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Information for Applicants

Licensure Steps

In order to obtain licensure in Ontario, internationally educated veterinarians must complete the National Board Exams before applying to the College. 

General Licensure Steps

To be granted a licence with the College, two separate but connected processes must be completed.

Process A: Completion of the National Board Exams
Process B: Application for Licensure with the College

Process A: Completion of the National Board Exams

Step 1: Apply to take the National Board Exams

The CVMA-NEB and the AVMA-ECFVG administer the National Board Exams. The examination process includes:

  • The Basic and Clinical Sciences Examination (BCSE);
  • The North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE);
  • The Preliminary Surgical Assessment for the CPE (PSA); and
  • The Clinical Proficiency Examination (CPE)

The process for completing all National Board Exams can take 3-5 years for internationally educated veterinarians.

National Board Exam Fees and Timeline:

  • The application fee for CVMA is $565 and $1,400 for ECFVG
  • Processing time to determine eligibility is 1-3 weeks following application submission

Step 2: Successfully complete the Basic and Clinical Sciences Exam (BCSE)

The BCSE measures general knowledge in the areas of anatomy, pharmacology, toxicology, pathology, medicine, surgery, anesthesia, diagnostics and preventive medicine.

The BCSE consists of 225 multiple choice questions that must be completed within 220 minutes.

BCSE Fees and Timeline:

  • The fee for registering to take the BCSE through the CVMA is $525.45 and $220 for ECFVG
  • The BCSE is offered on a continuous basis, and results are available within 2-4 weeks 

Step 3: Successfully complete the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE)

The NAVLE measures general knowledge in the various scientific disciplines required in veterinary medicine.

The NAVLE consists of 360 multiple choice questions and requires one full day to complete.

NAVLE Fees and Timeline:

  • The fee for registering to take the NAVLE through CVMA is $1,130 and $635 for ICVA
  • The NAVLE is offered twice per year: in November/December and in April
    • Scores for the November/December exam will be reported to the CVMA or AAVSB by February 1st
    • Scores for the April exam will be reported by mid-May
    • After scores are reported, the CVMA/AAVSB will then send your NAVLE result to you

Step 4: Optional Restricted Licence Application

After passing the NAVLE, applicants can choose to apply for a Restricted Licence under supervision. This gives applicants the opportunity to gain additional clinical experience in preparation for the CPE.

For further information, please see CVO’s Licensure Policies.

Step 5: Successfully complete the PSA and CPE

The PSA and CPE are practical “hands-on” exams that assesses medical and surgical skills.

The Preliminary Surgical Assessment for the CPE (PSA)

The PSA prepares applicants to take the CPE. The PSA consists of a 1.5 hour assessment that evaluates an applicant’s ability to prepare and perform a specific surgical skill on a cadaver.

After the exam a short exit interview takes place. The results of the exam and any feedback on the assessment will be sent to applicants by the CVMA or AAVSB. 

PSA Fees and Timeline:

  • The fee for registerign to take the PSA through the CVMA is $1,130
  • Once you are registered for the PSA, you will be placed on a waiting list. You will be contacted about registration as soon as the next available test dates and locations are known.

The Clinical Proficiency Examination (CPE)

The CPE assesses an applicant’s ability to handle actual medical, surgical and diagnostic problems in a clinic or hospital. The CPE involves treating live animals and performing common lab procedures.

The CPE consists of 7 sections. Each section requires between 45 minutes to 4 hours to complete. The exam is administered over several days, depending on the exam location.

CPE Fees and Timeline:

  • The fee for registering to take the CPE through CVMA is $8,475 and $7,200 for ECFVG
  • Once you are registered for the CPE, you will be placed on a waiting list. You will be contacted about registration as soon as the next available test dates and locations are known. 
  • You must successfully complete all 7 sections in order to pass the CPE.
  • Scores will be reported to the CVMA/ECFVG and be released within 20 business days

Note: Candidates can register to take the BCSE and NAVLE outside of Canada. The CPE can only be completed in Canada or the United States. All other registration steps can be completed or started outside of Canada. 

CVMA fees are in Canadian dollars and ECFVG and ICVA fees are in American dollars. Additional fees are applicable if attempting the NAVLE outside of Canada or the United States. 

Process B: Application for Licensure with the College

Step 6: Apply for Licensure with the College

To submit an application to the College, an applicant must:

  • Meet registration requirements, including a degree in veterinary medicine and passing the NAVLE, BCSE, and CPE
  • Submit an application form (online or paper) and any necessary supporting documentation to the College. The application fee is $113.00.

If one or more registration requirements have not been met, applicants may apply to the Registration Committee to request an exemption and/or condition on licensure. This process may take 4-6 weeks following submission of the application.

Please note: An application form and supporting documentation are valid for one year once submitted.

Step 7: Successfully complete the CVO Jurisprudence Exam

The CVO Jurisprudence Examination requires candidates to demonstrate their knowledge of the legislation, regulations, standards and guidelines that govern the veterinary profession.

Once the CVO Exam fee has been paid, instructions will be sent to the applicant regarding study materials and instructions for booking the exam. Applicants are responsible for booking their own exam.

The exam is offered at several locations. A list of testing facilities can be found in the Jurisprudence Examination Candidate Instruction Guide.

CVO Jurisprudence Exam Fee and Timeline:

  • The CVO Exam fee is $197.75
  • Results are sent to the applicant and to the College on the same day the exam is completed

Step 8: Fulfill the College’s registration requirements

Once an applicant has paid the application fee and CVO Exam fee, CVO Licensure staff will contact the applicant to inform them of any outstanding documentation needed to complete their application.

For a list of documentation needed for licensure, please review the Licensure Requirements page for your desired licence type.

Step 9: Payment of licensing fees

Licence fees vary depending on the type of licence requested and the time of year an application is approved.

For current licensing fees, please review the College’s Applicant Fees.

Questions about licensure?

Lindsay Sproule
Principal, Licensure & Professional Corporations
lsproule@cvo.org