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The ACVAA is the organization approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association’s American Board of Veterinary Specialties to serve the public, veterinary profession, hospitals and veterinary schools and colleges by establishing and maintaining the highest standards in the practice of veterinary anesthesiology, advising the Council on Education of the A.V.M.A. on matters concerning approval of veterinary anesthesiology training programs, establishing criteria of fitness for the designation of a specialist in the practice of veterinary anesthesiology, administering examinations to determine the competence in veterinary anesthesiology of veterinarians who apply and to issue certificates to those who meet the required standards. The major criteria on which judgment of competence is based include technical facility, medical judgment and scholarship.

ACVAA Certifying Exam Requirements

  • Be a graduate of a college or school of veterinary medicine and legally qualified to practice veterinary medicine in some country.
  • Have completed a year of general veterinary practice or a rotating internship (* 30% anesthesia)
  • Have satisfactorily participated in specialty training in a residency program that meets the requirements set by the ACVAA’s Residency Training Standards
  • Be licensed to practice veterinary medicine in the US or Canada (exceptions are made for applicants coved by a veterinary school license)
  • Have a first-author manuscript describing original research in clinical or experimental anesthesia or pain management accepted by a peer-reviewed journal*

Residency Program Goals

Your residency training program is designed to develop your knowledge and skills in the anesthetic management of veterinary patients of all species. In addition, you should develop a degree of expertise in pain management, critical care and experimental method. To demonstrate that your training has prepared you for the ACVAA certifying exam you will be required to submit your “credentials”, a collection of documents including an application, current curriculum vita, letter from a sponsor who must be an ACVAA diplomate, 3 letters of reference, a peer-reviewed manuscript and your case log. Although traditionally credentials are submitted after completion of a residency training program, they may be submitted during the 3rd year as long as at least 104 weeks of the program have been completed.

Submission of your “credentials” begins the certification process. If your credentials are accepted by the ACVAA Credentials Committee, you will be invited to take the written portion of the certifying exam. The oral portion of the exam follows the written exam by 3-4 months and may only be taken by candidates who have completed all 3 years of their residency program and score 70 or higher on the written exam.

For more information click on the buttons below to download a PDF document with the corresponding information.

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