Education and the COE: FAQ

COE and Veterinary Colleges
COE Recognition
COE and Other Accrediting Bodies
Foreign Accreditation
The Accreditation Process
Accreditation and You
Site Visits
Student Attrition
Veterinary Technology Programs

The AVMA Council on Education (COE) has a very long and successful history of contributions to maintain the high standards of veterinary education in the United States. Indeed, we have an accreditation system that others seek to emulate. The United States and Canada continue to be world leaders in veterinary medical education, due in large part to the diligent efforts of the COE and its predecessors sponsored by the AVMA. Since its inception, the Council has consistently applied the standards of accreditation to all schools that seek accreditation.

The COE follows its published policies and procedures with great care throughout the accreditation process. Council members spend hundreds of hours annually gathering, validating, and studying information related to the accreditation of veterinary colleges.

The accreditation process can sometimes be complex and confusing, even to those who are intimately involved with it. Here are answers to some of the questions we are asked most frequently.


Who sits on the COE, and who are the Council's current members?

How are COE standards evaluated?

What is the overall level of satisfaction with the COE?

Is there any evidence of undue influence on the COE by the AVMA Board of Directors?

How does the COE staff support the COE?

Does sponsorship of the COE limit the AVMA’s ability to advocate on behalf of its members?

Is there a COE annual report?

Does someone oversee the activities of the COE?

Is there student representation on the Council on Education?

How does the Council handle conflicts of interest?

COE and Veterinary Colleges

Is there any evidence that the quality of graduates has decreased?

Why does the COE accredit distributive-model schools?

What is the best veterinary school?

Are online distance learning programs available?

What is the COE looking for in a college's SOPs?

What is an effective records retrieval system?

Does the performance of a college's graduates on licensing examinations have any effect on a college's accreditation status?

COE Recognition

What does CHEA recognition mean?

Why does COE seek USDE recognition?

What are the remaining issues of non-compliance with the USDE recognition guidelines in 2014, and what is the status?

How does the COE address transparency?

COE and Other Accrediting Bodies

How is COE different from, or similar to, the accrediting body for dentistry (CODA)?

How is COE different from, or similar to, the accrediting body for human medicine (LCME)?

How is the COE different from, or similar to, the accreditation body for engineering education?

Is the COE accreditation process different from, or similar to, other accrediting bodies?

Foreign Accreditation

Which European veterinary colleges are accredited?

What does the reciprocity agreement with foreign countries mean?

The Accreditation Process

What is academic accreditation?

Who initiates the accreditation process?

When is the self-study report due?

Are there reviews between site visits?

Is accreditation an "all or none" classification?

What does "accredited" mean?

What happens if a college doesn't meet the criteria for a classification of "accredited"?

What happens if a college with probationary accreditation status doesn't correct its deficiencies?

How does a new veterinary college become accredited?

Why might a school not be accredited?

Accreditation and You

Why should a veterinary student care about accreditation?

Site Visits

Who pays for site visits?

Does the Council ever refuse to go on a site visit?

What happens on a site visit?

Student Attrition

What is the percentage of absolute attrition?

In calculation student attrition, what should be put in the first attrition column of the attrition table (Table B)?

In calculation student attrition, what should be in the "relative attrition — personal" column of the attrition table (Table B)?

Veterinary Technology Programs

What about accreditation of veterinary technician programs?

View additional FAQs on accreditation of veterinary technology programs and the AVMA Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA).

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