Foreign Graduate Information

Graduates of foreign veterinary medical schools that are not accredited by the AVMA Council on Education (Refer to AVMA web site, for information about schools in this category) must meet one of the following requirements.

  • Proof of certification of their final transcript by the Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates (ECFVG)
  • Possession of a permanent, full, and unrestricted license to practice veterinary medicine in a State, District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or a territory of the United States that includes successful completion of the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE) or its predecessors, the National Board Examination (NBE) and the Clinical Competency Test (CCT).
  • Proof that the education obtained in a foreign veterinary medical program is equivalent to that gained in a veterinary medical program that is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education. Under this provision, equivalency is established only if an AVMA-accredited veterinary medical school or college accepts the graduate’s final transcript from the foreign veterinary medical school at full value for placement into an advanced degree, postgraduate educational program, or training program (e.g. residency or graduate program).

Graduates of foreign veterinary medical programs must also provide proof of proficiency in the English language by successfully completing one of the nationally and internationally recognized examinations that incorporate assessments of reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. Examples of examinations that assess mastery of the English language are shown below:

  1. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) — Minimum scores for the TOEFL are 560 for the paper-based version; 220 for the computer-based version; or overall score of 83 for the internet-based version (including 26 or higher in speaking, 26 or higher in listening, and 17 or higher in writing). For the computer-based and paper-based test versions, applicants must also complete the Test of Spoken English (TSE) and the Test of Written English (TWE). Minimum required scores are 55 for the TSE and 5.5 for the TWE;
  2. Academic tests (listening, writing, and speaking) offered by the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Applicants must achieve a minimum overall band score of 7.0, with at least 7.0 in speaking, 6.5 in listening, and 6.0 in writing;
    Canadian Academic English Language Assessment (CAEL). Applicants must achieve a minimum overall band score of 70, with at least 60 in speaking, 60 in listening, and 50 in writing.

The veterinary curriculum is more diversified than human medicine because of the number and variety of species and physiologies the students have to study. Many veterinarians, especially general practitioners, take on many responsibilities as surgeons, pharmacists, diagnosticians, radiologists, behaviorists, dentists, orthopedic surgeons, etc. and provide comfort to both patient and owner- all this has to be learned. In public veterinary practice, veterinarians also function as pathologists, epidemiologists, diagnosticians, public health officers, food scientists, food safety experts, research scientists, program managers, Directors, and Administrators.

There are courses in veterinary colleges that encompass an overview of many different animal species. These include marine and fresh water animals and wildlife, but most courses are specific to domestic land animals (both companion and farm animals). Birds and reptiles are also covered but to a lesser degree depending on the track that students select. Aquatic medicine and wild animal medicine are specialties that can be followed once the student decides in which specific field they want to practice.

Students should apply for veterinary school in the summer prior to the year in which they will matriculate from undergraduate school. For example, if a student is applying for veterinary college starting fall of 2010, they would submit their application in the summer of 2009. The national Grade Point Average for acceptance into a veterinary college is no less than a “B” or 3.0. When a student graduates from a US veterinary college they receive a doctorate of veterinary medicine (DVM) or a Veterinary Medical doctorate (VMD).

The DVM or VMD degree requires a minimum of 6 years of college consisting of at least 2 years of pre-veterinary study that emphasizes the physical and biological sciences and a 4-year veterinary program. Many applicants have already completed 4 years of college prior to applying to veterinary colleges. In addition to academic instruction, training includes clinical experience in diagnosing and treating animal diseases, performing surgery, and performing laboratory work in anatomy, biochemistry, physiology, and other scientific, medical, and public health related subjects.