Steps of the ECFVG Certification Program

ECFVG Policies and Procedures

November 2013

 Step 1    — Registration and Proof of Graduation
 
 Step 2    — English Language Ability
 
 Step 3    — Basic and Clinical Sciences Knowledge
 
 Step 4    — Clinical Skills Assessment


Step 1 — Registration and Proof of Graduation

To register in the ECFVG certification program, an applicant must complete the online application and submit the payment of $1,000.00 (USD; $275.00 ECFVG program application fee; $725.00 ECFVG Quality Assurance Program [QAP] fee). This payment can be made by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express) online at the end of the application. Payment can also be submitted to the ECFVG office as a personal check from a US bank only, or by cashier's check or money order made payable to the AVMA. Candidates must also submit the following to the ECFVG office within 7 business days of submitting the online application:

  1. A completed and notarized ECFVG confirmation page available at the end of the online application.
  2. Two passport-sized photographs of the applicant.
  3. Certified, notarized, or official (issued directly by school) photocopies of the applicant's veterinary college diploma and final transcripts (for each year of study), both in the language of issuance and as a certified English translation if necessary. Provisional Certificates and Certificates of Graduation are unacceptable for ECFVG program purposes.
    1. If the applicant is a final-year student at an AVMA-listed veterinary college, transcripts, as described above, for those years of study completed and a letter from an official of the veterinary college stating that the applicant will graduate within the year must be submitted with the ECFVG application form. After graduating from the AVMA-listed veterinary college, such candidates will need to submit certified, notarized, or official (issued directly by school) photocopies of their veterinary college diploma and final transcripts before Step 1 can be considered complete.

All items must be sent to: ECFVG, American Veterinary Medical Association, 1931 N Meacham Road, Suite 100, Schaumburg, IL 60173-4360, USA.

Refunds: The $275.00 ECFVG program application fee is nonrefundable. However, if a candidate wishes to withdraw from the ECFVG certification program within 60 days after initially applying, the $725.00 ECFVG Quality Assurance Program (QAP) fee will be refunded upon request to the ECFVG office. Requests must be done online through ECFVG Online (the online candidate database) or by written request. No fees will be refunded for withdrawal requests received more than 60 days after initially applying to the program.

Re-registration: The original registration fee is valid for two years. To remain active in the program, candidates must re-register every two years by notifying the ECFVG and, beginning January 1, 2008, paying a $100.00 re-registration fee. Candidates will be notified 60 days prior to their re-registration deadline by email and through their online status. Files of candidates who do not re-register in the ECFVG certification program will be made inactive. An inactive file may be reactivated within eight years upon the written request of the candidate and payment of all past-due re-registration fees. Inactive candidate files older than eight years will be destroyed. Future entrance into the ECFVG certification program would require new registration according to guidelines currently in effect.

Verification of educational credentials: The ECFVG verifies all applicants' educational credentials. The ECFVG Coordinator sends a "certification of graduation" form (Appendix 1) with the applicant's photograph to the dean of the veterinary college from which the applicant graduated. The dean or other college official must verify the applicant's identification and graduation date and return the completed form with the college seal affixed to the ECFVG office. Applicants may proceed with Steps 2 and 3 of the certification program while verification is being obtained. However, Step 1 will not be considered completed until such verification is obtained, and applicants will not be eligible to apply for Step 4 of the certification program (the CPE) until Steps 1, 2, and 3 are completed.

Once enrolled, candidates must submit address and name change requests through ECFVG Online (the online candidate database) or in writing, listing any relevant changes in telephone numbers or E-mail addresses. Name changes are not able to be completed online. Candidate name changes must be submitted in writing along with a copy of appropriate legal documents.



Step 2 — English Language Ability

To complete Step 2, candidates must provide the ECFVG with proof of comprehension and ability to communicate in the English language by meeting the minimum requirements established by the ECFVG on one of the following assessment tools: the TOEFL internet-based test (TOEFL iBT), the IELTS, the CAEL Assessment, or Waiver policy.

TOEFL iBT
The TOEFL iBT is offered by Educational Testing Service (ETS P.O. Box 6151, Princeton, NJ 08541; Web site: www.toefl.org; telephone: 609-771-7100). Candidates must contact ETS for information regarding the TOEFL iBT, including dates and location of examinations, fees, and application procedures.  For ECFVG program purposes, candidates choosing to take the TOEFL iBT MUST take each subsection of the TOEFL iBT. The minimum required scores on the TOEFL iBT are 25 in listening, 22 in writing, 22 in speaking, and 23 in reading; no minimum overall score is required. The ECFVG requires original score reports directly from ETS.

All candidates MUST meet the minimum required scores in each section.  Candidates currently enrolled and have already completed Step 2 of the ECFVG program may have submitted minimum required section scores from separate TOEFL iBT exam administrations conducted over a two-year period, as per existing policy.  However, a new policy goes into effect for all candidates who enroll into ECFVG program on or after January 1, 2014.  

Changes in policy relating to acceptance of TOEFL iBT scores for current and future ECFVG candidates who have not yet completed Step 2 of the ECFVG program:

Candidates who are currently enrolled but have not completed the English language requirement as well as those candidates who will enroll through December 31, 2013, will have until June 30, 2014, to complete the English language requirement under the old policy of acceptance of minimum required section scores from separate TOEFL iBT exam administrations conducted over a two-year period. However, starting on July 1, 2014, all ECFVG candidates who have not completed the English language requirement, irrespective of date on which they enrolled in the program, must fulfill Step 2 requirement according to the new policy.

All candidates who enroll in the ECFVG program on or after January 1, 2014, will be required to pass all sections of the TOEFL iBT in a single examination administration. Section scores from separate TOEFL iBT exam administrations conducted over a two-year period will not be accepted towards fulfillment of the English language requirement for those enrolling in the ECFVG program on or after January 1, 2014.

The ECFVG requires original score reports directly from ETS; copies are not acceptable. Please use institution code 1212 when requesting score reports from ETS. Because ETS only maintains score reports for two years from the date of examination, candidates should plan accordingly to ensure that score reports do not expire before requesting that they be submitted to the ECFVG. The ECFVG office cannot hold score reports longer than two years for individuals who are not currently enrolled in the ECFVG certification program. However, once an enrolled ECFVG candidate submits a passing score report, that score report will remain valid as long as the candidate remains actively enrolled in the ECFVG program.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is administered by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate, the British Council, and IDE Education Australia. For information in North America, contact IELTS Inc at 825 Colorado Boulevard, Suite 112, Los Angeles, CA 90041 (Web site: www.ielts.org; telephone: 323-255-2771). The ECFVG requires original score reports directly from IELTS Inc.

For ECFVG program purposes, candidates choosing to take the IELTS MUST take the academic IELTS. The minimum required score on the academic IELTS is 6.5 (overall band score), with at least a 6.5 in the listening band, a 6.0 in the writing band, and a 7.0 in the speaking band; no minimum reading score is required. All candidates MUST meet the minimum required scores in each section. Candidates currently enrolled and have already completed Step 2 of the ECFVG program may have submitted minimum required section scores from separate academic IELTS exam administrations conducted over a two-year period, as per existing policy. However, a new policy goes into effect for all candidates who enroll into ECFVG program on or after January 1, 2014.

Changes in policy relating to acceptance of academic IELTS scores for current and future ECFVG candidates who have not yet completed Step 2 of the ECFVG program:

Candidates who are currently enrolled but have not completed the English language requirement as well as those candidates who will enroll through December 31, 2013, will have until June 30, 2014, to complete the English language requirement under the old policy of acceptance of minimum required section scores from separate academic IELTS exam administrations conducted over a two-year period. However, starting on July 1, 2014, all ECFVG candidates who have not completed the English language requirement, irrespective of date on which they enrolled in the program, must fulfill Step 2 requirement according to the new policy.

All candidates who enroll in the ECFVG program on or after January 1, 2014 will be required to pass all sections of the academic IELTS in a single examination administration. Section scores from separate IELTS exam administrations conducted over a two-year period will no longer be accepted towards fulfillment of the English language requirement.

The ECFVG requires original score reports directly from IELTS Inc.; copies are not acceptable. Because IELTS Inc. only maintains score reports for two years from the date of examination, candidates should plan accordingly to ensure that score reports do not expire before requesting that they be submitted to the ECFVG. The ECFVG office cannot hold score reports longer than two years for individuals who are not currently enrolled in the ECFVG certification program. However, once an enrolled ECFVG candidate submits a passing score report, that score report will remain valid as long as the candidate remains actively enrolled in the ECFVG program.

Canadian Academic English Language (CAEL)
The Canadian Academic English Language (CAEL) Assessment is administered by Carleton University. Please contact the CAEL Assessment Testing Office, 228 Paterson Hall, Carleton University, 1125 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1S 5B6 (Web site: www.cael.ca; telephone: within Ottawa: 613-520-2600, ext 2271; toll-free within North America 855-520-2235).

For ECFVG program purposes, candidates choosing to take the CAEL Assessment MUST take each subsection of the CAEL Assessment. The minimum required score on the CAEL Assessment is 60 (overall score), with at least a 60 in the listening band, a 50 in the writing band, and a 60 in the speaking band. The ECFVG CANNOT accept section scores from separate exam administrations; candidates MUST achieve at least the minimum required scores for all required sections of the CAEL Assessment on the same exam administration. The ECFVG requires original score reports directly from the CAEL Assessment Testing Office.

Waiver Policy
For candidates completing secondary school in the United States, United Kingdom (England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland), Australia, New Zealand, or Canada (except Quebec), the English language examinations may be waived. To do so, eligible candidates must provide documentation of at least three years full-time attendance at a secondary (high) school located in one of the above countries at which the complete language of instruction was English. Acceptable documentation includes a letter directly from school officials stating dates of attendance (month and year of both initial and final dates of attendance are required) and verifying that the complete language of instruction was English or, for graduates of US high schools only, a certified, notarized, or official copy of the final  transcript. A degree from an English-speaking college or university is not considered adequate proof of English language ability.



Step 3 — Basic and Clinical Sciences Knowledge

All candidates who enroll into the ECFVG program on or after January 1, 2014 must attain a passing score on the Basic and Clinical Sciences Examination (BCSE) in order to complete Step 3 of the ECFVG certification program. Candidates who enrolled prior to January 1, 2014, and have taken the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE) during the April 2007 or prior administrations ONLY, or the National Board Examination (NBE) and Clinical Competency Test (CCT) prior to year 2000 may be eligible to use successful score reports from those prior examinations to complete ECFVG Step 3.

Candidates will be notified by e-mail and through ECFVG Online (the online candidate database) of their eligibility to apply for the Step 3 examination. Please note that candidates only become eligible to apply for and take the BCSE upon successful completion of ECFVG Step 2.

The AVMA owns and administers the BCSE, a computer-based examination, lasting approximately four hours and consisting of 225 multiple-choice questions designed to help assess basic and clinical veterinary sciences knowledge. Complete information on the BCSE, including application procedures, rescheduling rules, rules of conduct, and testing accommodations, can be found in the BCSE Candidate Bulletin. All candidates must review this document before taking the BCSE.

The Canadian National Examining Board (NEB; http://www.canadianveterinarians.net/) also uses the BCSE as part of its certification program. NEB candidates must register for the BCSE through the NEB office; score reports for NEB candidates will also be through the NEB office. Both ECFVG and NEB candidates may reserve only a single testing seat per BCSE application, regardless through which agency that single testing seat is reserved.

For ECFVG candidates taking the BCSE, scores will automatically be entered into candidate files; a passing score will result in completion of ECFVG Step 3 and successful candidates will then be notified of their eligibility to apply for ECFVG Step 4, the Clinical Proficiency Examination (CPE). Both passing and failing BCSE scores will also be reported directly to candidates by the Testing Coordinator via e-mail and through ECFVG Online (the online candidate database). BCSE scores will not be available to candidates via telephone.

For ECFVG candidates who enrolled into the ECFVG program prior to January 1, 2014 and who have successfully completed the NAVLE during or prior to the April 2007 administration or the NBE and CCT prior to 2000, the ECFVG requires original NAVLE or NBE/CCT score reports directly from the Veterinary Information Verifying Agency (VIVA) of the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB). NAVLE and NBE/CCT scores are ONLY reported to the ECFVG at the request of the ECFVG candidate. Requests for score transfers must be directed to the VIVA, 380 W. 22nd Street, Suite 101, Kansas City, MO 64108 (E-mail: viva@aavsb.org; telephone: 816-931-1504, ext. 23; Web site: www.aavsb.org/VIVA/). The ECFVG office will notify each applicant when his/her scores have been received. Again, VIVA will not report scores to the ECFVG without a request from the candidate, and the ECFVG will consider Step 3 complete only on receipt of a score report from VIVA indicating a passing score on the NAVLE (April 2007 and previous administrations only) or the NBE and CCT (prior to spring 2000) for those candidates who enrolled into the ECFVG program prior to January 1, 2014.

ECFVG candidate addresses listed on Step 3 examination score reports (BCSE, NAVLE or NBE/CCT) that vary from the address on record must be explained in writing, listing both the old and new address, before ECFVG can record and acknowledge receipt of the score report. Therefore, it is important that all candidates provide the ECFVG office with address updates as soon as possible. Address changes must be made through ECFVG Online or in writing.

For information regarding the NAVLE, which is a licensing examination, please contact the National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners (NBVME), PO Box 1356, Bismarck, ND 58502 (Web site: www.nbvme.org; telephone: 701-224-0332).



Step 4 — Clinical Skills Assessment

To complete Step 4, candidates must attain a passing score on all sections of the Clinical Proficiency Examination (CPE); only the CPE approved by the ECFVG will meet the requirements for assessment of clinical skills.

The CPE is a 3-day, 7-section, hands-on clinical skills examination, administered by the faculty of a college of veterinary medicine or other authorized testing institution. The skill level expected for a passing grade on each of the 7 sections of the CPE is that of an entry-level graduate of an accredited veterinary college. Only well-prepared candidates will be able to pass the CPE.

Complete information on the CPE, including format, eligibility requirements, fee structure, application procedures, scoring, location of approved sites, rescheduling, rules of conduct, and testing accommodations, can be found in the CPE Candidate Bulletin. All candidates are encouraged to read this document to understand the CPE eligibility and application process.

Candidates will be notified of their eligibility to apply for the Step 4 examination via ECFVG Online and e-mail. Please note that candidates only become eligible to apply for and take the CPE after ECFVG Steps 1, 2, and 3 are successfully completed.

Please refer to the CPE Candidate Bulletin for complete details regarding the CPE application process and fee structure.

The Canadian National Examining Board (NEB; http://www.canadianveterinarians.net/) also uses the CPE as part of its certification program. NEB candidates must register for the CPE through the NEB office; CPE score reports for NEB candidates will also be through the NEB office. Both ECFVG and NEB candidates may only reserve a single full or retake CPE position at any one time, regardless through which agency that single testing seat is reserved.