Veterinary Student Information Regarding Application for California Veterinarian Licensure During COVID-19 Pandemic

The Veterinary Medical Board (Board) is committed to licensing students as timely as possible. The Board is aware of multiple impacts the COVID-19 pandemic has had on veterinary students. Specifically, numerous licensing examination sites have been closed, as well as fingerprinting locations. The Board has been working diligently with the Office of Professional Examination Services (OPES), testing vendors, and California veterinary schools to resolve COVID-19 related delays.

This page was created specifically for fourth-year veterinary college students and graduates to provide the most updated information regarding their ability to become a California licensed veterinarian.

The Board sends out frequent communication via email. To receive the most up to date information and announcements, students are strongly encouraged to subscribe to the Board’s email list here.

Examination Eligibility Application

Veterinary students may submit an Examination Eligibility Application online by creating a BreEZe account within 8 months of graduation. To create a BreEZe account, go to www.BreEZe.ca.gov.

Please have the following documents ready to upload:

  • Passport quality photograph
  • Proof of graduation or proof of senior status and graduation within 8 months (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 16, § 2010.1)
    • The Board accepts letters from your university/college deans as proof of senior status and graduation within 8 months.
    • If you are a fourth-year student currently attending a California school, the Board receives confirmation from the school deans. No upload is necessary.

Important Notes:

  • Make sure to click “upload” after attaching all documents. Otherwise, the attachments will not properly link to your application record.
  • Providing your current email address is essential for processing your application as expeditiously as possible.
  • After you have been notified by the Board that you are eligible to take the examination, you have one year to appear for the examination. If an applicant fails, without good cause, to appear for examination within one year or two examinations, whichever occurs first, your application will be considered abandoned (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 16, § 2015.5).

Examinations

North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE)

Prometric has deemed the International Council for Veterinary Assessment (ICVA) an essential program. As such, Prometric has opened various testing sites throughout the United States. For a complete list of opened testing sites, please click here.

California State Board Examination (CSBE)

As of May 4, 2020, the following PSI testing sites are open at limited capacity to CSBE candidates:

California Locations:

  • Agoura Hills, CA
  • Lawndale, CA
  • Redding, CA
  • Sacramento, CA
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Atascadero, CA
  • El Monte - Santa Fe Springs, CA
  • Riverside - Mission Grove, CA
  • Santa Clara, CA
  • Santa Rosa, CA
  • Ventura, CA
  • Visalia, CA

Out-of-State Locations Scheduled to Open on May 1:

  • Mid-Atlantic: Cranberry Township, PA, Cherry Hill, NJ and Queens, NY
  • Midwest: Chicago, IL, Southfield, MI and Woodbury, MN
  • Northeast: Boston, MA, Milford, CT and West Hartford, CT
  • South: Charlotte, NC, and Richmond, VA
  • Southwest: Albuquerque, NM
  • West: Las Vegas, NV and Wilsonville, OR

PSI has opened additional owned and operated sites as of Friday, May 1, 2020. This continues to be a very fluid process as states, cities, and counties determine whether they will be open for business. PSI anticipates the opening of approximately 75% of their owned and operated network. The sites will be operating at 50% seat capacity due to social distancing requirements. Their third-party sites will come online over the next few weeks. To find a complete list of sites and anticipated opening dates, please click here. PSI will be updating the list to reflect the latest status of these test centers and encourages candidates to check back regularly.

Initial License Application

Once the Board receives your NAVLE, CSBE, and VLE (if applicable) passing scores, you will be notified by the Board that you are eligible to apply for your initial license. At that time, your application status will change to “License Eligible” and you will be able to apply online for an initial license through your BreEZe account.

Live Scan Locations

In order to become licensed, you must submit a full set of fingerprints for the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) background checks (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 144).

DOJ has provided a list of confirmed sites throughout California that are currently providing Live Scan services. This list is available on our website here. The Board will continue to revise its website as DOJ provides updated information to the Board.

Proof of Graduation

The Board is now accepting electronic transcripts directly from veterinary colleges. If you are a 2020 California veterinary college graduate, the Board has already initiated electronic transcript transfers to the Board. If you have graduated outside of California, please have your college email your official transcript to VMB@dca.ca.gov with the subject line “Official Transcript: [STUDENT NAME]”.

Application Processing Times

Processing times vary by application. To view current processing times, please click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’m a current Veterinary Student. When can I apply to take the California State Board Examination (CSBE)?

You can apply online within 8 months of graduation by creating a BreEZe account and uploading the required documents. To create a BreEZe account, click here.

How do I know the Board has everything needed to process my application?

Once your application is reviewed by Board staff, you will be notified of any deficiencies via email.

How long will it take to process my application?

Processing times vary. You may view current application processing times here.

I submitted my application without attaching the supporting documentation. How do I submit the supporting documents now?

You may email the documents to VMB@dca.ca.gov. Be sure to include your full name, file number, and a contact phone number.

Does my Dean’s letter have to come directly from my University to the Board?

No, you may attach the letter to your examination application when submitting your online application. Be sure to click “upload” after attaching the letter; otherwise, it will not attach properly to the application.

Is a passport photo required to submit via mail?

No. Please attach a passport quality photograph to your examination application when submitting your online application. Be sure to click “upload” after attaching it; otherwise, the photograph will not attach properly to the application.

Once my application is processed how will I be notified?

You will be notified via email after your application is processed, so please ensure you provide an email address when completing the application.

Do I have to come to California to take the CSBE?

No, PSI has testing centers throughout the United States. To find a complete list of PSI testing sites and anticipated opening dates, please click here.

Once my exam application is approved, how long do I have to complete the required exams?

You have one year to complete the exam requirements from the date your examination application is approved.

Is fingerprint clearance required to take the CSBE?

Fingerprint clearance is not required to sit for the CSBE.

What’s the difference between live scan and a hard card packet?

Live Scan is a service limited to those applicants located in California. In California, fingerprinting must be performed by a certified fingerprint roller or qualified law enforcement personnel. Click here to find instructions and the Live Scan Service Request form. A live scan form must be filled out, printed, and taken with you to your Live Scan location. To find a location near you, please click here. Live Scan results can take approximately 2 to 3 days to be sent to the Board.

A Fingerprint Hard Card (FD 258) is required if you are located outside of California. If you are located outside of California and have not received a hard card, please email a request to VMB@dca.ca.gov. In your email request, please include your name, file number, and a mailing address. Fingerprint hard cards can take 45 to 60 days to process.

What exams am I required to take?

California School Graduates:

  1. North American Veterinary Licensing Examination
  2. California State Board Examination

Non-California School Graduates:

  1. North American Veterinary Licensing Examination
  2. California State Board Examination
  3. Veterinary Law Examination

When and how will I receive the Veterinary Law Examination (VLE)?

Once your examination application is approved, you will be sent via email the VLE with instructions.

When will I be notified if I passed the VLE?

The Board has up to 20 days from the date the Board receives your VLE to notify you of the results (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 4848(a)(2)(C)). You will be notified via email of your VLE results.

Once I take the CSBE, how long does it take the Board to receive my score?

The Board receives your CSBE results approximately one week after you take the exam.

If I fail the CSBE, how do I apply for a retake, and when will my application be approved?

Applicants who fail the CSBE must reapply for examination eligibility (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 16, § 2010(a)). If you fail the CSBE, you may reapply to take the examination through your BreEZe account. However, PSI will not allow you to take the CSBE until the next testing window opens.

CSBE Testing Window Dates
May 1 – October 31
November 1 - April 30

What documentation is required when requesting exam accommodations?

You must submit to the Board a Request for Accommodation of Disabilities form, along with the required supporting documentation. You can upload the form and supporting documents to your examination application online, or submit the form and supporting documents by email to VMB@dca.ca.gov.

I’ve taken and passed all required exams. What’s the next step in getting my license?

Once the Board receives your NAVLE, CSBE, and VLE (if applicable) passing scores, you will be notified by the Board that you are eligible to apply for your initial license. At that time, your application status will change to “License Eligible,” and you will be able submit an Initial License Application online through your BreEZe account.

How do I submit the initial license application?

Log into your BreEZe account and submit the Initial License Application. This option is in the drop-down menu below your file number.

I’ve already paid application fees. Why do I have to pay another fee?

The initial fees you paid were the examination eligibility application fee, the CSBE fee, and, if applicable, the VLE fee (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 16, § 2070(a)-(c)). The fee tied to the Initial License Application is your initial license fee (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 16, § 2070(d)).

What is required to approve the Initial License Application?

  • Submission of fingerprints for criminal history record check (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 144). The Board may deny a license application for certain criminal convictions (Bus. & Prof. Code, §§ 480, 4883).
  • Proof of veterinary college graduation (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 4846).
    • The Board is now accepting electronic transcripts directly from veterinary schools/colleges.
      • If you are a 2020 California veterinary college graduate, the Board has already initiated electronic transcript transfers to the Board.
      • If you have graduated outside of California, please have your college email your official transcript to VMB@dca.ca.gov with the subject line “Official Transcript: [STUDENT NAME]”.
  • Passing scores on the NAVLE, CSBE, and VLE, if applicable (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 4848).

Why isn’t Breeze giving me the option to submit the initial license application?

Once the Board receives your NAVLE, CSBE, and VLE (if applicable) passing scores, you will be notified by the Board that you are eligible to apply for your initial license. At that time, your application status will change to “License Eligible,” and you will be able to apply for an initial license online through your BreEZe account.

You will NOT be able to see the Initial License Application in your BreEZe account until you receive notification of eligibility from the Board.

Do I have to send a copy of my Live Scan form?

No, however, please keep a copy for your records in case your fingerprints do not transfer over correctly. In such case, the Board will contact you to obtain information at the bottom of the Live Scan form.