Licensing Requirements and USDA Accreditation

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Students successfully completing the University of Tennessee Professional program will be awarded a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree, granted upon receipt of their diploma. This degree bestows your title as a veterinarian. All veterinarians must be licensed by the state in which they intend to practice veterinary medicine.* Veterinary licensing requires successful completion of both the national (NAVLE) and a state license application and all required exams.

*Some careers in veterinary medicine (e.g. research scientist, educator, USDA inspector, etc.) require a veterinary degree, but not a state veterinary professional license to be qualified to work in such fields.

National Licensing Examinat​​ion

Students at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine program can take the North American Licensing Examination (NAVLE) during their 4th academic year. The exam is currently offered in two exam windows (four weeks in November/December and two weeks in April).

Under NBVME requirements, those eligible to apply for the NAVLE include:

  • Graduates of schools accredited by the Council on Education of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).
  • Senior students at AVMA-accredited schools who have an expected graduation date no later than ten months from the last date of the applicable testing window, except for candidates applying through the California, Nebraska, Texas and New York state boards, which have an eight month graduation requirement.
  • Graduates of schools not accredited by the AVMA who are enrolled in or hold certificates issued by the Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates (ECFVG), or the Program for the Assessment of Veterinary Education Equivalence (PAVE).
    • Candidates who are enrolled in ECFVG or PAVE must have completed the Step 3 examination requirement of the respective certification program before they may be approved by a licensing board to take the NAVLE.
  • Senior students at schools not accredited by the AVMA who are enrolled in the ECFVG or PAVE, who have an expected graduation date no later than ten months from the last date of the applicable testing window (except for candidates applying through the California, Texas and New York state boards, which have an eight month graduation requirement), and have completed their program’s Step 3 examination.

Some state/territorial licensing board NAVLE eligibility requirements differ, and to be approved to take the NAVLE through those boards, you must meet their requirements.


If you are applying to take the NAVLE for the purpose of being licensed by a U.S. state or territorial veterinary licensing board, you must submit TWO NAVLE applications – a national NBVME NAVLE application (application #1), and a state/territorial NAVLE application (application #2).

Students with Documented Disabilities: Students with documented disabilities that require test accommodations must submit requests for testing accommodations to the individual licensing board and NBVME, including required documentation by the application deadline.

Costs: The 2019 cost for the NAVLE exam is $670.

Application #1 Deadlines: August 1 for the November-December NAVLE testing window, and February 1 for the April testing window.

For information and current deadlines on the applying for the NAVLE please visit: https://icva.net/navle/​​

Application #2: To complete the process for National Board examination, Application #2 submission must be completed.

Application #2 Deadlines and Fees: The deadline and requirements for application #2 will vary by the state.  Additional fees are required to process application #2.

State of Tennessee Licensing Requirements​

The practice of veterinary medicine is controlled by a central agency in each state. In Tennessee, the Tennessee Department of Health governs the practice of veterinary medicine and issuance of state veterinary licenses. The State of Tennessee relies on the NAVLE exam as part of the licensing exam process. 

The State of Tennessee Veterinary Application can be reviewed on the Tennessee Department of Health website.

Senior students must complete and notarized the license application and provide all available information prior to the stated deadline.  The 2018 application fee required for the initial license application was $135.00.

Senior Veterinary Students: will submit all available documentation as soon as possible. The only items the Board should expect to receive at a later date are as follows: transcripts (which will be sent directly from school registrar), and NAVLE test scores (which will be sent directly to the Board). The licensure application and licensure fee payment must be submitted to the Board’s administrative office in accordance with the National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners (NBVME) deadline. Note: You will need to apply directly to the ICVA in order to take the NAVLE (application #1)

Key documents for final Tennessee licensure include: proof of citizenship, declaration of citizenship, certified transcripts, completed NAVLE scores, practitioner profile, criminal background check and finger prints.

For complete information about licensure to practice in Tennessee contact:
Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners
Ms. Lyndsey Boone
665 Mainstream Drive, 2nd Floor
Nashville, TN 37243
615-532-5090 or 1-800-778-4123

USDA Accreditat​​ion

For a recently graduated veterinarian to be able to participate in state and federal disease control, eradication programs, and to issue health certificates as a veterinarian, they must hold an Accreditation by the USDA.

University of Tennessee students participate in Accreditation training and orientation during Transitions Seminars in their 6th semester.  Once the student has graduated and is fully licensed, they will complete their USDA Accreditation process through the online application registration.

For further information, contact the National Veterinary Accreditation Program coordinator for Tennessee, Robert Chadwell, or visit the USDA Accreditation website.