Careers: Veterinary Skills Training and Enhancement Program
On December 6, 2005, the Ontario Government announced that it would provide funding over three years to the Veterinary Skills, Training and Enhancement Program (VSTEP). VSTEP is a joint venture of the College of Veterinarians of Ontario (CVO), the Ontario Veterinary College of the University of Guelph (OVC) and the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA).
On December 15, 2006, the first cohort of participants completed the course. What a year it was!
The objective of the Veterinary Skills, Training and Enhancement Program is to retrain and refine foreign trained veterinarians’ skills in order to assist them in becoming licensed, securing employment and enjoying a successful career in veterinary medicine. Upon successful completion of the VSTEP, participants can apply for a restricted license from the College of Veterinarians of Ontario permitting them to practice veterinary medicine while they await their opportunity to sit the Clinical Proficiency Exam (CPE), the final step on the road to getting a full license to practise. The 2006 Veterinary Skills, Training and Enhancement Program consisted of over 350 hours of instructional labs and lectures and 20 days of field placement.
The labs and lectures covered the four basic species of cat, dog, cow and horse and were spread across nine modules including pathology, pharmacology, radiology, anesthesia, companion animal surgery, clinical communication, companion animal medicine, equine medicine and bovine medicine. VSTEP 2006 also included instruction in jurisprudence and maintaining proper medical records. The field placements took place in veterinary practices throughout Ontario and allowed participants to engage in the day to day procedures of and learn first hand about North American practice.
The next program is targeted to begin in April 2007. The deadline for application was February 12, 2007. Applicants must have passed the NAVLE (see below) in order to be eligible for the program. The labs and lectures will be conducted from April to September in Guelph, Ontario and the field placements will take place during the months of September and October throughout the province.
Licensing Process for Foreign Trained Veterinarians
In order to become licensed to practice in North America, foreign trained veterinarians need to follow the process as directed by the National Examining Board (NEB) in Canada and the Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates (ECFVG) in the United States of America. Since 1998, the first step of the process after registering with and being assessed by the appropriate Board has been to write the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE). The NAVLE is a 360 question, multiple choice examination. The next step is to perform the Clinical Proficiency Exam (CPE) which is a three to five day practical exam with seven sections. Once the candidate has successfully passed both of these tests, they are eligible to apply to the jurisdiction of their choice and seek full licensure.
As of June 2007, the process is set to change. Foreign trained veterinarians will need to first pass a Basic Science Test, then do the CPE, and as a third step toward licensure, write the NAVLE.