It all used to be so simple! If your dog had a problem you went to a veterinarian, which was easy to find based on the initials after their name: DVM or VMD (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine or Veterinary Medical Doctor). Now a days, everyone has initials behind their name; but what do they all mean and how do I know that is the right person to go to?
Typically, letters behind a person's name indicate a level of education and where that education took place. I'd like this blog to serve as a reference guide for the animal rehabilitation/sports medicine/alternative medicine world; a place to learn what the letters mean, where the education possibly took place, and what those letters give the individual the right to do. These letter designations are mainly used in the United States. It is important to remember that not all certifications are created equal and just because some one is certified, it does not mean they are perfect.
"Certification refers to the confirmation of certain characteristics of an object, person, or organization. This confirmation is often, but not always, provided by some form of external review, education, assessment, or audit. Accreditation is a specific organization's process of certification." - Wikipedia Definition
DVM - Doctor of Veterinary Medicine; Veterinary schools in the USA and Canada; A 4 year post-graduate degree; does not correlate to a license to practice veterinary medicine
VMD - Veterinary Medical Doctor; University of Pennsylvania;
A 4 year post-graduate degree; does not correlate to a license to practice veterinary medicine
CCRT - Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist; Canine Rehab Institute; Restricted to Veterinarians and Physical Therapists - Depending on State Practice Act both can diagnose and create treatment plans. http://www.caninerehabinstitute.com/CCRT.html
CCRA - Certified Canine Rehabilitation Assistant; Canine Rehab Institute; Restricted to PTAs and Veterinarian Technicians who currently work with a CCRT. Not allowed to diagnose or create treatment plans, allowed to carry out treatments prescribed by a veterinarian or physical therapist.
CCRP - Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner; Northeast Seminars (University of Tennessee); No differentiation between Veterinarians, PTs, Veterinary Technicians and PTAs. Veterinary Technicians and PTAs should not be diagnosing or creating treatment plans.
DACVSMR - Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation;
DACVS - Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons; A 3 year residency at a program approved by the ACVS, publication in a peer-reviewed journal, and passing of the board examination.
PT - Physical Therapist; 3 years at an accredited CAPTE program (doctor of physical therapy degree)
PTA - Physical Therapist Assistant; 2 years at an accredited CAPTE program (associates degree)
CVT/RVT/LVT - Certified/Registered/Licensed Veterinary Technician; 2 or 4 years at an accredited program (associates degree or bachelors degree) Designation depends on state practice act.
CVPP -Certified Veterinary Pain Practitioner
CAC - Certified Animal Chiropractor
FABAA - Fellow of the American Board of Animal Acupuncturists
The ABAA has established two routes of eligibility for certification in Animal Acupuncture: Individuals may qualify to take the ABAA examinations by meeting all of the requirements specified under one of the following routes: If you are applying to sit for the examination, you must: 1. A. Be certified or licensed by a State acupuncture licensure board, and B. Have graduated from a program of instruction in Animal Acupuncture that meets the minimum competencies as listed below and is comprised of a minimum 120 hours of instruction with clinical training. Or 2. A. Be certified or licensed by a State acupuncture licensure board, and B. Have had tutorial instruction equivalent in nature to the minimum competencies and over 6 years of actual practice of animal acupuncture. In order to complete the process for certification in Animal Acupuncture, the following documentation is required: 1. Proof of Acupuncture License – a current copy must be submitted with the application. License must be verifiable and applicant must be in good standing with their state licensing board or agency. 2. a. - Proof of graduation from a certification program in Animal Acupuncture that meets the ABAA’s minimum requirements; or b. – Proof of tutorial instruction and 6 years of practice of animal acupuncture.
FAAVA - Fellow of the American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncturists
The certification process involves completion of two phases a formal application and the examination. The application includes: curriculum vitae; a synopsis of clinical practice; peer evaluation forms; documentation of a minimum of 50 hours of AAVA approved acupuncture/TCM continuing education; and submission and acceptance of two acupuncture clinical case reports. The second step is the examination process. The exam currently consists of two three hours section, with 150 multiple choice questions per session.
CVA - Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist