Veterinary Specialists

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 final decision on specialist endorsement and registration is made by the veterinary boards.  The Advisory Committee on the Registration of Veterinary Specialists (ACRVS), a committee of the Australasian Veterinary Boards Council Inc. (AVBC), conducts assessments of an applicant’s specialist qualifications, training and experience 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 chosen 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.

How can I apply to become a specialist?

If you meet the eligibility criteria below, read the application form guidelines carefully prior to applying for assessment, and complete the assessment of eligibility for registration as a veterinary specialist application form.

Send the completed application form and supporting documentation to:

Information for specialist candidates

Eligibility for specialist registration

Before applying to the ACRVS for assessment applicants must:

  • hold a current registration certificate issued by an AVBC member registration board in Australia or New Zealand – applicants must be registered with an Australian / New Zealand registration board before applying; and
  • have been practicing as a veterinarian for a minimum of five (5) years; and
  • have completed a suitable training program* as set down in Section 5 of the Specialist Eligibility Assessment applicant guide; and
  • have successfully completed an examination at the conclusion of the training as set down in Section 5.5.7 of the Specialist Eligibility Assessment applicant guide; and
  • 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.

Please refer to Minimum Standards Document (MSD) in the Specialist Eligibility Assessment applicant guide for more information on the requirements you must fulfil to be assessed by the ACRVS.

*If you have not completed a suitable training program as set down in Section 5 of the Specialist Eligibility Assessment Applicant Guide but you have passed an examination (see Section 5.5.7), you may be eligible to apply for assessment of your specialist training and qualifications as a Founding Member. Please consult pg. 10 of the Specialist Eligibility Assessment Applicant Guide for more information, or contact

If you meet the requirements for eligibility assessment, please read the Application Guidelines for Assessment of Eligibility for Registration as a Veterinary 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 a registration fee to your local registration board 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