Q&A: Veterinary credentials for managers

Take your management skills to the next level.
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Jul 01, 2011

Q I'm thinking about getting certified in practice management. What's the best way to go about accomplishing this?

"In many industries, including our own, there's often confusion between certificate programs and certification programs," says Brenda Tassava, CVPM, CVJ, co-chair for the Certified Veterinary Practice Manager Board of Directors. "A certificate program is usually relatively short and offers instruction or training to enhance your skills, knowledge, and expertise."

Examples of two certificate programs include the Veterinary Management Institute offered by the American Animal Hospital Association and the Practice Management program offered at St. Petersburg College in St. Petersburg, Fla. "While both of these programs meet the prerequisite educational requirements for applying for certification through the Certified Veterinary Practice Manager (CVPM) program offered by the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association (VHMA), don't mistake them for certification," Tassava says.

To earn CVPM credentials, you must complete an application and pass a written examination that evaluates both experience in and knowledge of practice management. Here are the additional requirements for certification:
  • 18 college semester hours in business management-related courses
  • 48 hours of continuing education courses specifically devoted to management
  • at least four letters of recommendation.

Certified managers also commit to pursuing regular continuing education and pledge to follow the VHMA professional code of ethics.

"There are currently 272 certified veterinary practice managers in North America," Tassava says. "If you've been an active practice manager for at least three years, you should seriously consider becoming certified." For more information about the CVPM program, visit the VHMA website at http://vhma.org/.