This year, veterinary surgeons who wish to gain the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Advanced Practitioner status will have extra time to apply, with the application period extended to the end of October.

Advanced Practitioner status is an official recognition of a veterinary surgeon’s particular knowledge and skills in a designated field of veterinary practice.

Successful applicants will have their status listed on the RCVS Check the Register (http://www.rcvs.org.uk/registration/check-the-register/) and Find a Vet (http://findavet.rcvs.org.uk/home/) search tools, allowing the public, as well as other veterinary surgeons, to specifically search for those with the accreditation.

Since its launch in 2014, the status has attracted a total of 781 applications, 704 of which have been successful. The application period for the status was opened again on 24 February this year, and those who have been previously unsuccessful can reapply.

To apply, veterinary surgeons must have had at least five years’ experience in practice, have an eligible qualification at postgraduate certificate level (Masters level 7) and have demonstrated knowledge and experience in a particular area of veterinary practice beyond their initial primary veterinary degree. They must also confirm that they have undertaken further work and study in their field over and above the RCVS minimum requirements for continuing professional development (CPD).

There is an £80 fee for the application, with a recurring annual fee of £80 for the following five years. After five years, veterinary surgeons must reapply for the status and demonstrate that they have carried out at least 250 hours of CPD during this period, 125 of which must be in their designated field.

Christine Warman, RCVS Head of Education, said: “Applications for Advanced Practitioner status are now being accepted and vets are welcome to apply up until the end of October 2016. We have been moving gradually towards a more open application system which is much more flexible for applicants and will also have an increased number of listing dates so that those who are successful do not have to wait so long to be added to the list.

“Advanced Practitioners are current, active practitioners in their selected field and achieving the status allows veterinary surgeons to demonstrate to their clients and colleagues that they are actively engaged in gaining further experience and knowledge in a particular area of veterinary science and practice. We now have over 700 Advanced Practitioners on the list and we hope that this number will continue to grow.”

Details of the application process, eligibility criteria, eligible qualifications and fee information, as well as a list of designations, can be found in the Advanced Practitioner Applicant Guidance Notes document available from www.rcvs.org.uk/advanced

Those who are interested in applying for the status can contact Duncan Ash, RCVS Education Officer, for an initial discussion on d.ash@rcvs.org.uk or 020 7202 0703.