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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 certificate. Diplomates who achieve Dual Certification are endorsed by the College to advertise and practice in an animal emphasis for which they hold a current certificate.


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 2022 would refer to both the 2022-2023 Dual Certification Requirements and the 2022-2023 Standards. Changes to the requirements are highlighted below. View previous versions of the Dual Certification Requirements.

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. Additionally, in March 2021, the Orthopedics - Joint Replacement requirement for small animal residents was expanded to allow for additional procedures to count toward fulfillment of the existing requirement of three cases. The core curriculum category was renamed to “Orthopedics – Advanced Procedures.”

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

Annual Submission

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.

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 each year. Apprlication materials are published in the spring each year.

  • You must use the 2022 application materials. Download the Guidelines for Applying for Dual Certification 2022 to prepare your packet for submission to ACVS.
    • Download the Application Form (fillable PDF form, use Adobe Reader or Adobe Acrobat to open)
  • The application fee is $1,175. The fee must be paid on or before August 1, 2022. Payment policies are included in the Guidelines. You may:
  • The Application packet must arrive at the ACVS office on or before August 1, 2022. Please be sure you are shipping to the correct address. Late packets will not be accepted.

19785 Crystal Rock Drive
Suite 305
Germantown, MD 20874


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 2023 Phase II exam, the registration deadline is July 25, 2022). 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.

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, if you have any questions.

Previous Versions of the Requirements

  • Dual Certification Requirements – 2021-2022
    Dual Certification Requirements – 2020-2021
  • Dual Certification Requirements – 2019-2020
    • Large Animal Curricula: Angular Limb Deformities has been removed as a category.
    • Small Animal Curriculum: Interventional Radiology and Endoscopy cases to be recorded separately from other MIS cases.
  • Dual Certification Requirements – 2018-2019
    • Examination is required for all pathways to comply with the policies and procedures of the American Board of Veterinary Specialties.
  • Dual Certification Requirements – 2017-2018
    • The requirements were updated for 2017 to tie more closely to the Standards.
    • Diplomates interested in pursuing dual certification should file a Statement of Intent to initiate their training with ACVS.
    • Maintenance of the alternate certification is required (see below).