More and more veterinarians specialize themselves by further education as „Diplomate of the European College“. The diplomate is a Europe-wide postgraduate training in veterinary medicine which is completed with a very demanding test. „European Colleges“ offer this specialization for different special fields. The colleges are Europe-wide specialist networks which jointly engage for further education and determine the standards of the colleges in statutes.
In order to train and examine diplomats, the college must be recognized by the European Board of Veterinary Specialization (EBVS). The EBVS is a kind of umbrella organization of all 23 European colleges and, after positive examination of the statutes, assigns the preliminary recognition of a college as educational institution. Full recognition can be awarded by the non-commercial organization located in Utrecht after five years at the earliest. Following full recognition, the colleges are evaluated every five years by the EBVS.
Prerequisite for the training as a diplomate is the licensure. The training program is standardized and is offered at different facilities approved by the EBVS from veterinarians who undertook further training as a diplomate. The applicants complete full-time training for two or three years or a part-time training for seven years in their specialist field. During the full-time training, the residency is employed by one of the approved training facilities on a regular basis. The part-time training occurs in addition to professional. The applicants must provide proof of a one or two-year practical activity for most colleges. In addition to the training, two papers must be published in international specialist magazines. A centralized examination lasting several days is carried out at the end of the training. The diplomates have to be re-evaluated by the colleges every five years according to the guidelines of their statutes.