The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) is to accept the first applications for advanced practitioner status from the start of September.

New accreditation status represents a “middle tier” between veterinary surgeons holding an initial veterinary degree and RCVS specialists, and will demonstrate the vet has advanced knowledge and experience in a designated field of veterinary practice.

Practising vets with at least five years’ experience and a relevant postgraduate qualification are eligible to apply to be recognised as RCVS advanced practitioners.

Accepted qualifications include the Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice (CertAVP) with a designation, the RCVS Certificate awarded up to 2012, postgraduate clinical qualifications awarded by universities or recognised awarding bodies, and other relevant clinical postgraduate master’s degrees. Full details of eligible qualifications can be found at

Advanced practitioners will be expected to undertake at least 250 hours of continuing professional development (CPD) over each five-year period of accreditation, of which 125 hours should be in their designated field.

Kit Sturgess is chair of the advanced practitioner assessors panel and was involved in the development of the scheme. He said: “I am very proud we will soon be accepting applications for the advanced practitioner status, just two years after the need for such an accreditation was highlighted by Sir Kenneth Calman’s Specialisation Working Party, set up to look at the whole specialisation framework.

“Being an advanced practitioner is more than just a status – it will demonstrate to members of the public and colleagues alike that a veterinary surgeon is working at an advanced level in their field and has made an ongoing commitment to career development and lifelong learning through engaging with CPD over and above the RCVS minimum requirement.”

Applications from holders of the RCVS Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice (CertAVP) with a designation can apply from September 1, 2014 while those holding any other relevant qualifications can apply from October 13, 2014. The deadline for all applications during this first round is November 30, 2014.

All applications can be made online via the RCVS website where further information about eligible qualifications, CPD requirements and other details can be found. The application fee for this year is £50, and from next year it will be £80.

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