CertAVP - what is the CertAVP?











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The CertAVP at the RVC encourages independent, adult-centred and self-directed learning.  The aim of the assessment process at the RVC is not only to support candidates to fully understand the quality of their current clinical practice but also to foster life-long learning skills and to advance and enhance their clinical knowledge, skills and understanding.  Reflective, critical practice is expected and encouraged.

RVC assessors have specialist and higher educational qualifications that ensure that the level of assessment is educationally sound, robust, fair and at the level expected of veterinarians aspiring to achieve Advanced Practitioner status.  Extensive feedback is provided on all submitted work. Our aim is to help candidates develop life-long commitment to improving practice, and therefore skills such as self-analysis, clinical reasoning, and accessing, interpreting, and applying information, are of utmost importance to the RVC-based CertAVP.

Reflection is an important component of the CertAVP modules at the RVC for a very good reason and will remain.  By learning to reflect on your practice, you learn how to analyse what you do and why you do it, become better placed to explain this to clients or colleagues, and identify areas for improvement. 

Even more importantly, where you are competent at a skill in one context, reflection probes you to consider whether you could repeat that skill in a more demanding situation, or adapt it to fit a more challenging context.  By analysing situations where you feel some discomfort, reflection encourages you to consider why you feel less satisfied, and how you could develop your approach to be more satisfying in future. 

Reflection is a critical part of the self-evaluation process in learning.  It helps you think about what you know or have learned and helps you identify areas of confusion, so you can create new learning goals.  Evaluating what you have learned, what you still need to work on, and how you can get there all supports developing deeper understanding rather than superficial knowledge.  

Self-reflection and self-critique are essential components of the adult learning experience, life-long learning and professional practice.  Were it not for reflection, the implication is that there is no room for improvement.


The CertAVP is a flexible way to achieving a veterinary post-graduate qualification. 

  • We assess manageably-sized modules with credits collected as you achieve them.

  • You design your own certificate by choosing a combination of modules that reflects your area of interest and is directly relevant to your work.

  • Alternatively, you can simply be assessed on individual modules as part of your ongoing CPD, and RCVS will keep a record of your achievements.

  • 60 credits is needed for a full certificate, with each module worth 10 credits.

  • The modular structure of the CertAVP is quite straightforward:

    'A' module + 'B' module + 4 x 'C' modules = CertAVP    or

                      'A' module + 2 x 'B' modules + 3 x 'C' modules = CertAVP

  • The RCVS advise that approx 100 hours of work is required per module, which can be made up by research, reading journals, case studies/logs, attending conferences and relevant CPD courses.  Please note that actual writing of the essays and case reports may take you over the 100 hours.

  • You may enrol with the RVC throughout the year and must also enrol with the RCVS


Learning outcomes of the CertAVP

Candidates will need to demonstrate:

  • a thorough understanding of the knowledge base and a critical awareness of developments at the forefront of their area of professional practice;
  • a comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to their own area of practice;
  • originality in the application of knowledge, together with a practical understanding of how established techniques of research and clinical enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in their professional area;
  • conceptual understanding that enables them to:

- evaluate critically current literature and research in their professional area and

- evaluate clinical methodologies and techniques, and develop critiques of them and, where appropriate to propose new approaches to professional practice.

Typically, holders of the qualification will be able to:

  • deal with complex issues in an organised and creative manner, make sound judgements in the absence of complete data, and communicate their conclusions clearly to veterinary colleagues and to non-veterinary audiences, including clients;
  • demonstrate self direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks in their professional area of work;
  • continue to advance their knowledge and understanding, and to develop new skills to a high level;


Candidates will have the qualities and transferable skills necessary for professional veterinary work requiring:

  • the exercise of initiative and personal responsibility;
  • decision-making in complex and unpredictable situations; and
  • the independent learning ability required for continuing professional development.



CertAVP Survival Tips

Each year we host a CertAVP Survival Tips day for any veterinarian interested in the CertAVP whether they are currently enrolled or not.  The day consists of presentations on what is expected and how to prepare for Module A and Q&A discussion forums for all B and C modules, run by the relevant module leader.

Only those modules that the RVC is accredited to assess are discussed. 

For more assistance, please email certavp@rvc.ac.uk or ring 01707 666201