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Accrediting veterinary nursing qualifications

Becoming an Awarding Organisation or Higher Education Institution for an accredited veterinary nursing qualification

The RCVS maintains a Register of Veterinary Nurses qualified to provide supporting nursing care to animals and, under veterinary direction, to undertake certain treatments and procedures that are controlled by law under the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966.

The RCVS controls entry to the Register and accredits qualifications that provide a 'licence to practise' as a veterinary nurse. Such qualifications must be regulated awards, made either by a recognised university or UK awarding organisation. The standards for accreditation of such qualifications and awarding institutions are stipulated by the Veterinary Nurses Council.

The Veterinary Nurses Council approved a new Standards Framework for Veterinary Nurse Education and Training in November 2019. Applications for accreditation must be made to the RCVS, and potential Awarding Organisations and Higher Education Institutions should contact us directly for further information.

In 2010, the RCVS formally affiliated with the Accreditation Committee for Veterinary Nurse Education (ACOVENE). ACOVENE was established in 2007 to allow greater mobility of trained veterinary nurses within Europe by quality assuring veterinary nursing programmes and their delivery across the continent.

Under the terms of the agreement, any establishment accredited by the RCVS to award veterinary nursing licence to practise qualifications and their delivery centres are considered an affiliate member of ACOVENE which is a tribute to the high standards maintained by the RCVS and the Higher Education Institutions / Awarding Organisations.

Information regarding all relevant processes and procedures are included in the RCVS VN Standards Handbook

Accreditation processes    

The accreditation process is set out in the table below:

Process stages


Stage 1

Contact the RCVS at least one year before the first cohort is registered for the qualification. Draft plans for design, delivery, assessment and quality assurance must be submitted together with a timeline for implementation.

Stage 2

RCVS meets key Awarding Organisation / Higher Education Institution staff to discuss the proposal and agree the timeline.

Stage 3

Accreditation application and supporting documentation submitted to the RCVS a minimum of 4 weeks prior to the approval meeting or validation event.

Stage 4

Accreditation meeting or validation event.

Stage 5

Draft report provided to the Awarding Organisation / Higher Education Institution within a month of the event.

Stage 6

RCVS VN Education Committee considers report and confirms accreditation status.

Stage 7

Awarding Organisation / Higher Education Institution informed of outcome.

Stage 8

Ongoing annual quality monitoring

Application form

Formal applications for accreditation must be made by completing an 'Application for accreditation or re-accreditation of an Awarding Organisation or Higher Education Institution awarding veterinary nursing qualifications' form.  

For an application form which can be completed and submitted electronically, please contact the Veterinary Nursing department on 020 7202 0788 or via email at [email protected]. We will also supply a copy of the new Accreditation Standards. You can check our Fees page for details of the current accreditation fee.