AMTRA (Animal Meds. Training & Regulatory Authority) is a not-for-profit organisation, appointed by the Secretary of State to keep its Register of RAMAs - Registered Animal Medicines Advisor (also called SQPs) - people who are entitled to prescribe and/or supply certain veterinary medicinal products under the Veterinary Medicines Regulations. Becoming a RAMA requires passing both written and oral exams as well as an obligation to undertake Continuing Professional Development (CPD).
A RAMA qualification can be beneficial in working towards a career for anybody who enjoys working with animals and is interested in animal health and welfare.
Many large large pet shop chains employ RAMAs / SQPs as well as vet practices, animal feed companies and animal medical companies:
- The exams certify that qualified members of their staff are knowledgeable about animals or animal medicines advice that they may prescribe
- There is a legal requirement to be SQP qualified to dispense some medicines
Some people opt to obtain AMTRA qualifications themselves in order to increase their prospects of selection for certain roles and careers, whilst in other cases employers might sponsor existing or new employees to complete AMTRA qualification in order to demonstrate a company's proficiency, to contribute to their employee's personal development or to fulfil certain legal requirements.
Registered Animal Medicines Advisors have an important and responsible role, contributing to animal health and, in the case of farm livestock, farm profitability. They are entitled to prescribe and/or supply certain veterinary medicines.
AMTRA also undertakes a number of other activities to support AMTRA qualified professionals, the service they provide to animal owners, and supporting their long-term future.
- working with Harper Adams University to develop and maintain a qualification syllabus at Higher Education Levels 4 and 5 which meets the needs of RAMAs (Registered Animal Medicines Advisor) and the requirements of the Secretary of State
- working with training centres to support course provision
- provision of information and advice to AMTRA RAMAs
- maintenance of the Register of AMTRA RAMAs (SQPs)
- monitoring and accreditation of continuing professional development for AMTRA RAMAs
- regulation of professional conduct (including powers to suspend registration or strike off the Register for misconduct)
What is a RAMA?
A Registered Animal Medicines Advisor (RAMA) is the name AMTRA gives to those people described as SQPs (Suitably Qualified Persons) by the Veterinary Medicines Regulations. The second is the legal term for the time being, though that might change in future, but the first describes the role better and is the name we are increasingly choosing to use in preference to SQP. However, the term “SQP” will still be encountered sometimes, including in some AMTRA documentation, and should be regarded as equivalent to RAMA.
Registered Animal Medicines Advisors have an important and responsible role, contributing to animal health and, in the case of farm livestock, farm profitability. They are entitled to prescribe and/or supply certain veterinary medicines under the Veterinary Medicines Regulations, but to do so must act professionally including following the rules of the Regulations and of an associated Code of Practice.
What sort of people are RAMAs?
AMTRA RAMAs work in a variety of work environments – in veterinary practices, in agricultural or equine businesses, in pet shops. They can deal with customers face-to-face or via the telephone or Internet, but the legal and professional obligations remain the same. There is no minimum age to become a RAMA / SQP, though students who are under 18 years of age need to contact us first as we have statutory safeguarding requirements.
There are about 7000 RAMAs on the AMTRA Register.
Becoming a RAMA
To qualify as an AMTRA RAMA a person must undertake relevant training and pass examinations approved by AMTRA at Higher Education Level 4 or higher, and pass a viva (oral exam) conducted by an AMTRA Assessor.
- Most AMTRA RAMAs become qualified via a modular approach (see below);
- qualified Veterinary Nurses can become AMTRA RAMAs via a top-up exam that recognises their existing qualification;
- there is also a route for pharmacy professionals via the Veterinary Pharmacy Education Programme;
For those student RAMAs enrolling via the most common, modular approach, all must pass the Base module and between one and three additional species modules: these determine the category of RAMA qualification obtained. The species modules are:
- FAM – Farm Animal Module
- EQM – Equine Module
- CAM – Companion Animal Module
- AVM – Avian Module