Veterinary Accreditation Renewal Process for Currently Accreditated Veterinarians

Summary of the Veterinary Accreditation Renewal Process for Currently Accredited Veterinarians

Because of the overwhelming volume of applications, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has extended the deadline for accredited veterinarians to elect to participate in the National Veterinary Accreditation Program (NVAP) until further notice. For more information visit the APHIS website.

On December 9, 2009, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Veterinary Services, announced the final rule change for National Veterinary Accreditation Program (NVAP). Veterinarians will no longer be granted lifetime accreditation status. The NVAP will now require accreditation renewal every three years and continuing education (CE) requirements will be associated with the renewal.

Key Points

  • To stay accredited, send in an application by July 31.
  • As part of the application process, select between two levels of accreditation (see below)
  • Once your application is accepted, you will have until 2013 to complete the CE.
  • After submitting your application, you may not hear back from the USDA for 4-6 months.
  • After submitting the required application, each veterinarian will be assigned a new 6-digit ID number, which is required to register for online CE courses.

CE Requirement

  • You don’t need to complete any CE right now.
  • The CE offered by USDA is free.
  • Each unit of CE requires approximately one hour of time reading material online.
  • You need either three units of CE, or six units, depending on the level of accreditation you seek (details below).

Levels of Accreditation
Two categories of accreditation have been established, depending on the species covered: 

Category I Animals: All animals, except: food and fiber species, horses, birds, farm-raised aquatic animals, all other livestock species, and zoo animals that can transmit exotic animal diseases to livestock. This category is for veterinarians who would be certifying only dogs and cats. It requires three units of CE every three years. If your practice includes any of the species exempted from Category I, you should consider applying for Category II.

Category II Animals: All animals. This requires six units of CE. Within Category II, there will be APHIS program accreditation specialties created that will require additional training.

Timeline of Key Dates

February 1, 2010 – USDA began a three-month campaign to notify veterinarians of the revised program.

May 1–July 31, 2010 – USDA will accept applications

July 31, 2010 – The last date USDA will accept applications for reaccreditation. (Veterinarians must do this to keep their accreditation status.)

August 2, 2010 – All accreditations will expire unless veterinarians have re-applied for accreditation.

September 2010 – Those who have submitted applications for re-accreditation will receive a letter from USDA telling them when they will need to have their CE completed.

December 2010 – On-line CE is expected to become available from USDA.

2013–2015 − There will be a staggered three-year renewal cycle for all accredited veterinarians to renew their CE.

2016 – Begin regular three-year renewal cycle for CE.

To locate and complete the required form to retain your status as an accredited veterinarian: 

  1. Go to
  3. Read the instructions, then click on “VS Form 1 – 36A”
  4. Print out this form (you can fill it out online first), which is already partly completed with box 3 checked showing you are filing to “Choose Accreditation Category.”  DO NOT also check box 5 “Accreditation Renewal” (you will need to first complete the required training module prior to your first renewal under this program in 2013).
  5. Complete the rest of the form by following the attached page of “Applicant Instructions.”  You will need to indicate if you wish accreditation for Category I species (excludes livestock, horses, birds, wildlife, zoo animals) or Category II species (all animals).
  6. You cannot email in the form. Fax it to 301-734-0686 or 301-734-3641 and keep your original (make a note of the day you faxed this).  You should receive confirmation within 4-6 months from APHIS.
  7. Some time prior to 2013, your first renewal on the new program, you will need to complete the required CE.

For additional information, contact the CA-NV USDA veterinary services office at 916-854-3950 or visit the CDFA website at

1. Wilson, Dennis and David Ewey. “Changes in the USDA Veterinary Accreditation Rules that Affect Currently Accredited Veterinarians.” California Veterinarian, March/April 2010, pp. 12-13.
2. USDA APHIS website:

© 2017 California Veterinary Medical Association

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