Accreditation: 7 Steps

The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) simplifies your journey towards veterinary excellence by helping you achieve and maintain accreditation as an AAHA member. Full-service veterinary care facilities typically become AAHA members by becoming accredited. The accreditation process signifies that the practice has met or exceeded AAHA standards, the only standards for veterinary facilities in the United States and Canada. Over 4,500 practices have joined AAHA as an accredited practice, willingly striving to meet a higher standard of care for their patients and raising the bar for the entire profession.

7 steps to accreditation

Over a period of two to six months, you’ll work with a dedicated, experienced, credentialed accreditation specialist and practice consultant who will stay with you throughout the process and even beyond. Meet your accreditation partners, our member experience team. Our member experience team all hold a veterinary professional certification.

Your practice must achieve a minimum number of points by meeting or exceeding AAHA standards. About 50 of them are mandatory; the applicable remaining standards are assessed using a points-based system.



  1. Determine whether your practice is eligible to apply for AAHA accreditation – review our accreditation requirements.
  2. Click on “join” and create an account. Complete and sign your member agreement and pay $675 to begin the accreditation process. Congratulations! You have just activated six months of membership as a pre-accredited practice.
  3. Establish a timeline and prepare to engage your team in reviewing the accreditation standards, which your accreditation specialist will email to you.
  4. Answer the questions in our pre-accreditation survey to customize the accreditation to your practice.
  5. Complete the mandatory AAHA standards assessment; engage your team and complete the points-based standards identified as applicable to your practice.
  6. Develop any necessary written protocols and ensure your team has completed the identified required continuing education.
  7. Complete your evaluation (onsite or virtual) by achieving and/or exceeding a predetermined number of points in each section of the standards of accreditation and pay your first-year prorated dues.

Next: learn about how veterinary practices are evaluated in order to achieve accreditation.

What happens if your practice doesn’t pass its evaluation?

Because you’ll be working hand-in-hand with a dedicated practice consultant from the time you sign your member agreement, it is unlikely that you will not pass your evaluation. If you are unable to achieve AAHA accreditation after your initial evaluation, your practice consultant will convert that visit into a “courtesy walkthrough,” and you won’t be penalized.

Our approach is based on continuous improvement, so your consultant will review any adjustments that you may need to make in order to achieve accreditation during your next visit. We will then work with you to reschedule your formal evaluation once you’ve had a chance to put your consultant’s recommendations into effect.

What if my practice is not ready for an evaluation?

Your dedicated accreditation specialist will work with you to help you understand how close you are to being ready for your accreditation evaluation. They will provide you with an assessment that identifies the things that need to happen in order for your practice to pursue accreditation.

Next: learn more about AAHA standards.