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.

An original scientific article should contain the following elements:

  • Introduction that contains information which provides support and serves a a basis for the study.
  • A statement of the hypothesis or question under study.
  • A materials and methods section that delineates how the study was conducted.
  • A section containing results of the study.
  • A section that analyzes the results of the study.
  • A conclusion, summary or abstract that concisely states the findings of the study and places them in perspective.

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.

Criteria for Pre-Review Manuscript Submission - August 2023

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. 
  • 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.
  • 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.