strengthening the veterinary

regulatory community

PAVE Standards & Policies


General PAVE Information

The Program for the Assessment of Veterinary Education Equivalence (PAVE) is operated by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB), a not-for-profit organization whose mission furthers public protection by providing services for veterinary licensing authorities in the US and Canada. The purpose of PAVE is to assess the education equivalence of international veterinary graduates on behalf of participating AAVSB Member Boards. AAVSB reserves the right to deny a PAVE certificate based on ethical considerations and moral character and fitness of the applicant, at the discretion of the Board.

PAVE defines an "international veterinary graduate" as a veterinarian whose degree was conferred by a recognized school of veterinary medicine outside of the United States and Canada. A "recognized" school is one that is recognized by the government of its country and renders its graduates eligible to practice in that country, OR, one that is recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO). US citizens who have completed their veterinary education outside the US in non AVMA-accredited schools are considered to be "international veterinary graduates," while foreign nationals who have graduated from schools in the US or Canada are not.

AAVSB provides the PAVE certification as a means of documenting the equivalency of a candidate's veterinary education, as well as any foreign license and/or registration. The PAVE Certificate allows international graduates to partially fulfill eligibility requirements for licensure in jurisdictions that recognize the certification. The PAVE Certificate is not a license to practice veterinary medicine. Applicants who receive the PAVE Certificate must also meet additional statutory criteria, including successful completion of the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE). Because the requirements vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, candidates should directly contact the veterinary board(s) of the jurisdiction(s) in which they desire licensure.

Click here for the PAVE Standards & Policies - updated 2016 (PDF)

(Back to top)

Credentials Registration

Application to PAVE also includes registration with AAVSB’s Veterinary Information Verifying Agency (VIVA) which provides a centralized, uniform process for state and provincial licensing authorities to obtain a primary source record of a veterinarian’s credentials. The service maintains information about veterinarians in the areas listed below:

  • Identifying Documents
  • Education & Training Background
  • English Language Proficiency
  • Professional Examination History
  • Employment History
  • License Verification

(Back to top) 


Photocopies and faxed applications will not be processed. Applications are accepted only online via the AAVSB website. All applications must be complete, and include full payment of the initial fee before they are processed. Visa, Mastercard, and American Express are accepted.

(Back to top)

Special Accommodations

To the extent applicable, AAVSB complies with state and federal law, including the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Act of 2008 (ADAAA 2008) regarding the administration of the AAVSB PAVE program.


Candidates seeking accommodations under the ADAAA 2008 for any PAVE examination(s) must complete and submit the Special Accommodations Form with the PAVE application. In conjunction with its test vendor and the requesting candidate and taking into consideration validity and security issues, reasonable accommodations for the examination(s) will be determined, authorized, and implemented.


PDF Application for Special Accommodations must be received by the posted application deadline.

Late applications will not be considered. Please note the appropriate documentation must be submitted to substantiate the request for accommodations.

Submit the required documents by mail, so that they will arrive in the PAVE office no later than the posted deadline date.

(Back to top)

English Proficiency

PAVE candidates must substantiate English language proficiency prior to sitting for the Qualifying Science Examination (QSE).  English language proficiency may be established by meeting the minimum requirements on one of the English language tests listed below, or by providing documentation of high school education instructed primarily in English.

Option #1: Accepted English proficiency examinations:

NOTE: TOEFL and IELTS scores are considered valid for two years after the test date.  English proficiency scores must be valid at the time a PAVE candidate sits for the QSE.  

  1. Passage of IBT-TOEFL with minimum section scores as follows: listening 26; speaking 26; writing 20; and reading 18; or
  2. Passage of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with a minimum score of 6.5 overall and minimum section scores of Speaking: 7; Listening: 6.5; Reading and Writing: 6. PAVE Candidates must take the Academic Module.

Option #2: Substantiation that the PAVE candidate has attended at least three (3) years at a secondary high school under which the complete language of instruction was English. Acceptable documentation includes: 

1. A letter received by PAVE directly from school officials stating the dates of attendance and verifying that the complete language of instruction was English
2. A certified or notarized copy of the final high school diploma or transcript 

NOTE: A degree from an English speaking college or university is not considered adequate proof of English proficiency for PAVE candidates.

PAVE candidates who were homeschooled for all or part of their high school education (grades 9—12) may submit a letter from a school district official who had oversight on their home school curriculum to substantiate that the primary language of instruction was English.

Documentation that the candidate has met the English Proficiency criteria is due at the time of application. If, upon review of the candidate’s application, this requirement has not been met, the candidate will be deferred to the next scheduling examination date.

(Back to top)

Qualifying Science Examination

PAVE candidates will not receive an authorization letter for the Qualifying Science Examination unless they have successfully completed at least 50% of their veterinary curriculum, submitted all required credentials documents and completed the English proficiency requirement.

Qualifying Science Examination results are emailed approximately four to six weeks from the examination date. Results will not be released by telephone.

If examination results are released after the deadline for the next administration of the Qualifying Science Examination, candidates who did not pass must submit an application to retake and pay the applicable fee within 5 business days of receiving their results.

PAVE candidates must pass the Qualifying Science Examination in order to be eligible to take the NAVLE.

Candidates may request a deferment of their scheduled QSE appointment if:

  1. a medical issue makes them physically unable to appear as scheduled
  2. an academic issue makes them ineligible to sit for the QSE
  3. extenuating circumstances render the candidate unable to test as scheduled


Documentation will be required to substantiate a candidate’s request for deferment. Requests will be reviewed by the AAVSB. Deferments are for the next posted examination date.

Candidates are allowed one deferment only. If the candidate is not able to test as rescheduled, they will forfeit their examination fee.

Candidates will be deferred automatically if they do not meet the eligibility requirements for the QSE, i.e. English Proficiency.

(Back to top)

Multiple Attempts on the Qualifying Science Examination

Based upon advice regarding legal issues and statistical analysis, AAVSB hereby adopts the following policy regarding multiple administrations of the PAVE Program’s Qualifying Science Examination (QSE).

  • The AAVSB Board of Directors reserves the right to determine how often the QSE will be administered taking into consideration its use, exam statistics, security, and other relevant data, and the impact of applicable laws.
  • No examinees shall be allowed to sit for the QSE more than three times during any one calendar year.
  • Examinees who have failed the basic science examination three times must seek and be granted approval of the AAVSB each time they wish to take the basic science examination after their third failed attempt and each subsequent attempt. All requests will be reviewed by the PAVE Committee with a recommendation sent to the AAVSB Board of Directors. The AAVSB Board of Directors will vote on all recommendations from the PAVE Committee.
  • The AAVSB shall adopt guidelines to be used in making a determination under section three above which shall include, at a minimum, a review of the candidate's scores for each of their third failed exam attempt and each subsequent attempt.
  • The candidate shall have the burden of substantiating compliance with AAVSB policies adopted under section four above.
  • The AAVSB reserves the right to charge a reasonable administrative fee (in addition to customary application/examination fees) for candidates exercising rights under sections three, four, and five above.
  • The AAVSB Board of Directors reserves the right to deny candidates the right to sit for the QSE including the right to permanently deny such access.
  • The AAVSB Board of Directors reserves the right to modify this policy.


(Back to top)


Test Site Changes

All Qualifying Science Examination (QSE) candidates will list on their PAVE applications their preferred testing location. Candidates are asked to indicate their preferred testing location on their online application. The AAVSB and exam vendor will establish test sites that are within a reasonable distance. Additional information coming soon.

(Back to top)

Clinical Proficiency

To meet PAVE’s clinical requirement, candidates must pass the Qualifying Science Examination before starting  their evaluated clinical experience at an AVMA-accredited veterinary college .

Complete the required clinical experience at an AVMA-accredited veterinary college beginning after the date when the Qualifying Science Examination was passed.

**Clinical experience completed before passing the Qualifying Science Examination cannot be counted toward the clinical training requirement. 

PAVE candidates must provide the following information before beginning clinical rotations:

            1.  Copy of the acceptance letter from the university
            2.  Acknowledgement form provided by AAVSB, signed by the academic dean (or designated representative)

After completion of the clinical training requirement, candidates must request that documentation of completion (including starting and ending dates) be sent directly to the PAVE program from the academic dean (or designated representative) of the host college.

If clinical training started before passing the Qualifying Science Examination, the academic dean (or designated representative) of the host veterinary college must provide written confirmation that the complete clinical training requirement was met after the date of passing the Qualifying Science Examination.

If a candidate changes clinical training programs or undertakes clinical training at more than one AVMA-accredited college, the academic dean (or designated representative) of each college needs to provide written documentation (including dates of training) of clinical rotations completed. A letter  of completion of clinical training requirement also needs to be provided by the academic dean (or designated representative) of the veterinary college from which the candidate will obtain their veterinary degree affirming that the clinical training requirement necessary to satisfy the degree requirement has been met after the date of passing the Qualifying Science Examination.   

(Back to top)

Translation of Foreign Documents

Any document (including all seals and/or stamps) not in English must be prepared and certified by a professional translation service. AAVSB reserves the right to require a translation by our preferred service. Candidates are required to submit original documents in addition to the certified translations. All costs associated with the translation of submitted documents are the responsibility of the candidate.

(Back to top)