Joint AVMA-FVE-CVMA statement on veterinary education

​Note: This statement has been adopted jointly by the AVMA, Federation of Veterinarians of Europe, and Canadian Veterinary Medical Association.

At the time of graduation, veterinarians must have the basic scientific knowledge, skills, and values to be a full member of the veterinary profession, and to perform—in an independent and responsible way—appropriate entry-level tasks and duties conferred upon and taken on by the veterinary profession, in the interest of animal health, animal welfare, public health, and societal needs.

Veterinary education must ensure new graduates have sufficient skills and knowledge (competency) in key areas necessary to carry out common procedures expected of new veterinary graduates. Such day-one competencies have been described by various organizations, including the World Veterinary Association and World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

Day-one competency is expected of new veterinary graduates in the following areas:

  1. Adequate knowledge of the sciences on which the activities of the veterinarian are based.
  2. Adequate knowledge of the causes, nature, course, effects, diagnosis and treatment of the diseases of animals, whether considered individually or in groups, including knowledge of the diseases which may be transmitted to humans.
  3. Sufficient clinical experience to diagnose, treat, and prevent behavioral disorders or physical disease, injury, pain, or defect in an animal, or to determine the health and welfare status of an animal or group of animals, particularly the physiological status, including the prescription of veterinary medicines.
  4. Adequate knowledge of the structure and functions of healthy animals, of their husbandry, reproduction and hygiene in general, as well as their feeding, including the technology involved in the manufacture and preservation of foods corresponding to their needs.
  5. Adequate knowledge of animal welfare and behavior.
  6. Adequate knowledge of preventive medicine.
  7. Adequate knowledge of food hygiene and technology involved in the production, manufacture, and distribution of animal products intended for human consumption.
  8. Adequate knowledge of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions relating to the subjects listed above.
  9. Ability to communicate with clients, colleagues, and staff effectively.
  10. Ability to work within the diverse disciplines that comprise veterinary medicine in accordance with appropriate professional codes of ethics and conduct.
  11. Adequate knowledge of the human-animal-environment interconnections and ability to collaborate with other professions under the concept of One Health.
  12. Adequate knowledge of veterinary business operations, resource management, personnel management, and finances.
  13. Adequate knowledge of the role of research in furthering the practice of veterinary medicine and of how to implement science- or evidence-based veterinary medicine in practice.
  14. Adequate knowledge of the need for life-long learning to ensure currency of knowledge and skills.
  15. Knowledge of maintaining a work-life balance and how to manage the stresses associated with veterinary practice.

The accreditation of veterinary education is essential to ensure educational programs meet high standards and strive for continuous quality improvement. Differences in societal expectations and resources available for veterinary medicine, educational institutions, and animal health care may impact agreement on a single set of international veterinary educational accreditation standards. However, multiple accreditation entities for veterinary education exist in various countries and regions around the world and provide excellent examples of high standards and rigorous processes. Such processes should follow best practices for accreditation (as established, for example, by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation, Association for Specialized and Professional Accreditors, and European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education) that includes an independent, objective, and impartial peer review of the educational program. The standards of accreditation must be dynamic and consistently reviewed and applied to ensure they reflect scientific and educational developments and meet the changing needs of society.

Additional resources:

AVMA center for veterinary education accreditation

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