Veterinary medicine has changed over the years due to the increasingly important role of pets in our society. This has resulted in the emergence of a number of veterinary specialties comparable to those in human medicine. The American Veterinary Medical Association recognizes sixteen veterinary specialties.
Certification for one of these specialties requires completing 3-5 years of training in an area of specialization beyond the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.) degree.
In addition to comprehensive training in his/her area of expertise, before being acknowledged as a specialist, a veterinarian must also publish original scientific articles and submit credentials of expertise to a review board in his specialty college. Following the acceptance of his credentials he/she must then successfully complete extensive written and practical examinations. When these requirements have been met, the applicant is then designated a “Board Certified Specialist” or “Diplomate” of the respective specialty college, (e.g. Board Certified Veterinary Dentist or Diplomate of the American Veterinary Dental College). There are 20 AVMA-recognized specialty board and colleges approved by the AVMA.