Course Overview

This qualification is designed for those looking to gain the necessary qualification to be able to prescribe and supply veterinary medicine classes POM-VPS and/or NFA-VPS to companion animals. You may be working in veterinary practice, or in a Suitably Qualified Persons (SQP) retailer approved to retail and supply VPS medicines.

It is intended to provide relevant SQP competencies and underpinning knowledge and understanding that will enable prescription of medicines that fall under the POM-VPS and NFA-VPS categories within the companion animal group. Additionally, you will develop a broad understanding of animal health and disease, and the skills to identify parasite infestations and select appropriate medicines to prescribe.

Key facts

  • 6 month programme
  • Online learning, no college attendance required
  • You can start this programme at any time of the year
Course Content
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Throughout the programme you will complete the following units:

Legislation and Suitably Qualified Person (SQP) Status for the Supply of veterinary Medicines

This unit is designed to provide you with the underpinning knowledge of the duties, responsibilities and scope of the Suitably Qualified Person (SQP). You will gain an understanding of the key legislation governing prescription and supply of veterinary medicines, as well as explore the principles of the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) SQP Code of Practice.

You will develop an understanding of the limitations of an SQP, when SQP’s should refer cases to the veterinary surgeon, as well as essential record keeping and the reporting of adverse medicine reactions to the VMD under the Adverse Event/Reaction Reporting system (previously referred to as SARSS, the Suspected Adverse Reaction Surveillance Scheme).

Companion Animal Health for the Suitably Qualified Persons (SQP)

This unit is designed to provide you with an overview of companion animal anatomy and physiology, via a systems-based approach. The companion animals that should be covered throughout this unit are: dog, cat, ferret and rabbit. You will also cover basic companion animal nutrition and feeding and the principles of health and disease prevention; along with common parasites and diseases, which may affect animals seen by a Suitably Qualified Person (SQP).

You will also develop an understanding of commonly-used anatomical and physiological terminology, to enable you to provide clients with advice on appropriate nutrition and feeding. Devising appropriate disease control programmes and interpreting health plans to assist owners/keepers with disease prevention will also be covered.

Prescribing and Supplying Veterinary Medicines for Companion Animals 

This practical unit provides you with the opportunity to gain the skills required to safely and appropriately prescribe, supply and dispense veterinary medicines within the scope and limitations of the Suitably Qualified Person (SQP). You will be expected to demonstrate safe and appropriate practice, whilst working within legislative requirements.

Providing species-specific advice and guidance to owners/keepers of companion animals will also be covered. You will be expected to demonstrate proficient use of the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) Product Information Database, along with an awareness of how to manage a potential adverse event/reaction.


You will be assessed by completing:

  • Two multiple choice question (MCQ) online exams
  • An online, scenario-based professional discussion
Entry Requirements

You must be 16 years of age or over and have basic literacy and numeracy skills.

Employment or work experience within a Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) registered premises, a veterinary practice registered with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), or a retail pharmacy registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) may be beneficial in assisting in preparation towards the final assessment but is not essential.

This course is only available to those living in the UK.

Course Fees

Course fees


Awarding body fees*

  • Registration fee: £53
  • MCQ Exam (AMA01): £35
  • MCQ Exam (AMAC02): £35
  • Online Professional Discussion: £250

* Awarding Body Fees are payable by all students or employers and recharged at cost and may be subject to change.

CAW Loans2Learn

The CAW Loans2Learn scheme is a personal loan that can help you to spread the cost of your course into manageable payments. The loan can be used to fully or partially cover your course fees (but does not cover any awarding body fees, such as enrolment and examination fees). More information can be found here.

Other sources of financial help can be found on our student finance page. Before making any financial decision it is recommended that you seek advice from an independent source, for example the Money Advice Service.

These are current figures and may be subject to change. The differences in course fees reflect the level of funding that is available as a result of government policies and priorities. These may be as a result of age, employment status, previous education achievements, or location for example, and are outside the control of The College of Animal Welfare.

What Next?

Completion of this qualification will mean you have gained a formal qualification allowing you to be able to prescribe certain veterinary medicines to companion animals.

You will be able to gain entry on to the VetSkill SQP register. In order to maintain your place on the register, you will be required to maintain and update your knowledge and skills by undertaking relevant Continuing Professional Development (CPD).