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American College of Veterinary Microbiologists American College of Veterinary Microbiologists


Certification Information

All parts of the ACVM Certification Examinations will be given during a 2-day period. Exams for 2024 will be given on November 1st and 2nd, 2024 and will be administered online.

Candidates can qualify in one or more of the specialty areas of Bacteriology / Mycology, Immunology, Parasitology, and Virology. The deadline for application and submission of all supportive material is April 30. Applications submitted after this date, or incomplete applications, will not be considered. Applications are now available to complete online. Additional supporting materials can be submitted to:

Attn: Jennifer Stalley
1351 North Harrison Avenue
Pierre, SD 57501

For questions or further information contact the ACVM secretary at

Please note the following stipulations:

  • Diplomates can only be certified in the specialty of Parasitology by passing the General Parasitology and Specialty Parasitology Examinations.
  • Diplomates can only be certified in Bacteriology / Mycology, Immunology, or Virology by passing the General Microbiology Exam and the relevant Specialty Examinations.

These stipulations were approved by the ACVM Board.

Route 3 ACVM Residency Program Training Standards are provided here.

Routes to Certification

Route 1

To be admitted by Route 1, the candidate must have earned the Ph.D. degree* with major emphasis in veterinary microbiology. The latter is defined as a knowledge and mastery of veterinary microbiology, which includes the disciplines of bacteriology, mycology, parasitology, virology, and immunology, as they apply to veterinary medical science. The science of microorganisms includes knowledge of molecular biology, structure, function, propagation and biological and ecological relationships of microbes and prions with animals, plants, humans, other microbes and the environment. Immunology includes knowledge of the components and functions of host defense mechanisms in both antigen- specific and non-specific responses, and applications of immunological processes in laboratory assays. Veterinary medical science includes knowledge of the etiology, pathogenesis, transmission, immunity/resistance, diagnosis, therapeutics, prevention and control of diseases of animals and zoonotic diseases as applied in the practice of teaching, research, clinical veterinary medicine, comparative medicine, or public health. Therefore, knowledge of veterinary microbiology is not to be narrowly defined as related only to microbial agents of disease in non- human animals or the laboratory characteristics of microbes. A major emphasis in veterinary microbiology means that in over half of the number of course credits for the degree (i) the candidate received a grade of at least a "B average" or a "Pass," and (ii) the courses which were graded at least a "B average" or a "Pass" were in subjects that, in the opinion of the Examinations Committee, were directly related to veterinary microbiology. Veterinary microbiology includes veterinary bacteriology, mycology, immunology, parasitology and virology, and (iii) the thesis was in an area directly related to veterinary microbiology (as defined above). The learning experience for a candidate who has not taken courses must, in the opinion of the Examinations Committee, be equivalent to that required above as determined by a review of the applicant's description of the learning experience.

*individuals may also qualify if a defense date is set within the year in which the application is submitted (provide a letter with date from mentor). Proof of successful defense of the degree is required to take examinations and proof of conferment of the degree is required prior to receiving diplomate status if earned.

Route 2

To be admitted by Route 2, the candidate must have earned the Master's degree with major emphasis in veterinary microbiology (as defined above) and have met either one of the following two criteria:

(1) gained sufficient additional experience relevant to veterinary microbiology (as defined above) to equal or exceed the experience of a candidate who has completed a Ph.D. degree. Experience relevant to veterinary microbiology may be obtained through teaching, research or service that concentrates on veterinary microbiology (as defined above). The experience should, in the opinion of the Examinations Committee, be sufficient to make the candidate proficient in the practice of veterinary microbiology (as defined above) and an expert in at least one of the specialties: bacteriology/mycology, immunology, parasitology, and/or virology. Examples of acceptable experience are: (i) full- time practice in a diagnostic laboratory run by a university, state, or commercial organization; or (ii) full-time practice in research in a university, state, not-for- profit, federal or commercial organization; or (iii) full-time teaching at the undergraduate (baccalaureate) and graduate levels in a university (most of the courses taught should be in veterinary microbiology; and at least one course each year should be taught at the graduate level; and teaching at non-degree institutions does not qualify); or (iv) a combination of the above three points performed on a full- time basis.

(2) gained sufficient additional experience through full-time participation in a structured clinical training program with emphasis on multiple aspects of veterinary microbiology (as defined above). Such a training program must go beyond the coursework and research curriculum of a typical master’s degree program. Examples of structured clinical training programs are designated residency programs in clinical veterinary microbiology. These programs will include all elements of a traditional master’s degree program (i.e. coursework and research) plus clinical work involving cases and rounds. These programs will include coordinated and mentored study, preferably by an ACVM diplomate, in veterinary bacteriology/mycology, immunology, parasitology, and/or virology, along with specialized laboratory training and experience.

Route 3

To be admitted by Route 3, the candidate must satisfactorily complete a training program that is a minimum of 104 weeks*, as outlined in the ACVM Residency Training Standards.

*Individuals may apply if 78/104 weeks of the training program have been completed. A letter of documentation must be supplied by the program leader, faculty advisor, or institution of the residency. Proof of satisfactory completion of the program must be supplied prior to being permitted to take examinations

Route 4

To be admitted by Route 4, the candidate must have, subsequent to earning the DVM, VMD, or equivalent professional degree, have sufficient professional experience (as defined above) relevant to veterinary microbiology (as defined above), with increasing responsibility over this time period to equate with a candidate who qualifies by the Routes 1 and 2.

The applicant shall submit to the Board complete and full details of qualifications, including a list of all publications and any other evidences of professional experience, competence and achievements as a veterinary microbiologist.

A candidate for Diplomate status must have capabilities extending over the broad area encompassed by microbiology as applied to veterinary medical science. A candidate must be well informed in bacteriology, mycology, virology, parasitology and immunology, and must be qualified to assume responsibility for the basic and/or applied aspects of veterinary microbiology in research and teaching, or clinical and diagnostic microbiology. A candidate must have knowledge of infectious disease (including the zoonoses) of animals with emphasis in etiology, pathogenesis, transmission, immunity, diagnosis, prevention and control, and is expected to know current literature and modern laboratory techniques.