Click here to skip navigation
An official website of the United States Government.
Skip Navigation

In This Section

Classification & Qualifications General Schedule Qualification Standards

Veterinary Medical Science Series, 0701

Individual Occupational Requirements

Series Definition:

This series covers professional positions that supervise, lead, or perform work in the veterinary medical sciences. The work involves promoting the health and welfare of both animals and the public through diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and understanding of animal diseases; conservation of animal resources; and advancement of veterinary medical knowledge.

This qualification standard applies to positions under the General Schedule (GS) and other "white collar," non-GS pay plans in the competitive service.  Other "white collar" pay plans include unique agency pay plans that are not covered by the GS pay plan.

Basic requirements to qualify for positions at GS-11 or equivalent grade level:


  1. Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) or equivalent degree, i.e., Veterinary Medical Doctor (VMD), obtained at a school or college of veterinary medicine accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education (AVMA).  The AVMA web site,, has a listing of all AVMA-accredited veterinary medical schools.


  2. Graduates of foreign veterinary medical schools that are not accredited by the AVMA Council on Education (Refer to AVMA web site, http://www.avma.orgfor information about schools in this category) must meet one of the following requirements.
    • Proof of certification of their final transcript by the Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates (ECFVG)
    • Possession of a permanent, full, and unrestricted license to practice veterinary medicine in a State, District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or a territory of the United States that includes successful completion of the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE) or its predecessors, the National Board Examination (NBE) and the Clinical Competency Test (CCT).
    • Proof that the education obtained in a foreign veterinary medical program is equivalent to that gained in a veterinary medical program that is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education.  Under this provision, equivalency is established only if an AVMA-accredited veterinary medical school or college accepts the graduate's final transcript from the foreign veterinary medical school at full value for placement into an advanced degree, postgraduate educational program, or training program (e.g.  residency or graduate program).

    Graduates of foreign veterinary medical programs must also provide proof of proficiency in the English language by successfully completing one of the nationally and internationally recognized examinations that incorporate assessments of reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills.  Examples of examinations that assess mastery of the English language are shown below:

    • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) - Minimum scores for the TOEFL are 560 for the paper-based version; 220 for the computer-based version; or overall score of 83 for the internet-based version (including 26 or higher in speaking, 26 or higher in listening, and 17 or higher in writing).  For the computer-based and paper-based test versions, applicants must also complete the Test of Spoken English (TSE) and the Test of Written English (TWE).  Minimum required scores are 55 for the TSE and 5.5 for the TWE;
    • Academic tests (listening, writing, and speaking) offered by the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).  Applicants must achieve a minimum overall band score of 7.0, with at least 7.0 in speaking, 6.5 in listening, and 6.0 in writing;


    • Canadian Academic English Language Assessment (CAEL).  Applicants must achieve a minimum overall band score of 70, with at least 60 in speaking, 60 in listening, and 50 in writing.

Basic requirements to qualify for positions at the GS-12 or equivalent grade level and above:


Scientific presentations before professional groups; publication of medical reports in professional journals or publications; participation in seminars, advisory/working groups, and research groups; mastery of clinical medicine; or other related activities that contribute to the advancement of veterinary medical science are positive indicators of the quality of an applicant's experience. However, articles on the care of pets written for the general public would not be considered professional publications or qualifying specialized experience.

Applicants who meet the educational requirements described in paragraph A above as well as the specialized experience requirements below may qualify as follows:

GS-12: One year of progressively responsible professional veterinary experience equivalent to the GS-11 grade level that demonstrates the ability to independently perform the veterinary medical duties required of the position. 

GS-13 and above: One year of progressively responsible professional veterinary experience equivalent to the next lower grade level.


To qualify at the GS-12 or GS-13 grade levels on the basis of education, applicants must successfully complete relevant graduate study or a dual DVM/graduate degree as described below at an accredited college or school, in addition to completing the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine or an equivalent degree:

GS-12: Master's degree in an area of specialization, including but not limited to, animal science, avian medicine, food safety, infectious diseases, veterinary clinical sciences, pathobiology, biomedical sciences, veterinary anatomy, veterinary preventive medicine, comparative biological sciences, epidemiology, veterinary parasitology, molecular veterinary biosciences, public health, microbiology, pathology, immunology, laboratory animal medicine, toxicology, wildlife, zoological animal medicine, or sciences related to the work of a veterinary medical officer position.

GS-13: Ph.D. degree in any of the above specialties or related sciences.

Residency/Post-Graduate Training Programs

Residency or post-graduate training programs require two to five years of study in a specific discipline or specialty.  Successful completion of such training qualifies the job applicant for the following grade levels:

GS-12:   Successful completion of two years of an internship, residency program, or fellowship training program in a discipline related to the position.

GS-13:   Successful completion of three years of an internship, residency program, or fellowship training program in a discipline related to the position.

Board Certification

Specialty boards that are recognized by the American Board of Veterinary Specialties (ABVS) of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) certify eligible candidates as specialists in specific veterinary medical fields.

Veterinarians who successfully complete all requirements for Diplomate status in an ABVS-recognized veterinary specialty organization may qualify for the GS-13 grade level.

Such specialties may include, but are not limited to, veterinary toxicology, laboratory animal medicine, poultry veterinary medicine, theriogenology, veterinary anesthesiology, veterinary behaviorists, veterinary clinical pharmacology, veterinary dermatology, veterinary emergency and critical care, veterinary internal medicine, veterinary microbiology, veterinary nutrition, veterinary ophthalmology, veterinary pathology, veterinary preventive medicine, veterinary radiology, veterinary medicine, and veterinary dentistry.

The above list of specialty areas for board certification should not be used for parenthetical titles or official job titles unless authorized by the classification standard for the 0701 occupational series.

Additional Requirements for Areas of Specialization:

For some positions, proficiency in one of the following specialties is required for satisfactory job performance:

  • Clinical Care
  • Epidemiology
  • Import and Export
  • Laboratory Animal Medicine
  • Pathology
  • Product Development
  • Public Health
  • Toxicology
  • Wildlife
  • Zoological Animal Medicine

In such situations, agencies may consider using selective factors in the vacancy announcement when possession of specific experience, knowledge, skills, abilities, or competencies is absolutely required prior to appointment.  Selective factors should only be used when an applicant cannot perform the work satisfactorily without such qualifications.  Evidence of proficiency may be demonstrated by work experience; advanced course work or degrees; board certification; or completion of specific, intensive training, as appropriate.  The level of proficiency must be commensurate with the grade level of the position.

In addition to technical competence in a general or specialized veterinary medical field, applicants must possess writing, oral communication, and interpersonal skills.

Medical Requirements:

Individuals must be physically and mentally able to safely and efficiently perform the full range of duties of the position without creating hazards to themselves or others.

Veterinary Medical Officers who inspect or supervise inspection activities in privately owned slaughter houses and processing plants must meet specific medical standards and physical requirements established by the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the U.S.  Department of Agriculture.

Back to Top

Control Panel