Work in the US and Canada: Why vets should contemplate their NAVLE

Would you like to be able to work as a vet anywhere in North America? You can if you take the NAVLE, or North American Veterinary Licensing Examination.

What is the NAVLE?

The NAVLE is an exam made up of 360 multiple-choice questions. It’s required for anyone who wants to practise as a vet in North America, and is open to any UK vet student or graduate (most choose to take it either in their final year or shortly after graduating).

You’ll be given 6 hours to complete the exam, and you can take it in either of two different sessions: late November/early December (4 weeks) or April (2 weeks). It’s better to pick a time of year that’s quieter for you and far enough away from finals that you don’t get a revision pileup.

America’s National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners (NBVME) allows you to take the exam at various approved centres in the UK and worldwide, although taking it outside the US costs an extra $290.

How to register for the NAVLE

  1. Request a letter of good standing from your vet school

Give your school all the info they need to put in the letter. It usually needs to include your student number, be signed by the dean or head, and be specifically addressed to the right NBVME department.

  1. Register with your state of choice

You’ll need to pick a US state to take the exam through. Each has different cut-off dates for taking the exam, and some may require additional exams, but once you have your NAVLE you can work anywhere in North America.

  1. Complete your registration and pay the fee.

As of 2016 the fee for the exam was $605, plus another $290 to take it outside the US.

  1. Pick your exam date and registration centre

Book a slot as soon as you can to make sure you get plenty of choice on dates and more time to revise!

  1. Prepare for the exams

Make a revision plan, see if you can get together for study sessions with others who are taking it, and check out online training courses and practice exams. The two market leaders are VetPrep and Zuku Review. It’s also worth doing a couple of weeks of EMS in your US state of choice if you can, so you can see and work on the conditions that are most prevalent there.

Why move to Canada?

Canada is in the top five places British people emigrate to, and has seen a spike in interest since Brexit. If you’re one of the many Brits feeling the urge for a fresh start, here a few reasons to look at Canada:

Wide open spaces

Canada is the second largest country in the world, with a population density of only 10 people per square mile to the UK’s 702. Much of Canada is still unspoiled wilderness, with spectacular scenery including mountains, forests, glaciers, coastline, lakes, and the Northern Lights, as well as majestic animals like bears and whales.

Quality of life

A 2016 study also placed Canada second in the world for quality of life. It’s a liberal country that offers one of the best free healthcare systems in the world and ranks near the top of the Cato Institute’s Human Freedom Index for personal, civil and economic freedom. It’s also very safe, with strong communities and low crime rates.

Nice people

Canadians are well-known for being polite, welcoming and friendly. There’s a reason immigrants make up 20% of the population.

Why move to the US?

America has always been a top destination for British expats, and there are plenty of good reasons for that:

Economic Strength

The US has the highest average income in the world, and the dollar is the world’s most stable currency. America’s economic strength enables it to weather any crisis. Food, fuel and housing are also cheap, with houses likely to be double the size you’d get for the same money in the UK.

Good Education

America’s standards of education are close to the UK’s, with world-class universities including Harvard and Princeton, and schools that mostly follow the British curriculum, which makes it easier for expat children to settle in.

Diverse Culture

Many of America’s big cities are vibrant cultural melting pots, where you’re sure to find plenty going on and groups you can join to connect with people like yourself. If you’re worried about leaving friends and family behind, it’s easy to find a home from home with outgoing Americans.

Want some advice on your next steps? We have years of experience helping vets make the move to North America and elsewhere. Get in touch today and discover how we can support you.

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