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.

Residency Training Standards and Requirements

Surgery residents must complete the requirements as outlined in the ACVS Residency Training Standards and Requirements in effect at the start of their residency.

2023-2024 Residency Training Standards and Requirements

Residency Training Standards and Requirements (July 2023–June 2024)

Summary of changes:

These Standards were reissued on August 1, 2023, to reflect necessary process and terminology changes with the introduction of CERT, the new certification record tracker. No requirements were changed.

  • Terminology change: To eliminate confusion between program registration requirements and resident supervision requirements, “core ACVS Diplomate” replaces “Supervising ACVS Diplomate.” The definition and requirements of a core ACVS Diplomate remain the same.
  • An expanded list of accepted additional educational events has been included.
  • Clarification: Educational events should occur on average a minimum of every two weeks throughout the residency.
  • Supervision of residents on specialty service rotations by Diplomates from international specialty counterpart colleges may now be accepted. The list of recognized reciprocal specialty colleges is on the ACVS website.
  • Clarification: The criteria for acceptance of a publication specifies the applicant must be first or sole author. Co-first authorship of a publication is not accepted for credentialing.
  • The process for matriculating new residents has moved into CERT.

For assistance using the new system to track requirements, visit the CERT help page.

New Resident Registration in 2023

Updated August 8, 2023

Submission of new resident registration information, registration of resident advisors, and payment of matriculation fees are completed in CERT. Program directors were emailed details about the process on August 2, 2023. The process is described below. Residents must use the registration link that was provided to program directors.

ACVS is extending the timeline to complete the resident’s statement of compliance and program director’s statement and pay the matriculation fee. For residents who started training before August 2, 2023, these steps must be completed no later than September 1. If a resident begins training after August 2, 2023, the standard 30-day time limit applies to complete these three items.

The steps in the process are as follow:

  1. The program director provides the link and instructions to new residents. Program directors can access the link on the programs directors’ resources page.
  2. The resident uses the link to complete these two steps. Both steps must be taken before the other items are made available in the application:
    1. Create an account or log in with an existing ACVS account and
    2. Complete the Starting Your Residency form to associate themselves with a residency training program and complete prerequisite information (veterinary school, internship, and ECFVG certification, veterinary license, or other form of verification of legal qualification to practice veterinary medicine if required).
  3. The resident completes the statement of compliance in CERT. An email is sent to the program director.
  4. The program director completes the program director’s statement in CERT via the Manage Residents table. The resident receives an email when this step is complete.
  5. The resident or the program director can pay the matriculation fee. ($675 in 2023)
  6. The resident training log will be unlocked once the steps above are completed.
  7. The program director assigns a resident advisor in CERT via the Manage Residents table.
  8. The resident advisor completes the registration in CERT via the Register button in the Resident Advisor Portal. The resident advisor must complete the registration within the first calendar quarter of the resident’s start date. The resident is notified by email when this step is complete.