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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 2018 would refer to both the 2018-2019 Dual Certification Requirements and the 2018-2019 Standards. Changes to the requirements are highlighted below. View previous versions of the Dual Certification Requirements.

  • 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.

Statement of Intent

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 1 year, documentation of progress should be submitted to the ACVS office by August 1 for review by the Resident Credentialing Committee. 

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. 

  • Application material will be available in late April 2019.
  • Deadline for receipt of application materials and fees at ACVS:  August 1, 2019


All candidates for Dual Certification whose applications are accepted by the ACVS Board of Regents must pass the  Phase II Surgical Competency Examination in the alternate species. Examination materials are typically available in September. The registration deadline falls in mid-to-late November.

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 Kimberly Soehnlein, Senior Certification Programs Manager, at 301-916-0200, ext. 104 or ksoehnlein@acvs.org, if you have any questions.

Previous Versions of the Requirements

  • 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).


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