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Animal Health Paraprofessionals

Who are Animal Health Paraprofessionals (AHPs)?
Eligibility for an AHP role.
Authorisation as an AHP
How do I become an AHP?
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Who are Animal Health Paraprofessionals (AHPs)

Animal Health Paraprofessionals (AHPs) are non-veterinary personnel authorised by APHA to carry out work of a specified statutory nature (required by law).

There are two groups of AHPs:

1. Approved Tuberculin Testers

Approved Tuberculin Tester is the term used to describe non-veterinarians working in private veterinary businesses who are appointed by APHA to perform tuberculosis (TB) skin testing of cattle in England.

The Policy for Authorisation of Approved Tuberculin Testers (TR541) sets out the training, qualifications and appointment of ATTs.

2. Certification Support Officers

Certification Support Officer is the term used to describe non-veterinarians who are appointed by APHA to act in a a supporting role for Certifying Officers in the area of official controls for export health certification in relation to animal products excluding germplasm and live animals.

The Policy for APHA Authorisation of Export Certification Support Officers (CSOs) in Great Britain (ET175) sets out the training, qualifications and appointment of CSOs.

Eligibility for an AHP Role

Your employer will be asked to declare that you are eligible before you can enrol for the OCQ(AHP) training.

  1. In order to be eligible to enrol on the ATT training you must:
    • be at least 18 years of age at initial application
    • have passed Identification and basic Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) security checks.
    • as a minimum have three GCSEs or equivalent qualifications in Mathematics, English and in a Science Subject or Food Production, or
    • three years performance in a Government regulatory role
    • have a minimum of six months previous livestock handling experience.
  1. In order to be eligible to enrol on the CSO training you must:
    • be over 18 years of age
    • have the right to work in the UK
    • have at least 3 A levels, one of which must be in a science or a food technology subject. Equivalent qualifications are eligible, for example Scottish Highers or qualifications awarded outside the UK. All UK university degrees are eligible. You may be eligible based on relevant experience if you cannot meet the above criteria. As a guide, at least 3 years’ experience of working in a regulatory, industrial food processing environment or working as a veterinary paraprofessional will be considered. You should make an application for eligibility by email to enquiries@improve-ahp.com, stating relevant experience and other supporting information. The APHA will then consider the application and advise you, in writing, on your eligibility
    • have a ‘basic Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) security check’ with no recorded convictions
    • be proficient in English, being able to communicate for the purposes of the role of an Animal Health Paraprofessional
    • have no known Conflict of Interest in the proposed work.

Authorisation of an AHP

APHA will authorise any person as an ATT who:

  • holds a valid OCQ(AHP) ATT certificate, demonstrating their competence to undertake the relevant activities
  • is regarded by the Agency as suitable for carrying out tasks on behalf of Ministers, taking into account any previous performance as an official
  • is carrying out the testing as part of a veterinary business under the supervision of an AVS and one or two deputy AVS (AVSd).

APHA will authorise any person as a CSO who:

  • Holds a valid OCQ(AHP) CSO certificate, demonstrating their competence to undertake the relevant activities
  • Is regarded by APHA as suitable for carrying out tasks on behalf of Ministers, taking into account any previous performance as an official.

How do I become an AHP?

You must:

  • Register with Improve International
  • enrol for the relevant OCQ(AHP) : OCQ(V) - ATT or OCQ(AHP) - CSO
  • complete the training
  • Await authorisation as an ATT or CSO from APHA on successful completion of the training.

Further information on the registration process, training and fees are available from Improve International.

See the information on training and authorisation, for further details on becoming an AHP.

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