In 1921, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) established the veterinary accreditation program so private practitioners could assist Federal veterinarians in controlling animal diseases.
In 1992, APHIS established a national program. The National Veterinary Accreditation Program (NVAP) is managed nationally but authorization is still on a State by State basis. Creating a national system has helped APHIS standardize the accreditation procedures and requirements, allowing for more uniform administration of the program.
Today’s National Veterinary Accreditation Program
The enhancements that took place over the past 5 years in the NVAP were in the works for many years. During the past 15 years this country has seen the incursion of several foreign animal diseases (FADs). These have included outbreaks of contagious equine metritis and equine piroplasmosis, epizootics of exotic Newcastle disease and West Nile virus, cases of screwworm and monkey pox, and pandemics of the influenza virus including H1N1. In the majority of these incursions, the FADs have successfully been controlled with the accredited veterinarian being the first line of defense against such catastrophic disease events.
Because of these FAD events several major animal health and veterinary medicine organizations called for enhancements of the NVAP. The 2001 Animal Health Safeguarding Review of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) cited a need to "redesign and upgrade the National Veterinary Accreditation Program" and suggested that "the accreditation program be the core for emergency preparedness and the response plan."
In 2002 the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) published an article entitled "New Directions for the National Veterinary Accreditation Program" which turned out to be an accurate predictor of many of the elements included in the current program.
Working with State and Federal agencies, major veterinary medical organizations such as the United States Animal Health Association and AVMA, and academic organizations such as the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, APHIS developed the elements currently in the NVAP using the federal rule making process.
The Final Rule was published on December 9, 2009 and provides uniform, national education for veterinarians seeking initial accreditation Initial Accreditation Training (IAT). Since July 1, 2010, IAT has served as the mandatory precursor to the Orientation Program offered in each State for accreditation. The Final Rule also established two accreditation categories (Category I and Category II) in place of the single category, it added requirements for supplemental training and renewal of accreditation every three years, and provides for accreditation specialization.