What can DVMs do at my practice before they are licensed?

You’re hiring a recent graduate, and you want to put them to work as soon as possible. What can they do? Essentially you’ll need a temporary license, and they have to be supervised. If the results show they failed the exam, the temporary license ends. There’s a lot more to it, and exceptions abound. As a result, I thought it easier just to quote the relevant sections. As in all of my quotes, laws and rules change, so it’s best to look at the source material when possible.

If you are not in Georgia, your practice act hopefully follows the AVMA Model Practice Act, which in section 12 states that they can issue a temporary permit,to practice when they are under indirect supervision of a licensed veterinarian.

AVMA Model Practice Act – Section 12 – Temporary Permit

The Board, in its sole discretion, may issue a temporary permit to practice veterinary medicine in the State:

  1. To a qualified applicant for license, pending examination, provided that such temporary permit shall expire the day after the notice of results of the first examination given after the permit is issued and provided that the grantee is under indirect supervision of a licensed veterinarian. No temporary permit may be issued to any applicant who has previously failed the examination in the State or in any other state, territory, or district of the United States or a foreign country.

A temporary permit may be summarily revoked or limited by the Board without a hearing.


In Georgia, under OCGA 43-50-30, only the board can grant a temporary license. The practice act states that: “(a) No person may practice veterinary medicine in this state who is not a licensed veterinarian or the holder of a valid temporary license issued by the division director pursuant to this article.”

 Section 43-50-42 covers how that works…I’ve quoted the key portions below:

(a) The board may issue a temporary license to the following applicants who are qualified to take the veterinary license examination:

(1) An applicant licensed in another state. Such license shall have the same force and effect as a permanent license until the time of its expiration; and

(2) An applicant who is not the holder of any veterinary license. Such license shall authorize the applicant to work under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian as provided by the board.

(b) The temporary license shall expire on the date that permanent licenses are issued to persons who have passed the examination provided for in Code Section 43-50-32, which examination occurred immediately following the issuance of the temporary license.

(c) A temporary license issued pursuant to this Code section may, in the discretion of the board, be renewed for one six-month period only; provided, however, that no temporary license shall be issued, renewed, or reissued to a person who fails to pass the examination established by the board.

If this didn’t answer your excellent GVMA Fall Convention questions, please message me and I’ll provide additional answers.

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