Membership in this organization will be open to all veterinarians who are graduates of a college or school of veterinary medicine accredited by the AVMA, or who possess an Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduate (ECFVG) certificate, or by the Program for the Assessment of Veterinary Education Equivalence (PAVE); or possess a license to practice veterinary medicine in any state or territory of the United States of America; have satisfactory moral character and impeccable professional behavior; and have been certified as Diplomates in accordance with Article II of the Bylaws..

A list of AVMA Accredited veterinary schools can be found HERE.

After meeting these requirements, candidates take the certifying exams. The exams cover laboratory animal biology, laboratory animal resources management, clinical laboratory animal medicine and surgery, laboratory animal pathology, and animal experimentation.

Post-Graduate Training

Candidates must have completed one of the following training options following receipt of a veterinary medical degree (DVM).

Training Program Option

Candidates must have completed a training program in laboratory animal medicine. The training program must be completed by the application deadline, and must:

  • meet the ACLAM Training Program Minimal Standards,
  • be at least two years in duration, and
  • be recognized by ACLAM, with a Diplomate serving as director.

NOTE: Applicants in a laboratory animal medicine training program (whether ACLAM recognized or not) may count as relevant, direct performance or participation in activities that characterize full-time experience in laboratory animal medicine whether the candidate has completed the program or not.

Experience Option

Candidates may qualify to take the examination after 6 years of relevant, full-time experience in laboratory animal medicine following receipt of a veterinary medical degree. Experience duration is calculated up to the time of the application deadline. Graduate training and professional employment pursued in parallel (at the same time) cannot be counted twice to meet the experiential requirements. That is, each calendar day can only be counted once toward the experience requirements for the purposes of ACLAM credentialing, no matter how many hours are worked or different activities pursued.

Experience comprises both a time and quality component. It is defined as the direct performance or participation in activities that characterize the laboratory animal specialist. These activities include:

  • clinical medicine involving laboratory animal species
  • animal resource management
  • technician/investigator teaching and training
  • consultation on laboratory animal medicine topics
  • formal teaching and research
  • participation in organized laboratory animal medicine

To qualify for experience credit, 20% of an activity’s focus must be on laboratory animal medicine. Qualifying experience need not include all these activities, but engaging in only one or two of the activities may not be enough to qualify a candidate.

Part-Time Experience:  Part-time experience is calculated based on the portion of time spent in laboratory animal medicine-related work, based on the following formula:

1 year in a part-time (50%) laboratory animal medicine-related position = 6 months experience credit

Other Professional Experience:  Up to 1 year of credit is given for experience from activities outside of the laboratory animal medicine field (such as private veterinary practice, meat inspection, or teaching subjects unrelated to laboratory animal medicine) using the following formula:

6 months of non-laboratory animal medicine professional experience = 1 month experience credit

Up to 2 years of experience credit will be given for graduate or post-veterinary medical degree research programs (such as residencies other than formal laboratory animal medicine programs, or post doctoral research training positions) that include the use of animals, based on the following formula:

2 months of program participation = 1 month experience credit


The publication requirement demonstrates that candidates have a clear working knowledge of the scientific method used to explore questions in the biological sciences. Serving as first author of an original research article demonstrates application of the scientific method, and most paper topics will fall under the  biological sciences. For topics outside the biological sciences, the manuscripts must otherwise be relevant to laboratory animal science.  . This article must be published in a peer-reviewed journal and be fully accepted at the time of application. Submitting work that is in the review process, even if conditionally accepted with revisions, does not fulfill the requirement, as the peer-review process is not complete until the paper has been accepted for publication.

By convention, first authorship denotes the individual who was primarily responsible for the conduct of the study and the preparation of the paper resulting from the study. Even though others may have contributed to the study, only the first author will be credited with the publication for the purposes of the ACLAM credentialing process.

Required Components of Research Papers

All papers must include the components described below. These six sections can be found in any original research article. However, it should be noted that some scientific journals may not always have these items in separate, named sections. For example, some scientific journals have “brief communication” or other formats that require all of these elements within the text of the paper, but do not have the elements as separate, named sections. Other journals may have sections with these basic components which are named slightly differently. In these cases, the ACLAM Credentials Committee will determine that these elements are indeed present within the text.

1. Introduction:  The introduction supports and serves as a basis for the study, usually in the form of a concise review of the pertinent literature that surrounds the question to be explored. Key studies are cited and summarized, helping the reader understand what has led up to the question to be studied and indicating the relative importance of that question to the current literature. The introduction may point out flaws in these previous studies or confounding variables that will be addressed in the present study.

2. Hypothesis:  The introduction is concluded by a hypothesis that states the question that the study will address. The hypothesis may mention key measures critical to answering the question, the groundwork for which may have been laid in the introduction. The hypothesis clearly shows that data will be compared between groups and analyzed to provide original information that will lead to the understanding of the subject at hand. The hypothesis should be clearly stated (“The hypothesis of this study was …”) or otherwise evident.

3. Materials and Methods:  The materials and methods section provides a clear description of the experimental design. The design should take into account likely confounding variables, measure relevant parameters, and include adequate numbers of observations to discover statistical significances between groups. This section should also describe in sufficient detail the subjects of the investigation, how samples were collected and analyzed, and the necessary quality controls that were in place to ensure that the analysis/data collection yielded accurate results/measurements. Statistical methods, including types of primary and secondary determinations as well as levels of significance by which statistically significant differences would be ascribed, should also be included.

4. Results:  The results section presents the study results as well as the supporting statistical analyses used to determine whether observed changes were significant and not due simply to chance. All data and comparisons described in the materials and methods section should be accounted for.

5. Discussion:  The discussion section relates the study results back to the existing literature. The interpretation of the results should be clearly stated in light of their statistical significance. Commonly, the relative importance of the findings is discussed, particularly as the findings would relate to normal metabolism, physiology, or other bodily processes. In some cases interrelationships and mechanisms of action are hypothesized, but only to the extent that they can be supported by the data.

6. Conclusion, Summary, or Abstract:  The paper should also include a conclusion, summary, or abstract. These sections should concisely state the findings of the study and place those findings into perspective. Abstracts should contain a concise statement of introductory materials, the hypothesis, a few points about the study design or methods, and a few key results coupled with the concise statement of the findings in the study and their significance.

Collectively, the presence of these items serve as the basis for decisions rendered by the ACLAM credentialing process as to whether the paper represents an original research article.

Acceptable Publication Topics

As the investigation of biological processes by the scientific method is similar regardless of the organism or system studied, ACLAM will accept publications relating to a variety of subjects, such as molecular mechanisms, cultured cells, human subjects, or other organisms (including invertebrates and single-celled organisms) outside of the animal species most commonly used in biomedical research.

Publications in the physical sciences or other scientific area may also be acceptable. However, these publications must meet the additional test of relevance to laboratory animal medicine. For example, a study examining temperature and humidity monitoring and control systems might be acceptable if it is in the context of a laboratory animal facility or housing system design. In all cases, the scientific method must be followed.

Unacceptable Publication Types

Certain publication types do not meet the requirements for ACLAM certification, as they do not demonstrate the required mastery of the scientific method.

Review Article:  A review of the existing literature on a subject, organized so that the important components of individual studies are compiled into a realistic picture of the subject being reviewed. Such articles do not demonstrate many of the components of the scientific method; there is no single hypothesis or question to be answered, no study design, and no data collected in a form that can be statistically analyzed or otherwise compared.

Case Report:  Case reports present information gleaned from clinical observations or a collection of diagnostic information which characterize a clinical condition in one or more individuals. They lack a clearly stated hypothesis and concurrent controls used for comparison to affected or treated groups. Conclusions are usually presumptive; there is no statistical basis for establishing that they do not occur by chance or due to causes that could not be ruled out by the conditions under which the data was collected.

Conditionally Acceptable Publication Types

Epidemiologic Research Paper:  Epidemiologic research papers, such as prospective cohort studies or retrospective studies, may contain all of the elements of a scientific paper. However, retrospective studies cannot be considered acceptable unless they contain all of the elements listed above and have a clearly stated or inferred hypothesis that is examined by comparison of case and control groups with statistical analysis and comparisons of those groups. If these elements are clearly present, then epidemiologic studies are considered acceptable for the purposes of ACLAM credentials.

(New) Criteria for Pre-Review Manuscript Submission - January 2017 

Applicants can request an optional pre-review of their published manuscript from the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine (ACLAM) Credentials Committee (CC). The pre-review process allows the preliminary evaluation of published manuscripts to be submitted to the ACLAM CC from potential applicants aside from the traditional approach (e.g. during the application for certification eligibility). Requests for pre-review will assist candidates by providing early feedback on whether a manuscript satisfies credentialing requirements prior to applying for the ACLAM certifying examination. Please send your manuscript that has been published or accepted for publication to the ACLAM Executive Director- Dr. Mel Balk-

The following criteria are required prior to the pre-review process:

  • Prior to submission for pre-review approval, the manuscript under review must be accepted for publication by a peer-reviewed journal. 
  • The applicant must be first or sole author and the publication must have resulted from the applicant's research or clinical investigation. 
  • Only one publication per applicant may be submitted annually for pre-review. Requests must be made by August 15.
  • Some peer-reviewed journals allow co-first authorship on manuscripts. Co-first authorship should only occur when both first authors have made equally substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; and equally contributed to drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content. Co-first authorship is acceptable for manuscript pre-review submission; however, applicants must show evidence of designation as a first author when submitting their manuscript for review.
  • All decisions by the ACLAM CC during the pre-review process are final.  Pre-review manuscript evaluations by the ACLAM CC will be in accordance with the current requirements in effect at the time the manuscript was submitted for early approval. Applicants will be notified of the outcome following the annual Credentials Committee meeting/review period.
  • The manuscript must follow a scientific approach with all the elements required for the ACLAM credentialing process and as described in the publication requirements for certification eligibility.
  • In the event of change with ACLAM publication requirements, and if a potential applicant has not yet met eligibility requirements, the  pre-review approval is good for three years after the acceptance date of the new publication requirements.