The American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS) is the AVMA-recognized veterinary specialty organization™ for certification of veterinarians in large animal surgery and small animal surgery. AVMA is the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Dual Certification

Dual certification is the process by which ACVS Diplomates in good standing can be certified as surgically trained experts in an additional animal emphasis to their current diploma. Diplomates who achieve dual certification are endorsed by the College to advertise and practice in both animal emphases for which they hold a current diploma.


The pathway to dual certification is based on the date of original certification.

  • Diplomates certified before 2001 must follow the retraining requirements for Option A.
  • Diplomates certified in 2001 or later must follow the retraining requirements for Option B.

The dual certification program and details on these two pathways are outlined in the Dual Certification Requirements. The Dual Certification Requirements are linked to the corresponding version of the Residency Training Standards and Requirements (Standards). That is, Diplomates initiating retraining in July 2023 would refer to both the 2023-2024 Dual Certification Requirements and the 2023-2024 Standards. Changes to the requirements are highlighted below.

Note: The examination registration deadline is now earlier than the deadline to submit the Application for Dual Certification. The requirements have been updated to reflect this change.

Getting Started

Diplomates planning to pursue dual certification should submit a Statement of Intent to ACVS at the start of their retraining. Receipt of this form confirms the Diplomate as a candidate for dual certification.

Documentation of Retraining

Please download the appropriate files to document your requirements.

Option A – Small Animal

Option B – Small Animal

If dual certification requirements cannot be completed in one year, documentation of progress should be submitted to the ACVS office by August 1 for review by the Resident Credentialing Committee (RCC). Email your Excel file to residency@acvs.org. It is not necessary to submit fewer than eight weeks of training for RCC review.

2024 Application for Dual Certification

Diplomates who have completed all requirements must submit an Application for Dual Certification and pay the application fee on or before August 1. Updated application materials are published in the spring each year.

Download the Guidelines for ACVS Dual Certification Application Guidelines – 2024 to assist with submission to ACVS.

To submit your dual certification application:

IMPORTANT: Submitting your dual certification application is separate from examination registration. Should an individual’s application not be accepted by ACVS, the individual will be responsible for canceling their appointment with Pearson VUE. The deadline to register for the Phase II examination is July 22, 2024, 11:59 pm (Eastern Daylight Time). See the Phase II Examination page for more information.


All candidates for Dual Certification must successfully pass the ACVS Phase II Surgical Competency Examination in the new species emphasis. Both the practical and case-based sections must be passed.

The registration deadline for the Phase II examination is in July for the following year’s exam (for the 2024 Phase II exam, the registration deadline is July 31, 2023). Any Diplomate who is nearing completion of their training who plans to submit the application for dual certification for the August 1 deadline must register for the Phase II examination in July. Examination rules and security policies, details on the format of the examination, schedule, fees, and a suggested reading list can be found in the ACVS Phase II Surgical Competency Examination Information Pamphlet.

Dual certification applicants register for the Phase II examination through CERT. After logging in, click on the “My Credentials” button in the left menu and select the “Phase I Surgical Competency Exam” option.

Maintenance of Certification

Candidates who are certified by ACVS in 2016 or later will be issued a time-limited certificate for the alternate species. Learn more about the maintenance of certification process.


Please contact Jeff Melia, resident training and technology manager, at (301) 916-0200, x102 or jmelia@acvs.org.