Are you a registered veterinarian working in New Zealand or Australia who wants an extra challenge? Do you have a particular subject area that interests you and makes you want to learn more? And/or do you just want a few extra letters after your name? You might want to consider sitting an examination for Membership of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists (ANZCVS). This is something I am currently working towards, and I just wanted to share what I have learnt so far about the Membership process.
Disclaimer: This post is designed to increase awareness of veterinary membership examinations and therefore gives details of the process from the author’s perspective. The author is in no way affiliated with the ANZCVS and details of the examination process may change – you should check out the ANZCVS website and Candidate Handbook for official information.
First things first, who can sit the exams? There are a few basic requirements, namely that you:
- Are eligible to be registered as a veterinarian in New Zealand or Australia and;
- Graduated at least 3.5 years before taking an exam.
This is fairly standard across the board. On the Application Form, they also ask you to provide your curriculum vitae and emphasise “the extent of your experience in the area in which you are applying for examination”. It does mention on the Membership Page that you should have spent at least 4 years in a full-time ‘veterinary activity’ between graduating and sitting the exam. So this is something to think about.
At this point it is also a good idea to check out the individual Subject Guidelines for additional requirements.
Choosing a Subject
So which subject are you going to sit your Membership examination in? There are a lot to choose from! They are currently divided into three categories:
- Category 1 are the subjects that are examined every year. These are the big four of: Small Animal Medicine, Small Animal Surgery, Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care, and Veterinary Radiology (Small Animal)
- Category 2 are examined every second year – you will need to find out when exactly. The ‘Membership Examination 2017’ offerings are available now.
- Category 3 are no longer offered, but have been at some point in the past
When you are choosing a subject, it is a good idea to read the individual Subject Guidelines for the areas you are interested in. They tend to list the learning outcomes for the particular subject and give a list of recommended reading. Although this list is not exhaustive, it will give you a pretty good idea of what you will be studying.
It is fairly important to be interested in the study area!
Practicalities of the Examinations: where, when, and how much?
Again, check out the ‘Membership Examinations 2017’ on the website for 2017 dates and fees.
How much does it cost? The 2017 examination fee is set at A$1,323. This does not include your flights and accommodation to sit the oral and/or practical examination(s) on the Gold Coast in Australia.
Where and when do I sit it? The written examinations are sat in June and are available at various testing locations throughout New Zealand and Australia. However, the oral and/or practical examination(s) are held in June/July on the Gold Coast in Australia – it is coupled with the College Science Week.
Find out More
I have tried to hyperlink the relevant areas throughout this post, but I still recommend you:
- Visit the ANZCVS website, which has information on the Membership Page
- Check out the Candidate Handbook for more details
- Read up on the Subject Guidelines and Chapter overviews
- Think about it!
- Apply – applications have to be in early (31st October in the year before your exam)!
- Find a mentor (more about this in the Candidate Handbook) and download Sample Examination Papers
- Talk to people! I cannot over-stress the importance of this. As I mentioned, the subject guidelines are not exhaustive and may be a little overwhelming. I highly recommend finding someone that has successfully sat the same examination so that you can pick their brain for tips and tricks.
I have found going to veterinary conferences (e.g. AVA, NZVA, and College Science Week) really helpful. There’s tonnes of awesome people to meet and a lot of good study material is presented in the relevant stream(s) for your subject. You could even meet your examiners there!
That is probably enough information to get you started. If you have any comments or questions, please get in touch.