Frequently Asked Questions
- Why were the rules changed?
The Veterinary Board of Governors determined it was time to modernize the continuing education (CE) rules. Washington has had one of the lowest requirements among states regarding the number of hours a veterinarian must earn each year. The board also wanted to address a number of policy issues, including expanding the list of approved CE providers and discontinuing its practice of approving CE case-by-case.
- Where can I get the new rule language?
The new rules are posted on the Washington State Legislature's website in chapter 246-933 WAC. Here is a guide that describes the list of approved CE providers in WAC 246-933-460:
- How are the new rules different?
The most significant change is the requirement for 30 hours over a two-year period. Previously, 30 hours were due every three years. The transition will be rolled out over the next three years as follows:
If continuing education is due on the veterinarian's renewal date in: The next continuing education due date is on the veterinarian's renewal date in the year below and every two years thereafter: 2019 2021 2020 2022 2021 2023
Other proposed changes to the rule are summarized below:
Topic Previous rule New rule Alternatives to Meeting the Requirement There are no alternatives to meeting the CE requirement other than attaining 30 hours. Veterinarians may meet their CE requirement by achieving board certification or by being enrolled in a residency program throughout their entire CE period. The licensee must have been enrolled in a residency program approved by a veterinary specialty organization recognized by the AVMA. Credit may be obtained for a maximum of two reporting periods. Scientific Coursework There is no minimum requirement for scientific or clinic courses. A minimum of 20 scientific or clinical hours are required. Teaching as Credit There is no credit allowance for teaching. A maximum of 10 hours may be obtained through teaching via an approved provider or through a healthcare learning institution. Credit for Webinars Rules are silent on how live, interactive web-based study is counted. Clarifies that there is no credit limit for live courses attended remotely, provided attendees have the documented opportunity to question the instructor, hear the questions of other attendees, and receive responses in real time Approved Providers The approved provider list is somewhat limited. Expands the approved provider list to include several new approved organizations and individuals. Board Approval of CE Courses If the CE provider or course is not approved by rule, the board will review CE courses case-by-case, as requested. Sets a process for the board to review courses not approved by rule. Expansion of the approved provider list. CE Audits There is not clarity on the CE audit process. Clarifies required documentation when a veterinarian is audited.
- When do the new rules go into effect?
January 21, 2019 (except for the implementation of the new two-year CE period, which started January 1, 2019).
- Do I have to do something different?
As in the past, you will have to document CE hours for auditing. If you elect an alternative to traditional CE hours, you'll need to provide evidence of your board specialty certification or residency status. For board-certified licensees, this requirement can be met only for the reporting period when specialty certification is achieved. For residents, the licensee must be in their residency for the entire reporting period, and can use this option for a maximum of two reporting periods.
- Will the CE hours I accumulated before the rule change be valid?
Yes. The list of approved providers was expanded and any courses separately approved by the board are still valid as qualifying CE.
- How do I know whether CE I take qualifies?
As long as your CE courses meet the requirements in WAC 246-933-401 through 246-933-460, contribute to your professional knowledge and development, enhance services you provide to patients, and contribute to your ability to deliver current standards of care, they'll most likely meet the new requirement. The board has created a CE provider guide to help you understand more about the approved CE provider list in WAC 246-933-460.
- Is there a tool to help me track my continuing education?
The Veterinary Continuing Education Tracking (VCET) tool provided by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) allows you to record all your CE course work in a centralized database. VCET is a free program to veterinary professionals and provides an easy way for you to communicate your CE to the board. See AAVSB's website for more information.
If you have a MyAAVSB account already, then you automatically have VCET on your MyAAVSB portal. If you don't have a MyAAVSB account, just complete the brief application.
Approved Providers of Veterinary Continuing Education
WAC 246-933-460 Organizations, institutions or individuals approved by the veterinary board to provide continuing education courses. The board approves continuing veterinary medical education courses provided by organizations, institutions, or individuals (providers) including, but not limited to, the following:
- The American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD)
The AAVLD promotes continuous improvement and public awareness of veterinary diagnostic laboratories by advancing the discipline of veterinary diagnostic laboratory science. Visit their website for more information.
- The American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) Registry of Approved Continuing Education (RACE)
The RACE®program develops and applies uniform standards related to providers and programs of continuing education (CE) in veterinary medicine. Visit their website for more information.
- The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)
The AVMA is the nation's leading advocate for the veterinary profession. Visit their website for more information.
- AVMA Council on Education (COE) accredited veterinary medical colleges
The AVMA COEis the accrediting body for schools and programs that offer a professional DVM degree or its equivalent in the U.S. and Canada. The council may also approve accredit foreign veterinary colleges. Visit their website for more information.
- AVMA recognized veterinary specialty organizations
The American Board of Veterinary Specialties (ABVS) of the AVMA recognizes veterinary specialty organizations and veterinary specialties promoting advanced levels of competency in well-defined fields of veterinary medicine. Visit their website for more information.
- A board-certified veterinarian who is certified by a veterinary specialty organization recognized by the AVMA when teaching a course within his or her area of certification
Board-certified veterinarians can be searched for on each specialty organization's webpage. Links to each specialty organization are included on their website.
- Federal, state or local governmental agencies
Including, but not limited to, the U.S.Department of Agriculture, Washington State Department of Agriculture, and Washington State Department of Health.
- An instructor with credentials or qualifications in the health, husbandry, or therapy of minor species
CE providers and participating veterinarians must apply due diligence to ensure education contributes to the professional knowledge and development of the practitioner, enhances services provided to patients, and contributes to the practitioner's ability to deliver current standards of care.
- Any international, national, state, provincial, regional or local veterinary medical association
This includes the World Veterinary Association, American Veterinary Association (AVMA), AVMA member boards, and regional or local VMAs under the umbrella of a state VMA.
- The Resources for Alternative and Integrative Veterinary Medical Education (RAIVE)
RAIVE consists of a group of veterinarians who have AVMA-recognized board certification, one or more advanced degrees (e.g., OMD and PhD degrees) in addition to their veterinary degree, a faculty position in a veterinary school, VIN consultancy, publication of standard texts within the field, and/or a private (often AAHA-accredited) practice, who all have expertise in one or more areas of complementary and alternative veterinary medicine (CAVM).
- A resident or intern in training for an AVMA-recognized veterinary specialty organization under the supervision of a board-certified veterinarian
- The United States Animal Health Association (USAHA)
The USAHAis a forum for communication and coordination among State and Federal governments, universities, industry, and other concerned groups for consideration of issues of animal health and disease control, animal welfare, food safety and public health. Visit their website for more information.
- A veterinarian who is a faculty member of an accredited college of veterinary medicine when teaching a course within his or her area of expertise
This website provides a list of AVMA-accredited colleges of veterinary medicine. Visit their website for more information.
- The Washington Physicians Health Program (WPHP)
The WPHP facilitates the rehabilitation of healthcare professionals who have health conditions that could compromise patient safety, and to monitor their recovery. The WPHP offers mindfulness programs that can enhance a veterinarian's practice management:
- What other CE providers has the board approved?
- Approval of Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
- The American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS)
- Graduates of an AVMA-recognized residency program who are eligible to sit for board exams. Residency graduates are eligible continuing education providers for up to one year after graduation.