Frequently Asked Questions - Application Process
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Does the requirement that applicants must have 4 years of post-DVM experience change in the event the applicant completed a dual degree program (e.g. DVM/MPH)?


The ACVPM bylaws state that in order to be deemed eligible for the exam all candidates must have 4 years of experience after their DVM (or equivalent) degree is conferred.  Graduate degrees obtained prior to or concurrently with a DVM degree will not count towards the required 4 years of experience, but will be considered by the committee as part of the total application review process.


Are there any other situations where a candidate may be permitted to take the exam prior to achieving 4 full years of experience?


Applicants in good standing in the final year of a College-approved formal residency or training program will be eligible to sit for the exam provided that they:

  1. Graduate with a degree in veterinary medicine from a school or college of veterinary medicine accredited by the AVMA or possess a certificate from the Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates (ECFVG) of the AVMA or be legally qualified (licensed) to practice veterinary medicine in some state, province, territory, or possession of the United States or other country


  1. Have a history of unquestionable moral character and professional behavior


  1. Will meet the qualifying experience requirements (4 years) upon completion of the program. 

Final certification is contingent upon documentation of successful completion of the program to the EVP.  There are currently 2 residency programs approved by the College:

  1. The University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine-Veterinary Public Health and Preventive Medicine Resident program

  2. The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine-Veterinary Public Health Resident program. 

All other applicants will need to meet the 4 years of qualifying experience requirement by the application deadline in order to be considered to sit for the exam.  NOTE: This is a change from previous guidance indicating that 4 years of qualifying experience could be obtained by the exam date.

Why is experience in 3 or more specialty areas of veterinary preventive medicine needed to be eligible to sit for the exam?

The examination is focused on all 5 specialty areas of veterinary preventive medicine outlined in Article II of the ACVPM Constitution.  An applicant’s success on the exam is partially determined by their qualifying experience which indicates an enhanced level of knowledge in veterinary preventive medicine.  Once a Diplomate, it is expected of preventive medicine specialists to uphold these high standards of knowledge.

Can you explain how qualifying experience hours are calculated?  

The Credentials Committee calculates qualifying experience hours using the information provided on the work and education experience tables section of the application.  To be eligible to sit for the exam, an applicant must have 4 years of full-time qualifying experience.  Full time is considered 35 hrs/week. A job/training experience where the applicant works >35 hrs/wk/yr will only be considered as 1 year of qualifying experience (e.g. 70 hrs/wk/yr will not count as 2 years of qualifying experience).  A post-DVM (or equivalent) master’s or doctoral degree in preventive medicine/public health or other relevant medical science may count towards the 4 years of qualifying experience  (e.g., 2 years full time in a Master of Public Health program may be reviewed and considered by the Credentials Committee as 2 years of qualifying experience).  Qualifying experience hours must come from at least 3 of the 5 areas of veterinary preventive medicine (VPM) outlined in Article II of the ACVPM Constitution.  

Here are some examples of how hours may be calculated (all examples assume that experience is gained post DVM or equivalent degree).

      1.  Job/training experience where 100% of duties relate to 1 or more VPM specialty areas

                  a.  35+ hrs/wk x 1 year = 1 year of qualifying experience

  • If these duties comprise 3 or more VPM specialty areas then after 4 years in the job/training experience the applicant should have enough qualifying experience to sit for the exam

  • If these duties only comprise 1 or 2 veterinary preventive medicine specialty areas then more than 4 years in the job/training experience will be required for an applicant to be eligible to sit for the exam (i.e. an additional year of qualifying experience will be needed in a second and/or third specialty area of veterinary preventive medicine)


                   b.  20 hrs/wk x 1 year= 0.5 years of qualifying experience



      2.   Job/training experience where <100% of duties relate 1 or more veterinary preventive medicine specialty areas


                  a.  35+ hrs/wk x 1 year (50% of job/training duties in VPM)= 0.5 years of qualifying experience


                  b.  35+ hrs/wk x 1 year (75% of job/training duties in VPM)= 0.75 years of qualifying experience


                  c.  20 hrs/wk x 1 year (50% of job/training duties in VPM)= 0.25 years of qualifying experience

It is imperative that applicants accurately and thoroughly complete the relevant work and education experience tables on the application form.  Keep in mind you need to convince complete strangers of your knowledge, skills, and abilities in veterinary preventive medicine.  

Could public health work that is not veterinary related count as qualifying experience?

Yes.  Post-DVM (or equivalent degree) public health work not related to veterinary medicine may count as qualifying experience.  Keep in mind that the majority of experience must come from veterinary preventive medicine.

Please explain the reference form that is included with the application documents; it is a bit confusing.


Each applicant will need to submit references from 2 different individuals.  References are not required to have a DVM (or equivalent degree).  However, it is critical that the persons providing references know the applicant well enough that they feel capable of completely and accurately providing the requested information.


The 2-page reference form must be filled out entirely.  This includes:

  • Applicant Name pre-populated by the applicant at the top of both pages of the reference form.  We ask that the applicant pre-populate their name at the top of both pages before transferring the form to the reference writer.  This will decrease errors in the process should the reference have multiple ACVPM Board Exam references to write.

  • Reference Name and Contact Information

  • How long the reference has known the applicant in years and months (this can include both personal and professional relationships)

  • The section related to Training Program Director may be skipped if it does not apply.

  • Responsibilities/ Professional Experiences that the applicant had in relation to the 5 areas of veterinary preventive medicine during the relationship. This should be a fairly detailed description but should fit within the spaces provided on the 2nd page of the reference form. “Not observed” can be used where applicable

  • All references must complete the Criteria Assessment with yes, no, or N/A for each row

  • Reference must sign and date the document digitally or by hand in the box provided on the 1st page of the reference form.  It is preferred that the document is converted to PDF before digital signature.

With the exception of the question that is specifically for training program directors, all other information on the reference form must be completed.  Applicants with incomplete reference forms will not be approved.  Applicants are responsible for ensuring that their references complete the forms as required.  

The reference returns a signed form to the applicant in PDF format. The applicant includes the completed, signed reference in their application packet. Detailed instructions are provided in the application form and on the reference form. 

Why does an applicant need to share their references with their sponsor?


In some instances, the relationship between an applicant and their sponsor may be brief in nature.  In such instances, it is especially important for the sponsor to have visibility to the information provided to support the applicant’s moral and ethical character.  The sponsor is encouraged to review the reference forms along with their sponsee’s application as a whole to ensure completeness.  


What if my chosen reference(s) aren’t able to describe my responsibilities and experiences?


A different individual should be chosen to provide the reference.


Is there a limit to how much time can elapse between the professional relationship “ending” and the reference being provided?


No, there is not a defined limit.  It is important that the reference feels they can provide complete and accurate information.  The time indicated on the reference form can include both personal and professional relationships, if applicable. 


Are there any alternate ways that I can provide official confirmation of my degree(s) other than a photo of my diploma?


Official transcripts from the school(s) (must be from registrar and have appropriate signatures and seals) can be substituted in place of a scanned or photographed diploma, provided that the transcript states that the degree was conferred.


What should I do if my name has changed since my degree was conferred?


Please provide official supporting documentation that confirms the name change.  Examples include marriage license, divorce decree, etc.


What if any of the documents required for my application are in a language other than English?


A certified translation is required for any documents that are not in English. The document must be provided for the credentials committee to review in English and must be accompanied with documentation that the translation from the original document was completed by a certified individual or company.  


Can my sponsor also serve as 1 of my 2 references?


The sponsor may also serve as 1 of the 2 references.  This topic is best approached on a case-by-case basis and is dependent on the nature of the relationship that the sponsor and applicant have.

Can an applicant ask for review of the experience forms from the Credentials Committee before submitting the application?

Unfortunately, the Credentials Committee can only review completed applications that have been submitted through the application portal.  Your sponsor will be the best resource to review your experience forms to make sure you’re on the right track.

Is there a maximum number of applicants allowed to sit for the exam each year?

There is no set maximum.  Yearly application numbers typically range from 50 to 150.