What is a Specialist?

The Certificate is the first level of postgraduate qualification awarded by RCVS, and indicates that the holder is a competent clinician who has proved their experience and expertise by examination in their chosen subject. Certificate holders have the post-nominals Cert VC or Cert AVP and, for Cert AVP, vets must re-accredit every 5 years.

A Diploma holder is someone who has achieved a high standard of academic and professional expertise in their chosen subject, and is therefore entitled to place the appropriate letters after their name to indicate this achievement. In order to achieve this, a considerable period of time has to be spent gaining experience in an approved specialist referral centre and rigorous written and practical examinations must be passed. The Diploma in Veterinary Cardiology covers both small animal and large animal species. Currently, Sarah, Ruth & 19 other veterinarians, are the only holders of an RCVS Diploma in veterinary cardiology.

RCVS Recognised Specialist status is not easily achieved. To be included on the List of Recognised Specialists, an individual must have achieved a postgraduate qualification at least at Diploma level, and must additionally satisfy the RCVS that they make an active contribution to their specialty, have national and international acclaim and publish widely in their field. RCVS Recognised Specialists are required to re-accredit every 5 years to prove that are active clinically and academically.

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