Continuing Education

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Consequences of Non-Compliance | Exemptions and Adjustments | Not Practicing or Returning to Practice | Required Courses | Self-Study | Reporting Requirements


Consequences of Non-Compliance

  1. What happens if I don’t complete the required continuing education?

    Licensees who do not comply with the continuing education requirement will not be registered to practice.

  2. Can I continue to practice if I cannot reregister because I failed to complete the continuing education requirements?

    You may not continue to practice if you are not registered. However, the department may issue a one-year conditional registration to permit you to continue practicing while you make up the missing continuing education credits. If you are in this situation, you should request a “conditional registration” when renewing your registration online or, when submitting a paper registration renewal application, by completing a Registration Renewal Addendum.

  3. For how long can I practice under a “conditional registration?”

    A “conditional registration” may be issued for up to and no more than one (1) year. A "conditional registration” may not be renewed. If you do not correct the deficiency within the period of the “conditional registration,” your authorization to practice will expire at the same time as the “conditional registration.”


Exemptions and Adjustments

New Licensees

  1. I expect to be licensed after I graduate in June of 2012. Do I have to complete any continuing education?

    No. New licensees are exempt from the continuing education requirement for the first triennial registration period. This means that you are not required to complete any continuing education during the first three years after licensure and registration. When you re-register at the end of the first registration period, you will be required to begin taking continuing education, so that by the end of your second triennial registration you should have completed the number of credits required of you.

Veterinary Medicine/Technology Faculty

  1. Do I have to complete continuing education credits if I am a veterinarian or veterinary technician that is teaching in a school of veterinary medicine or veterinary technology.

    Veterinarians or veterinary technicians engaged on a full-time basis in the teaching of veterinary medicine at a veterinary education program registered by the Department or accredited or approved by an acceptable accrediting organization do not have to satisfy the mandatory continuing education requirement. Note that you must be teaching on a full-time basis as determined by the institution in which you teach. Note further that licensed veterinarians will not be exempt if they are teaching in a veterinary technology program whereas, veterinary technicians will be exempt if they are teaching in a veterinary medicine or veterinary technology program.

Illness, Military Service or Other “Good Cause”

  1. What happens if I am unable to satisfy the requirements because of an illness or other family emergency?

    An adjustment to the continuing education requirement may be made by the Department, provided that the licensee documents good cause that prevents compliance, or the Department determines that there is good cause that prevents compliance, which shall include, but not be limited to, any of the following reasons: poor health or a specific physical or mental disability certified by an appropriate health care professional; or extended active duty with the Armed Forces of the United States; or other good cause beyond the licensee's control which, in the judgment of the Department, makes it impossible for the licensee to comply with the continuing education requirements in a timely manner.

    The circumstances upon which a licensee seeks an adjustment to the continuing education requirement must be circumstances that “make it impossible for the licensee to comply in a timely manner. “ For example a licensee who suffers a serious injury that is resolved, in the judgment of the Department, with sufficient time before the end of the registration period for the licensee to “make up” the lost time would not benefit from an adjustment. On the other hand the same injury may make a licensee eligible for an adjustment if, for instance, the injury occurs 3 months before the end of the registration period and thus makes it impossible for the licensee, who was otherwise on-course to satisfy the continuing education requirements, to comply with the requirement. Similarly, a military deployment that ends with sufficient time, in the judgment of the Department, for the licensee to make up the credits would not provide "good cause" for an adjustment.

  2. Can I be excused from the requirement if I am on extended active duty with a branch of the Armed forces.

    See response to Question #6 above.


If you are Not Practicing or are Returning to Practice

  1. I am not practicing. Am I required to complete continuing education credits?

    If you have notified the Department that you are not actively practicing, your registration will be placed on “inactive” status. You do not have to complete any continuing education credits during the period that you are on “inactive” status. Please see How to Request Inactive Status Online for further information.

  2. Will I have to make up the continuing education credits if and when I return to practice?

    Yes. If you return to practice after January 1, 2012 you will have to complete the number of continuing education hours that would have been due, if you were actively practicing at the time of your current registration. For example, a licensee who returns to practice on June 1, 2012 would be required to complete continuing education credits from January, 2012, when the law became effective, until May, 2012.

  3. Can I make up the continuing education credits that are due after I return to practice?

    No. Please see Question #11 below for additional information.

  4. What if I placed my New York State registration on “inactive” status and was practicing in another state?

    If you were practicing in another jurisdiction, you will be allowed to make up the continuing education credits that you owe during the 36 months before and/or after your return to practice, at your option.

    Please be aware that in addition to making up the deficiency that you accrued during the period that your registration was on “inactive” status, you will have to complete the continuing education credits that would be otherwise due for the new registration period.

  5. Can I use Continuing education credits that I took before I placed my registration on “inactive’ status?

    If you were not practicing in another jurisdiction during the period when your New York State registration is on “inactive” status, you must complete continuing education credits within the 12 months before the beginning of your new registration period. In other words, you must satisfy the deficiency before you can re-register to practice.

    If you were practicing in another jurisdiction, you may use acceptable credits that were accrued up to 36 months before you begin your new registration period.

  6. Can I receive credit for continuing education activity that I engaged in while practicing in another jurisdiction?

    If the continuing education activities taken in another jurisdiction were provided by a sponsor who is currently approved in New York State or was approved at the time that you engaged in the continuing education activity, and the learning activity is in subject areas that are acceptable in New York State, you will receive credit for such activity.


Required Courses

  1. Are there any subject areas that are specifically required?

    Yes. During each triennial registration period, at least two hours of the required continuing education credits shall focus on the use, misuse, documentation, safeguarding and prescribing of controlled substances.


Self Study

  1. Can I get credit for “self-study?”

    Yes but, no more than 22.5 hours of continuing education credits, in the case of a veterinarian, or 12 hours of continuing education credits, in the case of a veterinary technician, may be completed through self-instructional coursework. Self-instructional coursework means structured study, provided by an approved sponsor, that is based on audio, audio-visual, written, on-line, and/or other media and does not include live instruction, transmitted in person or otherwise, during which the student may communicate and interact with the instructor and other students.


Reporting Requirements

  1. Do I have to submit evidence of compliance with the continuing education requirements when I re-register?

    No. You will be asked to affirm that you have complied with the requirements, but you do not have to submit any documentation. Affirming that you have satisfied the requirements when, in fact, you have not, is an act of professional misconduct.

  2. How will the Education Department monitor compliance?

    The Department will conduct random audits on a regular basis to ensure that licensees are complying with the mandatory continuing education requirements. If you are selected for a random audit, you will be asked to submit proof that you satisfied the continuing education requirements.

  3. I lost or misplaced some or all of my certificates of completion of continuing education activity. What can I do?

    You should contact the sponsors of the programs you attended and attempt to obtain duplicate copies of your certificates of completion.

  4. What can I do if I contact my continuing education sponsors and they do not have records of my participation?

    Licensees bear the ultimate responsibility for maintaining and securing evidence of compliance. Failure to present such evidence upon request will be prima-facie evidence of non-compliance. Sponsors also have an obligation to maintain records, but a sponsor's failure to maintain records will not relieve a licensee of the obligation to present proof of compliance, if asked to do so.

  5. How long do my records have to be retained?

    Records must be retained for at least six years from the date of completion of the continuing education activity and must be made available for review by the Department. A sponsor’s failure to satisfy its obligation to retain records will not relieve a licensee of his or her obligation to provide evidence of participation in a continuing education activity for which credit is claimed.

If you have a question that was not answered in this section, please contact the New York State Board for Veterinary Medicine at vetmedbd@nysed.gov.

Last Updated: October 25, 2012