What is a veterinary specialist?
A veterinary specialist is a registered veterinarian with an exceptionally high level of skill that is well above that of a general practitioner. A specialist has undergone extensive advanced supervised training, culminating in the passing of a rigorous set of examinations. Specialist qualifications are usually restricted to a particular species or discipline. In clinical practice, most veterinary specialists accept referral cases from other veterinarians.
Who can use the specialist title?
The titles ‘Veterinarian, Veterinary Surgeon and Veterinary Practitioner’ are legally restricted to those individuals who are registered by veterinary boards in Australia and New Zealand. The title Veterinary Specialist is legally restricted to those individuals who have achieved higher veterinary qualifications, usually involving several years of study and peer assessment, and are registered as Veterinary Specialists by veterinary boards in Australia and New Zealand. The purpose of the restrictions on the use of the titles Veterinarian and Veterinary Specialist is to protect the public by ensuring that only those individuals who possess the appropriate qualifications can provide veterinary services.
Who provides specialist endorsement in Australia and New Zealand?
The final decision on specialist endorsement and registration is made by the veterinary boards. The Advisory Committee on the Registration of Veterinary Specialists (ACRVS) is a committee of the Australasian Veterinary Boards Council Inc. (AVBC). Using AVBC guidelines, ACRVS provides an expert assessment of an applicant’s specialist qualifications, training and experience. This is done on behalf of its member veterinary registration boards in Australia and New Zealand.* On completion of the ACRVS assessment, AVBC will notify you and your veterinary board of its recommendation on your eligibility for specialist registration.
* Applicants seeking specialist endorsement with the Veterinary Surgeons Board of South Australia should apply to the board directly.
Follow these steps to apply for assessment of your specialist training and qualifications: