Veterinary First Responder Certificate Program

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The AVMA Veterinary First Responder Certificate Program verifies that participants are prepared to respond efficiently and effectively to disasters. The program serves as a framework for ensuring veterinarians and veterinary students have the knowledge and skills to serve as first responders. It does this by outlining the competencies participants must satisfy by completing approved courses and educational material that are associated with the respective competencies, and issuing a certificate to registered participants upon completion of all the requirements.  

National, state, and local veterinary response teams may use the Veterinary First Responder Certificate as one means of credentialing veterinary responders.

To receive the certificate of completion, participants must complete courses that satisfy these core competencies: (currently only Texas A&M 4th year students and 4th year Midwestern CVM students are able to complete the VFRCP, but any veterinary student and graduate veterinarian may begin the program by taking the available courses and then completing it once additional courses become available)

  1. Understands skills needed for personal and family preparedness for disasters and animal health emergencies
  2. Understands one’s expected role(s) in organizational and community response plans activated during a disaster or animal health emergency
  3. Has situational awareness of, and solutions to, actual/potential health concerns that may be encountered before, during, and after a disaster or animal health emergency
  4. Recognizes potential impacts of various types of disasters and animal health emergencies on resources and how they impact animals along with potential solutions/workarounds to those impacts
  5. Has knowledge of biosecurity and animal welfare principles that may be required in dealing with animals in disasters or animal health emergencies
  6. Has knowledge of reporting and responding to zoonotic, transboundary, and foreign animal diseases (FADs) and how to mitigate potential impacts on human and environmental health (One Health)
  7. Has knowledge of humane euthanasia/depopulation techniques for various animal species and appropriate disposal options for animal carcasses (both small numbers and large numbers of carcasses) that may be required for animals in disasters or animal health emergencies
  8. Complete these FEMA online courses available at
    • Introduction to the Incident Command System (ICS-100)
    • Basic Incident Command System for Initial Response (ICS-200)
    • Introduction to the National Incident Management System (IS-700)

View the full list of sub-competencies included for each core competency.

View the list of approved courses to satisfy each competency:

After completing a course, participants will submit proof of completion to AVMA reviewers, who will notify participants that their completion of the specific competency has been approved or denied. When all competencies have been satisfied, participants will receive an AVMA Veterinary First Responder certificate of completion and be included in an AVMA registry of certified veterinary first responders.

NOTE: By enrolling in the AVMA Veterinary First Responder Certificate Program, you agree that AVMA may provide your name, email address, city, county, and state to appropriate state government agencies so that they may contact you in the event of a disaster or other emergency.

The AVMA Veterinary First Responder Certificate Program is made possible in part through educational funding from the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF).

Organizations and institutions: Submit your course(s) to be included in this program
Does your organization offer coursework that you believe satisfies any of this program’s core competencies? Complete this submission form demonstrating that your course satisfies all sub-competencies in an identified core competency. Submissions will be reviewed by the AVMA, and approved courses will be included in the course directory. Learn more