of non-Canadian colleges of veterinary medicine who wish to obtain a licence to practice veterinary medicine in Canada.

2. Write the NAVLE
Once the NEB has approved your credentials, the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE) can be taken during two testing windows each year: mid-April and late November/early December. You are strongly encouraged to wait until all clinical rotations have been completed before sitting the NAVLE. This usually means waiting until November – December as these are invaluable for providing the general clinical awareness and experience needed to pass the NAVLE.

Once you successfully complete the NAVLE, you will be granted a Certificate of Qualification (CQ). You must complete this exam within 2 attempts, otherwise an additional Clinical Proficiency Exam (CPE) is required.

3. Apply for Registration with Provincial/State Board/College
A CQ or completion of the examination process is a prerequisite to apply for a general veterinary license in all the provinces of Canada and US states. You will then need to apply to register with the provincial/state board/college. You can use the ICVA Licensing Boards web page to find the licensing board for each province/state. The licensing authorities in any province/state may require further examinations in addition to or in lieu of those required to obtain a CQ.

4. Complete additional steps for provincial membership as needed, such as the College of Veterinarians of Ontario’s (CVO) Jurisprudence Exam.

Provincial Requirements

Provincial requirements:
While all Canadian provinces require you to have passed the NAVLE in order to become licensed to practice, some provinces have additional licensing requirements, such as the College of Veterinarians of Ontario’s (CVO) Jurisprudence Exam. Check the website for the provincial regulatory body where you intend to practice:

Alberta Veterinary Medical Association
College of Veterinarians of British Columbia
Manitoba Veterinary Medical Association
New Brunswick Veterinary Medical Association
Newfoundland and Labrador College of Veterinarians
Nova Scotia Veterinary Medical Association
College of Veterinarians of Ontario
L’Ordre des médecins vétérinaires du Québec
Saskatchewan Veterinary Medical Association
NWT Dept of Health and Social Services

About the NAVLE

The examination consists of 360 multiple-choice questions, answered on computer at a private testing center. Sixty of the items are unscored pretest items, but the identity of these items is not apparent, and they are dispersed throughout the test. Approximately 15% – 20% of the items on the NAVLE include graphic or pictorial information relevant to the item (photograph, radiograph, drawing, chart, etc.).

  • All NAVLE items are relevant to entry-level private clinical practice.
  • There is a total of 6.5 hours test time (6 blocks of 65 min each)
  • A total of 45 minutes of break time can be taken during the day (including lunch)
  • The pass mark is 70%

Because of this large number of questions and the time constraints, being successful requires a sensible exam strategy and familiarity with the format (lots of practice tests!)

In most cases, provincial regulation requires applicants to pass the NAVLE within two attempts.

Practicing in Australia

The University of Melbourne, University of Sydney, and University of Queensland are all recognized by the Australasian Veterinary Boards Council through the Veterinary Schools Accreditation Advisory Committee (VSAAC), making veterinary science graduates eligible for registration with the Veterinary Surgeons’ Board in each state and territory in Australia, and in New Zealand.

Australia’s skilled visa programs are designed to target genuine skill shortages in Australia, one of those being veterinarians. This means that there are specific visas available to individuals who are qualified to work or train as a veterinarian in Australia and can meet all other requirements. You will need to contact the Australian Department of Home Affairs either in Canada or while you are in Australia for full details.

Accreditation in Australia
Upon graduating from an accredited Australian program, you must register within the state in which you wish to practice. In Australia, registration boards are governed by state legislation.

In the past, veterinarians have been required to be registered in every state in which they want to practice. Australia is in the process of setting up national recognition of veterinary registration which will mean that a vet’s home state registration will be recognized by all other Australian jurisdictions.

This national recognition model is slowly being introduced across jurisdictions. In VictoriaNew South WalesQueenslandTasmania and South Australia, veterinarians residing and registered in another Australian jurisdiction can practice without registering in those states. Other states and territories are in the process of preparing similar legislation.

FAQs

Your degree is more than 10 years old

For competitive programs, many universities will only accept applications from students who have studied within the last 10 years. Universities want to make sure the knowledge that students have is still relevant and that students are prepared to take on additional studies. If you’ve studied more than 10 years ago, consider the following options:

1. Complete another degree
If you haven’t completed a degree within the last 10 years and your program of choice requires it, you’ll need to complete another degree. For some universities, this may mean you can complete a master’s (or bachelor’s) degree in Canada and then apply again.

University of Sydney DVM – You must be able to provide evidence that you’ve passed the prerequisite subjects with at least credit average by showing the official transcript with final mark. There is some flexibility for applicants who have stayed in scientific academia.

University of Melbourne DVM – If you graduated more than 10 years ago, you’ll be required to demonstrate your capacity for continued study. Typically, this would mean demonstrating that your knowledge of the prerequisite subjects are still current by having achieved a mark of at least 70% in each of those subjects within the last three years.

University of Queensland BVSc – Qualifications completed more than 10 years ago may be considered as basis for admission to undergraduate or postgraduate programs; however, credit will not be granted for studies completed more than 10 years ago.

2. Complete additional studies and re-apply

University of Sydney DVM

Must complete another degree – Where there are more than one completed degrees, the best GPA will be used. GPA is calculated over the entire duration of the degree and all years of study are weighted equally. Results from completed honours and postgraduate coursework degrees are included in the GPA calculation. Incomplete degree results will not be included. The discipline of the degree is not considered during the ranking process.

University of Melbourne DVM

Complete additional upper-level science courses – The University of Melbourne will consider upper-year science subjects (300- and 400-level courses), rather than cumulative GPA. Melbourne weights their science GPA 75:25 toward the 400-level subjects, meaning your 400-level courses are weighed 3 times as much as your 300 level. Subjects can be taken outside a degree (non-award) will be considered. Courses must be science subjects Melbourne defines a science subject as a subject dealing with the scientific basis of physical or biological sciences, but not including social sciences such as sociology, human behavior, history of science, economics, philosophy (including philosophy of science), and anthropology. This list is indicative and not comprehensive.

You don’t hold a relevant degree

The University of Melbourne DVM program requires applicants have a science degree with a majors in one of the following areas: agriculture, animal science, biochemistry, biomedicine, physiology, or zoology. If you don’t have an applicable degree, consider the following options:

1. Take science-related studies and re-apply
You may re-apply with either a master’s degree or after having completed upper-level science courses (if eligible). The University of Melbourne will consider upper-year science subjects (300- and 400-level courses), either at bachelor’s or master’s level. Subjects can be taken outside a degree (non-award studies).

Melbourne defines a science subject as a subject dealing with the scientific basis of physical or biological sciences, but not including social sciences such as sociology, human behavior, history of science, economics, philosophy (including philosophy of science), and anthropology. This list is indicative and not comprehensive.

2. Consider applying to a different program
If you’re interested in working with animals, but the other options won’t work for you, consider applying to a degree in veterinary technology, zoology, animal or environmental conservation, etc. instead, as long as your GPA meets the minimum requirements.

Your GPA doesn’t meet the minimum or you’re not competitive

If your GPA does not meet the minimum requirement for veterinary medicine, we’re not able to submit the application.

University of Melbourne DVM

  • Complete additional upper-level science courses – The University Melbourne will consider upper-year science subjects (300- and 400-level courses), rather than cumulative GPA. Melbourne weights their science GPA 75:25 toward the 400-level subjects, meaning your 400-level courses are weighed 3 times as much as your 300 level. Subjects can be taken outside a degree (non-award) will be considered. Courses must deal with the scientific basis of physical or biological sciences, but not including social sciences such as sociology, human behavior, history of science, economics, philosophy (including philosophy of science), and anthropology. This list is indicative and not comprehensive.

University of Sydney DVM

  • Must complete another degree – For the University of Sydney’s DVM program, where there are more than one completed bachelor’s degrees, the best GPA will be used. GPA is calculated over the entire duration of the degree and all years of study are weighted equally. Results from completed Honours and postgraduate coursework degrees are included in the GPA calculation. Incomplete degree results will not be included. The discipline of the degree is not considered during the ranking process.

Undergraduate veterinary degrees (Sydney BVB/DVM and UQ BVSc)

  • Take college/university studies – The GPA requirement is lower for applicants with a year of more of post-secondary studies (uni or college).

Consider another program
If you’re interested in working with animals, but the other options won’t work for you, consider completing a degree in veterinary technology, zoology, animal or environmental conservation, etc. instead, as long as your GPA meets the minimum requirements.

You didn’t pass the CASPer SJT

If you failed to meet conditions due to the CASPer situational judgement test, you’ll need to re-apply for next available intake, and you’ll be required to retake the test. Your application must be submitted to UQ before you’ll be able to register for the test.

You don’t meet the veterinary prerequisites

If you haven’t taken courses in the required prerequisite areas, but you are still interested in applying to the program, you will need to make up for this course on your own.

Enroll in the missing prerequisite(s)
You’ll need to provide a transcript showing that you have enrolled in the missing prerequisite(s) before we can submit your application to the university. This will allow the university to proceed with your primary assessment. Once you’ve successfully completed your course(s), you’ll need to provide a final transcript so the university can complete your assessment.

Melbourne and Sydney DVM

  • Take an intro-level university course – Generally, introduction courses work best for the prerequisite requirements as they cover a broad range of understanding.

University of Queensland BVSc

  • Take a high school-level calculus course – Many students do so either through summer school, at another institution, or online. Keep in mind, the course must be a full calculus course. Pre-calculus and math courses which cover only some calculus content will not suffice.
  • Take an intro-level college or university calculus course – You will need to provide the course outline for this subject for a prerequisite assessment to confirm comparability. Read more about overseas equivalents for UQ’s Bachelor of Veterinary Science . Be sure to provide the course outline before you enroll! We can ask UQ to assess a course before an app is submitted to confirm the course will meet the requirements.
  • Take a course through Unilearn – Offers a self-paced online course, Senior Mathematics (UNL32), which satisfies the Mathematics B prerequisites requirement as noted in the Bridging Subject table. The Unilearn course allows you to enroll at any time and typically takes 18–26 weeks to complete.

You lack animal-handling experience

Some Australian veterinary programs require animal-handling experience as part of their entry requirements:

Sydney BVB/DVM
Requires 5 days of animal-handling experience, which can be part of a paid position, volunteer work, or part of a courses. On the supplementary application, you’ll need to briefly describe your experience and outline the specific tasks/experiences you gained.

Sydney DVM
Requires a minimum of 28 days of relevant work and animal-handling experience. A substantial portion of this must have been completed within 2 years prior to application. You’ll need to include supporting documents for experience, e.g., reference letters, certificates, or forms that provide evidence of the number of hours you worked or volunteered.

Consider applying to the following intake
What a difference a year can make! If you lack animal-handling experience, consider gaining some in the following areas:

  • Animal production industries such as sheep, cattle, pigs, goats, horses, and poultry
  • Veterinary clinical practice
  • Other relevant animal-industry experience including government bodies, charities, and research organizations

Some examples of what the committee might look for in an applicant include

  • breadth of experience across a variety of species, or depth of experience in a particular species;
  • research experience;
  • overall experience and length of experiences;
  • commitment and interest in the profession; and
  • rural experiences.

What extra processes would I have to undertake if I study at a vet school that is not AVMA accredited?

Graduates of vet schools that don’t have AVMA accreditation, like JCU, must complete an educational equivalency assessment certification program called the ECFVG before they can sit the NAVLE.

The ECFVG has 4 steps:

1. Providing proof of graduation
2. Passing an English language assessment
3. Successfully completing the Basic and Clinical Sciences Examination (BSCE)
4. Successfully completing the Clinical Proficiency Examination (CPE)

I am applying to the undergrad vet program, but I have university studies, will the university consider these grades in their assessment?

For BVSc or BVB/DVM applicants with previous undergraduate studies, universities will typically assess the cumulative average in their university studies, although in some cases they may assess based on the final year of high school or a combination of the two, and selection is entirely up to the university’s discretion.

Can I transfer from my Canadian university to one of the undergraduate vet programs at UQ or Sydney?

Typically, international universities do not allow a straight transfer, although they may grant credit for previous studies. Credit will depend on the level of your previous studies and the equivalence of subjects taken. If you are planning to start your degree in Canada, you may be eligible for credit into an Australian vet program, although there is no guarantee for how many, if any at all. It is important to mention that Australian universities rarely grant enough credit to be considered a direct transfer or to drastically alter the length of a program.

I won’t be graduating until December. Should I still apply?

You are certainly permitted to apply; however, with your semester ending in December, there is a potential that the programs could fill before you would be able to accept.

OzTREKK’s partner universities will sometimes assess applications with interim (in-progress) transcripts. If the you are eligible for an offer, the universities will issue a “conditional offer” with the conditions, perhaps among others, being that you must provide an updated transcript showing all studies with final grades before you would be able to accept your offer. Because undergraduate veterinary programs have rolling admissions (first come, first served), the program could fill any time, and the closer it gets to the program start date the higher the chances the program will fill before you are able to accept.

In general, we encourage students to apply as early as possible.