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Training as an SQP: FAQs


Following the launch of our VetSkill Level 4 Certificate for Suitably Qualified Persons (SQP) – Companion Animal qualification, you may have a number of questions about the role of an SQP and the training process. Here, we answer them…

What is an SQP and what do they do?

A Suitably Qualified Person (SQP) is an animal medicine advisor who is qualified to prescribe and/or supply certain veterinary medicines under the Veterinary Medicines Regulations.

The role of the SQP is to:

  • Ensure that statutory requirements in respect of the prescription and/or supply of certain veterinary medicines are respected
  • Advise animal owners on choice of medicine and their safe and effective use, irrespective of how the product is supplied e.g. via postal supply, from a registered retailer premises or from a website etc

What medicines can SQPs prescribe and/or supply?

An SQP is entitled to prescribe and/or supply the categories of medicines within the scope of the qualification they have achieved and the registration they hold.  Below are the distribution classifications for the range of veterinary medicines available to SQPs:

  • NFA-VPS- (Non-Food Animal – Veterinarian, Pharmacist, SQP)
  • POM-VPS – (Prescription-Only Medicine – Veterinarian, Pharmacist, SQP)
  • AVM-GSL – (Authorised Veterinary Medicine – General Sales List)

Learners will undertake study for each SQP qualification they wish to achieve. Completion of each qualification, in turn, allows SQP registration for its relevant category. Provided they are qualified to do so, SQPs may register for multiple categories.

All SQPs will undertake a common base unit and will then select additional units depending on the category of SQP qualification they want to achieve. The different units are:

  • C – Companion Animal
  • J – Equines
  • L – Farm Animal
  • A – Avians

Below is a table detailing the SQP categories and the permissible medicines they can dispense:

SQP Category Unit (s) passed Permissible Medicines
R-SQP All (Companion, Equine & Farm) All VPS Medicines
C-SQP Companion VPS – Companion animals only
J-SQP Equines VPS – Equines only
L-SQP Farm VPS – Farm animals only
A-SQP Avians VPS – Avian only
E-SQP Companion & Equines VPS – Companion & Equines only
K-SQP Companion & Farm VPS – Companion & Farm only
CA-SQP Companion & Avians VPS – Companion & Avians only
G-SQP Equines & Farm VPS – Equines & Farm only
JA-SQP Equines & Avian VPS – Equines & Avians only
EA-SQP Companion, Equines & Avians VPS – Companion, Equines & Avians only

Why qualify as an SQP?

There are a number of benefits to training as an SQP…

  • Boost career prospects in practice: Obtaining Suitably Qualified Person (SQP) status will boost your credentials and help you to stand out against other candidates when applying for jobs in the future, as you will understand the importance of looking after medicines properly and will be up-to-date with relevant legislation.
  • Improve efficiency in a veterinary practice: Having a designated, qualified person in charge of a veterinary practice dispensary can improve dispensary tidiness, stock control and implementation of protocols, and so help to reduce errors.
  • Gain SQP status faster as a veterinary nurse: Registered Veterinary Nurses (RVNs) looking to undertake the VetSkill SQP qualification will be eligible for exemptions from relevant parts of the qualification.

More information about the VetSkill Level 4 Certificate for Suitably Qualified Persons (SQP) – Companion Animal

Completion of the VetSkill Level 4 companion animal SQP qualification at The College of Animal Welfare will allow you to join the VetSkill SQP register, qualifying you to prescribe and dispense POM-VPS and NFA-VPS medicines to companion animals.

The programme covers:

  • Legislation and Professional Requirements
  • An Introduction to Companion Animal Anatomy, Physiology and Nutrition
  • Companion Animal Health, Disease and Parasite Management
  • Prescribing and Supplying Veterinary Medicines to Owners/Keepers of Companion Animals

The course is delivered via distance learning, meaning you can start at any time and study from anywhere in the UK or overseas!*

*Please be aware attendance at a CAW centre will be required for the unit exams and final OSCE examination.

Want to become an SQP? Apply today!

The VetSkill Level 4 Certificate for Suitably Qualified Persons (SQP) – Companion Animal qualification is available to study now. For more information about the programme visit our website or contact us on 01480 422060.

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