California Veterinary Licensing in 2 Minutes

California Veterinary Licensing 2 minutes vet staff symbol, ocean coast palm tree scenery pinterest pinYou are a veterinarian licensed in another state, but you’re considering either temporary veterinary work in California, or a permanent move.  Ocean views, Yosemite National Park and Hollywood sound appealing?  Well not to worry- we’ve researched and asked the key questions to create this handy 2 minute summary for you.

Here’s what you can expect en route to obtaining your license as a relief or full-time veterinarian in California:

Expense:    /5
Time:  /5
Temporary License Option:  Y- supervised only

Temporary California Veterinary License:

California does not offer a temporary permit option specific for veterinary relief work, unlike other states, such as Alaska.  There is the option for a temporary veterinary license, valid for up to one year, but the intention really is that you are on your way to full California veterinary licensure.

Temporary veterinary license applicants must be currently licensed in another state or Canadian province and have worked two of three clinical years for a minimum of 2944 hours.  Other requirements include taking the California Veterinary Law Examination (VLE), an open-book exam which is mailed to you.  The cost is $250 for application and VLE.

California temp license also requires you to visit a local Live Scan/Fingerprint site to submit your fingerprints.  Fees are $51 for a hard card to be mailed to you, or you can apply in person at a CA office.   A passport sized photograph is also required.  Temporary CA licensure only allows you to practice while another veterinarian is supervising you (in the building) though you could work at more than one practice during this year.  Note application review may take up to 8 weeks.

Sound like a lot of time and effort?  That’s because the only difference between a temporary California license and a permanent California license, is the additional California Curriculum Course part (see below!).

Permanent California Veterinary License:

If you plan to practice without another veterinarian’s supervision, you’ll need to complete permanent California veterinary licensure.  The application fees and process are the same as for the temporary license, but in addition you’ll need to complete at 3-day California Curriculum Course, only available twice yearly in CA.  The course is offered mid-March in Pomona, CA at Western University ($665) or end of September in Sacramento, CA via CVMA ($700).  The course material is mostly law-related and there is no exam (small victories!).  See each 3- day California Curriculum Course registration information here. 

To the California Veterinary State Board’s credit, though there are a number of licensing requirements, the licensing process is straightforward through their online application system.  And it is easy to reach someone if you have questions during this process.

Note that your CA license can be maintained with 36 hours of CE every 2 years.

More California Veterinary Licensure Information:

Best method of contact:   Phone: (916) 515-5220

Ease of contact: 

Official website: Veterinary Medical Board

*We’re diligent about keeping this article current but veterinary licensing rules and regulations change with time!  Always double-check with the board, and kindly alert us of any discrepancies!

Still feeling inspired to get your California veterinary license?  Might be time to peruse which vet practice to join!  Click here for FurWork veterinarian jobs in California

Want to know about getting your veterinarian license in another state? Check here for the other state summaries we’ve completed so far!