Mandatory CE for Veterinarians – CE Requirements

CE Requirements

Continuing education is not only an important part of your lifelong learning but also a requirement for licensure. Keeping track of your documentation is a key part of the licensure requirement.

CE Required for License Renewal

California law requires veterinarians to earn a minimum of 36 hours of approved continuing education as a condition of license renewal. The continuing education credits must be earned in the two years preceding license renewal.

Continuing Education Credit

Qualifying CE must meet the following criteria:

  • Qualifying courses must be relevant to veterinary medicine.
  • Earn one hour of CE credit for each hour of a qualifying course.
  • One credit hour consists of a minimum of 50 minutes of education.
  • A half hour credit consists of 25–49 minutes of education after the initial 50 minutes.
  • A qualifying course must be at least 50 minutes in length.
  • One academic quarter unit at a college or university is equivalent to 10 CE credit hours.
  • One academic semester unit at a college or university is equivalent to 15 CE credit hours.
  • An instructor of a qualifying course may claim CE credit hours for the course one time per renewal period.
  • Expert examiner workshop participants for the California or national licensing exam can earn one CE credit for each hour up to a maximum of 16 hours.

License Renewal Requirements

Of the 36 hours of required CE:

  • Up to six hours may be of self-study.
  • Up to 24 hours may be of business practice management or stress seminars.
  • All 36 hours may be science or medicine-based.

New CE Requirement Beginning in January 1, 2018

Beginning January 1, 2018, a veterinary licensee must complete a minimum of one credit hour on the judicious use of medically important antimicrobial drugs every four years for license renewal. For example, if your license expires on March 31, 2018, you will need to complete a judicious use course between April 1, 2018 and March 31, 2022. After the initial course has been completed, you will need to complete a judicious use course at least every other renewal period.

VMB CE Notice

Resources for Veterinary Professionals to Assist with Compliance

Approved CE Providers

The veterinarian is responsible for assuring that CE courses are offered by approved providers prior to attending the sessions. CE providers must be approved in California statute or regulation or have RACE approval from the America Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) at aavsb.org.

More information on mandatory CE, frequently asked questions, and CE laws is available on the Veterinary Medical Board website. Select the Licensee tab then click on Continuing Education.

CE Recordkeeping

The CVMA suggests two things to help maintain an accurate record of your CE:

  • Create a folder or other storage place to keep CE Certificates of Attendance for courses that you attend.
  • Enter your CE attendance history in your personal record on the CVMA website. CVMA-sponsored conferences and seminars as well as some local VMA CE are automatically entered for you. You may print out your recorded information from the website.

CE providers must provide a Certificate of Attendance which contains the following: provider’s identity, date, presentation topic/course title, speaker, number of CE units earned, and the maximum number of CE units available. The provider’s CE director (or equivalent) must sign the certificate. All licensees are required to maintain a record of their CE activities for at least four years.

Each year, the VMB will audit approximately 10 percent of renewal applications for compliance with CE requirements. In the event you are audited, you will be required to provide documentation (CE Certificate of Attendance) as proof that you completed the required 36 hours of CE. You should provide copies of your certificates and maintain the originals.


Additional Information:

Mandatory CE for Veterinarians – Reference Chart

Mandatory CE for Veterinarians – Approved Providers

Mandatory CE for Veterinarians – Self-study

Mandatory CE for Veterinarians – Frequently Asked Questions

Mandatory CE for Veterinarians – California Law

California Veterinary Medical Board

American Association of Veterinary State Boards

If you have any questions about CE-related issues, please call the CVMA office at 800.655.2862 or email staff@cvma.net.


© 2019 California Veterinary Medical Association

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