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 must have undergone extensive advanced supervised training, culminating in the passing of a rigorous set of examinations.
Who can use the specialist title?
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 qualifications are usually restricted to a particular species or discipline. In clinical practice, most veterinary specialists accept referral cases from other veterinarians. 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?
The Advisory Committee on Registration of Veterinary Specialists (ACRVS) is the body responsible for recommending specialist status to the registration boards. In Australia, the ACRVS undertakes assessments ONLY upon the request of a registering authority and no correspondence occurs with the person seeking specialist registration.
How can I apply to become a specialist?
Australian veterinarians who wish to be considered for specialist status will need to apply through their registering boards. A specialist registration information booklet and application form is available in the related documents section to the left. Please note that you may also be required to complete a separate application form for your registering board and should consult their website or contact them directly to confirm this. The board will ensure your documentation is complete, and provide a letter of good standing on your behalf. This is needed for the application process.
New Zealand applicants
New Zealand applicants may apply direct to AVBC using the form, information booklet and fee-payment option provided.
Information for specialists
Eligibility for specialist registration
You may be considered for specialist endorsement only if you meet all of the eligibility criteria below. Applicants must:
- Hold a current registration certificate issued by their registering authority in Australia and New Zealand.
- Have been practicing as a veterinarian for a minimum of five (5) years
- Have completed a suitable training program as set down in Section 5 of the Specialist Information Booklet
- Have successfully completed an examination at the conclusion of the training as set down in Section 5.5.7 of the Specialist Information Booklet
- Be accepted by colleagues and peers as possessing knowledge and skills at the level of a specialist; and
- Be currently working (including teaching) a minimum of twenty-five hours per week in the field of their specialty.
N.b. Please refer to Minimum Standards Document (MSD) in the Specialist Information Booklet for more information on requirements you must fulfill to be considered for specialist status.
Specialist application fees
The fee for specialist assessment is set by AVBC and is subject to GST for Australian applicants. Please refer to the schedule of fees in the documents section for the current amount. You may also be required to pay an assessment fee to your local registration authority and should consult their website or contact them directly for their current fee structure.
Payment options are: credit card, money order, direct deposit or bank cheque in Australian dollars.
If you wish to pay by direct deposit, our bank details can be obtained by contacting
Tel: (03) 9620 7844 or
Email: admin”at”avbc.asn.au (please use the @ instead of “at”)