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Getting started

AAHA accreditation can help you attract job seekers, differentiate your practice, bolster your team’s morale, and put the standards of veterinary excellence into practice. While achieving AAHA accreditation can seem daunting at first, it’s actually a very straightforward process. Learn more about the path to AAHA accreditation below, and reach out to your AAHA Member Experience team for support at any time.


How many standards does AAHA have?

The AAHA Standards of Accreditation contain more than 900 standards, but only about 50 of them are mandatory.

AAHA understands that every hospital is unique—and that even small practices or those without state-of-the-art facilities can provide excellent veterinary care. That’s why our standards focus primarily on patient care, client service, and communication.

Check out the video below for more information on the AAHA Standards of Accreditation.

Isn’t AAHA accreditation expensive?

AAHA accreditation is an investment in your practice. The value you’ll receive from accreditation—including improved patient care, client service, and staff satisfaction—will be worth far more than your annual dues. And, contrary to popular belief, meeting the AAHA Standards of Accreditation does not require you to hire more team members or purchase expensive technology.

Check out the video below for more information on the cost of AAHA accreditation.

What is the process for becoming accredited?

  • To begin the accreditation process and be designated as a “preaccredited practice,” please contact AAHA’s Member Experience team at 800-252-2242.
  • You will then be asked to complete the AAHA preaccredited application agreement and pay an initial accreditation evaluation fee of $675. This fee covers the cost of your first onsite evaluation. Your membership dues cover all subsequent evaluation costs (and provide many additional benefits as well).
  • Once your fee has been paid, your practice will be provided with a complimentary team membership, valid for up to six months or until the date of your evaluation, whichever comes first.
  • Once your application and payment have been processed, you can begin working through your online evaluation tool.
  • You will also be assigned a dedicated accreditation specialist, who will support you and your team throughout the accreditation process and act as a resource for any questions you may have.
  • Your first evaluation will be scheduled through your accreditation specialist and will align with your practice consultant’s schedule.

How long does my practice need to be open for business before I can apply for AAHA accreditation?

AAHA recommends that your practice be open for at least three months before you pursue AAHA accreditation, but there is no minimum requirement. However, you will need to ensure that you have a sufficient number of patients, medical records, and diagnostics in order for your practice consultant to perform a thorough evaluation.

What’s the timeframe for scheduling my first evaluation?

After your application has been processed and your initial evaluation fee has been paid, we will work with you to determine a timeframe based on when you believe you’ll be ready for your first evaluation (typically three to four months). We also schedule evaluations based on when other practices are due in your area. We will make every effort to work with you and accommodate your goals for becoming accredited.

How will I know if my practice is ready to become accredited?

Answering the questions in the online evaluation tool is one of the best ways to see where your practice stands. The online evaluation tool includes tips and resources, outlines and guides for creating protocols, and automatically adds your points as you go so you can track your progress. Your practice must meet all mandatory standards and then achieve passing points in each section of the standards.

Can I schedule a courtesy walkthrough of my practice with a practice consultant?

Yes! Please contact your AAHA accreditation specialist or practice consultant if you’re interested in meeting with your practice consultant for a tour of your practice. Courtesy visits are a great opportunity to ask your practice consultant for guidance on how to successfully meet AAHA’s standards and to begin working on the process of becoming accredited. These visits are offered with no strings attached and at no charge.

Can I review AAHA’s Standards of Accreditation or access the evaluation tool without becoming an AAHA member?

The AAHA Standards of Accreditation were created to help standardize and promote excellence in veterinary care and for veterinary practices, and they are copyrighted.

If you aren’t currently an AAHA member but are interested in pursuing AAHA accreditation, we can set up a login for you in AAHA's online evaluation tool; just reach out to us at [email protected]. The online evaluation tool has additional tips and resources to help you get started, and is the best way to see how your practice compares to AAHA’s standards.


What happens if I don’t initially achieve accreditation?

Not to worry. 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. 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.

I am building a new practice. What AAHA standards should I reference?

The AAHA Standards of Accreditation include a number of structural standards that are helpful to reference when building a new practice. Please contact us to request these structural standards.

You can also check out Practical Guide to Veterinary Hospital Design: From Renovations to New Builds, a comprehensive, easy-to-follow guide to planning, designing, and building a successful hospital.

Does AAHA review blueprints for new practices?

Absolutely! AAHA practice consultants offer free blueprint reviews. AAHA practice consultants visit more than 100 practices every year and see a wide variety of facilities, so they can often point out things you may want to consider before your plans are finalized.

Please contact us to learn more about blueprint reviews. Or bring your blueprint to the AAHA booth at a national veterinary conference and request a review!

Do I have to have credentialed technicians on staff to achieve AAHA accreditation?

While AAHA recognizes the commitment, skills, and knowledge that credentialed technicians provide, employing credentialed technicians is not a requirement for your practice to become accredited.