An International Collaborative Approach to Developing Training Guidelines for Veterinary Paraprofessionals

J Vet Med Educ. 2020 Oct;47(5):546-554. doi: 10.3138/jvme-2019-0086. Epub 2020 Jun 9.


Veterinary paraprofessionals (VPPs) are engaged worldwide in animal health management, disease surveillance and food safety control. In many countries, particularly developing countries, VPPs are critical to national veterinary services provision. Until recently, there were no globally recognized training requirements for VPPs. Recognition of VPPs' qualifications and roles, and requirements for registration, vary greatly between jurisdictions. To address these issues, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has developed competency and curricular guidelines for VPPs. A collaborative approach was essential to this mission. Extensive consultation with individuals and agencies representing various countries, animal health and veterinary sectors, and forms of expertise, was undertaken. Collaborative methods included the formation of a guidelines development ad hoc group whose diversity reflected project needs, the use of existing OIE Member Country data to understand roles of VPPs globally, conducting stakeholder surveys to collate VPP competency expectations and solicit feedback on draft guidelines, and in-country missions to validate draft curricular models. The initial deliverable from this work was publication of Competency Guidelines for VPPs. This document provides recommendations on the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and aptitudes that could be expected of VPPs following effective training. The companion document, OIE Curricular Guidelines for VPPs, provides recommendations on coursework structure and content to achieve these competencies. These guidelines will assist countries worldwide in more effectively training and qualifying VPPs so that they can contribute positively to the provision of veterinary services. Another potential impact is to catalyze the review of educational and regulatory standards regarding the respective work rights and activities of veterinarians and VPPs.

Keywords: OIE; collaboration; competencies; curriculum; education standards; global; guidelines; stakeholder; veterinary education; veterinary paraprofessional; world.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Curriculum
  • Education, Veterinary*
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Veterinarians*
  • Veterinary Medicine*