Become a Candidate

Thank you for your interest in joining the ACVIM community!

As the largest veterinary specialty organization in North America, the ACVIM seeks to enhance animal and human health by advancing veterinary internal medicine through the Board-certification of veterinary specialists.

Our specialists, called Diplomates, undergo considerable post-graduate training beyond the six to eight years of college education normally required to earn a veterinary degree. This post-graduate training includes an internship, residency and documented clinical experience that lays the groundwork for a Candidate to become Board-certified.

We invite you to scroll to learn more about requirements for registration and other important information.



Next Steps to enroll as an ACVIM Candidate:

1. Requirements to be accepted into an ACVIM approved RTP:

  • Must be a graduate of a college or school of veterinary medicine approved by the AVMA, OR be legally qualified to practice veterinary medicine in  some state, province, territory, or possession of the United States, Canada or another country.
  • Complete a one-year rotating internship in medicine and surgery or equivalent broad based clinical experience.

For more information on Candidate Prerequisites, contact

2. Understand Residency Training Programs options and current minimum requirements.

3. Explore upcoming ACVIM approved Residency Training Program opportunities.

  • Visit the Veterinary Internship and Residency Matching Programs for current openings and placement assistance (

4. Register as a Candidate of the ACVIM within 90 days of starting an RTP.

  • Register online.
  • You will receive confirmation of your registration via a “Candidate Welcome Letter” from the ACVIM office within 90 days of registration. This letter will outline your Candidate timeline (i.e. eligibility dates for credentials and exams) as well as your assigned Candidate ID# and other important information.


ACVIM approved Residency Training Programs

Each specialty has a Residency Training Committee that specifies training criteria that must be met for certification. This committee will review training program applications submitted by institutions and rule on their acceptability.

All Residency Training Programs must have a designated Program Director. The Program Director is responsible for submitting the original residency training program registration information as well an annual renewal. Program renewal information will be sent to Program Directors. All Residency Training Programs must be approved prior to any residents starting their training program.

Candidate registration

Once in an approved residency training program (RTP), residents must register with the ACVIM within 90 days of beginning their RTP (e.g., by October 1 for programs beginning on July 1). The purpose of registration is to ensure that a candidate embarks on a training program that conforms to the requirements of the specialty in which he or she wishes to become certified. Failure to register, or registration after the 90-day deadline, may jeopardize the resident's certification process, as some of the training program may not be recognized or accepted. In 2016 a program of Maintenance of Credentials (MOC) became effective for new Diplomates. Please see section 4.K of the Certification Manual (CM) for additional information.

Certification Manual

The Certification Manual (CM) contains procedures and guidelines for individuals interested in certification by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) specialties of Internal Medicine, Cardiology, Neurology, Nutrition and Oncology. Each candidate must fulfill the requirements outlined in the CM edition in effect at the time he/she registered with the ACVIM office at the beginning of his/her training program.


What's next?

After you've successfully enrolled as an ACVIM Candidate you will need to meet all the certification requirements for your specialty as outlined in the ACVIM Certification Manual (CM).
Minimum requirements include, but are not limited to:
  • Pass General Examination
  • Pass Credentials
  • Pass Specialty Examination
  • Successfully complete an ACVIM approved RTP




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