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Prior Years' Standards and Guidelines

The Residency Training Standards and Requirements (formerly Residency Program Guidelines) documents for ACVS residents are updated annually and are applicable to residents beginning programs between July 1 and June 30 of the listed years.


2016-2017 Residency Training Standards and Requirements

Note, the 2016 Standards were first published in May 2015. In June 2016, the ACVS Board of Regents modified the time requirements for the anesthesia specialty service requirement. An amended document showing these changes is published on this page.

Summary of changes in 2016

  • Deadline for applications for residency training program registration moved to August.
  • "Activity" weeks defined for residents.
  • Programs should not assign residents clinic duties during weeks scheduled for other activities.
  • Examination preparation should be classified as CE/Vacation/Other in the resident logs.
  • Updates made to the minor procedures list.
  • Residents who miss a review deadline will have the oldest weeks of their training reviewed first.
  • Approved Journals List published online only and updated each year with any additions.

2015-2016 Residency Training Standards and Requirements

Summary of changes in 2015:

  • Beginning in 2015, the guidelines have been replaced by the Resdiency Training Standards and Requirements.
  • All training programs must be registered by ACVS in order to train residents.
  • Residents must participate in Educational Events.
  • Specialty Service Rotations - time requirements were revised and objectives were created for each rotation. NOTE:  Although the published standards indicate that Anesthesia (Small and Large Animal) must be completed as 2 full weeks, the ACVS Board of Regents amended this requirement in June 2015 to require one full week of training and either a second full week or 40 hours of training.
  • Residents must complete cases in anesthesia and pathology.
  • Large Animal Curricula: Cases required in Minimally Invasive Laparoscopy/Thoracoscopy.
  • Small Animal Curriculum:  Orthopedics split into 3 categories: Fracture Fixation, Non-fracture Joint Problems, Other.

2014 Residency Program Guidelines  (effective for residents starting July 1-December 31, 2014)

Summary of changes to the Guidelines in 2014:

  • Two ACVS Diplomates required for all program locations.
  • Residents can spend no more than 75% of their time on surgical rotations with any one Diplomate.  
  • New definition of Diplomate supervision.
  • Small animal:  Minimally Invasive Surgery split into two core curriculum categories - MIS Arthroscopy and MIS Laparoscopy & Thoracoscopy.
  • Large animal:  Change to Angular Limb Deformity core curriculum category - periosteal stripping removed, minimum quantities changed.
  • Two-part examination format.  Phase I occurs during the residency, Phase II occurs after the residency and credentials approval.  Reading should be incorporated into residency training.

2013-2014 Residency Program Guidelines

Summary of changes to the Guidelines in 2013:

  • Minimum requirements for weeks changed - 110 supervised surgery rotations, 18 weeks research/manuscript, specialty service (see below), 20 weeks* for CE, vacation, additional surgical rotations, graduate work, etc.
  • Specialty service training changes:  
    • Anesthesia must be completed as week blocks (2 weeks required)
    • Diagnostic Imaging replaces Radiology and may be completed as hours or weeks (2 weeks or 80 hours required)
    • Internal Medicine/Critical Care must be completed as weeks (3 weeks for small animal, 2 weeks for large animal). Internal Medicine subspecialties are allowed.
    • Pathology training may occur as weeks or hours (1 week or 40 hours required)
    • Large animal residents have one additional week in diagnostic Imaging, anesthesia, internal medicine, emergency/critical care or sports medicine 
    • *Residents who complete specialty service rotations as hours rather than weeks will have 23 or 24 optional weeks to record in the Activity log. 
  • Credentials application must be submitted within 5 years of end of residency program.
  • Primary Surgeon role defined.
  • Semi-Annual Reviews - training must be denied at time of review for current evaluation period only. Designation of resident's status at time of review is final.
  • Residents must update log for each evaluation period.  Residents wishing to add old items to their logs must provide additional documentation.

2012-13 Residency Program Guidelines

Summary of changes to the Guidelines in 2012:

  1. An outline of the certification process has been added.
  2. A mechanism has been added to the Resident Training Log system that will prevent late items from being reviewed by the Resident Credentialing Committee. Late items are those which have been added to or updated in the system after the deadlines of February 1 and August 1.
  3. Requests for early publication review can be submitted by email to residency@acvs.org.
  4. A clearer process has been defined for managing residents receiving minimally acceptable reviews on the Semi-Annual Review in the Resident Training Log.
  5. A clearer process has been defined for managing residents who leave or are terminated from their programs.
  6. Items from the Resident Training Log that have been declined by the Resident Credentialing Committee should be revised by the resident and resubmitted for the subsequent review period.
  7. A number of clarifications to the wording have been made throughout the document - items have been noted as "Clarification" or "Updated" where necessary.

2011-12 Residency Program Guidelines

Summary of changes to the Guidelines in 2011:

  1. The Program Director's Statement has been revised. The new form must be used for all residents starting between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012.
  2. The Registration of Resident Advisor has been revised. The new form must be used for all residents starting between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012.
  3. Form 1c - Statement of Compliance to ACVS Residency Program Guidelines has been added. The new form must be completed by all residents starting and submitted to ACVS within 30 days of the program start date.
  4. External Surgical Rotation Form has been added. This form is required by all residents who complete surgical rotations at program locations other than their main residency site. It will need to be submitted as part of the credentials application. The form is required for all residents starting July 1, 2011 or later, but residents whose programs began earlier are encouraged to use the form as well.
  5. The text regarding manuscripts has been clarified. Manuscripts must follow a scientific approach (but not necessarily the scientific method).
  6. The text regarding seminars has been clarified. Seminars must be on distinctly different topics; the title of the seminar should be descriptive of the content; the resident need not enter more than 6 seminars once 6 have been approved by the committee.
  7. The Program Director initiates Program Completion.
  8. The Resident Credentialing Committee will review logs two times per year. New deadlines are February 1 and August 1. For each six-month period, the following should occur - all items should be completed by the review dates:
    • The resident should enter all cases, activity weeks, seminars and specialty services by the end of the six-month period.
    • The Resident Advisor will need to approve all cases, weeks and seminars, as well as complete the Semi-Annual Review and submit for Program Director approval.
    • The Specialty Service supervisors must approve rotations during that time period.
    • The Program Director must approve the Semi-Annual Review.

2010-11 Residency Program Guidelines

Summary of changes to the Guidelines in 2010:

  1. The Program Director's Statement has been revised. The new form must be used for all residents starting between July 1, 2010 and June 30, 2011.
  2. The text regarding the alternative training program has been clarified. Examples have been provided.
  3. Manuscripts submitted to ACVS must include title page.
  4. Only one manuscript may be submitted for early review at a time.
  5. Matriculation Fee and Transfer fee have been instituted. See guidelines for full policies regarding payment and refund.

2009-10 Residency Program Guidelines

Summary of changes to the Guidelines in 2009:

  1. The Program Director's Statement has been revised. Question 3 has been revised to reflect that only Specialty Service rotations can be performed in other than week blocks for all programs begin July 1, 2009 - June 30, 2010.
  2. The text regarding the internship requirement has been clarified. It is the decision of training programs to decide if prior experience may be used in lieu of the one-year internship.
  3. A “week” of training has been officially defined as a minimum of 5 days of training occurring during a 7-day period.
    • Only training that occurs in week blocks can be counted toward the Special Rotation requirement of 31 weeks.
    • Specialty service rotations (Anesthesia, Radioloy, Internal Medicine/Critical Care, and Pathology) that take place as hours or days over time can no longer count toward the 31-week Special Rotation requirement. These rotations can only count toward the 31 weeks if they take place in week-long blocks.
  4. The Resident Credentialing Committee (RCC) will review no more than 60 weeks of a resident’s training during any given annual review by the RCC.
  5. Residents with more than 8 weeks of training prior to August 1 must submit that training for the annual RCC review.
  6. The explanation of the seminar requirement has been expanded. Seminars must promote exposure to a broad variety of surgically related subjects and allow the resident to gain experience giving a formal presentation followed by a discussion period in a public forum.
  7. A Minimally Invasive Surgery category has been added to the Small Animal Curriculum. Residents in small animal programs must now document 20 cases in the MIS category, with at least 15 of the cases being directly supervised by an ACVS Diplomate.
  8. The Radiology specialty service requirement must consist of general diagnostic imaging.

2008-09 Residency Program Guidelines

Summary of changes to the Guidelines in 2008:

The Program Director's Statement has been revised. There are three questions on page 2 of the form that must be answered for all residents whose programs begin July 1, 2008 - June 30, 2009.

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