What is a Specialist?

Successfully attaining specialist veterinary registration in Queensland is a demanding and time-consuming process. It involves a multi-step pathway progressing from becoming a registered veterinarian through periods of general training, residency training and passing examination standards set by a group of established specialist veterinarians in the field of specialisation.

The certifying bodies that set standards acceptable for specialist registration are:

  • The Australian College of Veterinary Scientists
  • The American Board of Veterinary Specialties
  • The European Board of Veterinary Specialisation
  • The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons

It takes a minimum of 4-5 years following graduation from veterinary school before someone can meet the requirements for specialist registration. Although there are a range of specialist colleges across the world that regulate the requirements of a residency training program, the features common across all colleges are:

  • A minimum number of clinically treated cases with emphasis on both breadth of exposure to a variety of clinical problems
  • Supervision by several certified specialists through the residency
  • Meeting a minimum publication requirement in peer reviewed literature, as well as contribution to continuing education of other veterinarians
    Maintaining a record of case exposure

Once all the requirements of a residency program have been met, the final hurdle is completion of a certifying examination which can range from 2-5 days of intensive questioning. Finally, registration as a specialist veterinarian in Australia requires approval by the Australasian Veterinary Boards Council (AVBC).