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Veterinary Microbiology (ACVM) FAQs

What are the career options in Veterinary Microbiology?
Veterinary microbiologists are specialized veterinarians involved in the study of microorganisms that cause infectious diseases in animals. They specialize in several areas such as bacteriology & mycology, virology, parasitology, or immunology. They generally find employment in pharmaceutical companies, universities, veterinary diagnostic laboratories, government agencies, and various other research & development laboratories. Positions may include research, product development, manufacturing and testing, contract research and development, teaching, or advisory roles.


How do I become a board-certified Veterinary Microbiologist?

Veterinary microbiologists must complete a professional veterinary degree and additional requirements before being qualified to sit for the
American College of Veterinary Microbiologists (ACVM) certification exam in each specialty area. The first route requires a candidate to have completed a Ph.D. degree with a major emphasis in veterinary microbiology (which includes bacteriology, mycology, parasitology, virology, and immunology). The second route requires a candidate to have completed a Master’s degree along with significant additional experience equal to that which would be earned by a Ph.D. candidate. This additional experience could include full-time research roles, teaching at a university, or practice in a diagnostic laboratory. To be admitted by the third route, the candidate must satisfactorily complete a training program (Residency training) that is a minimum of 104 weeks, as outlined in the ACVM Residency Training Standards. The fourth route does not require a Master’s or Ph.D. degree, but the candidate must have equivalent experience and demonstrate increasing levels of responsibility in their role.


What is the pattern of the ACVM exam? Where can I find study materials to prepare for the exam?

ACVM website has all the updated information about the exam. The board certification exam has two parts. The first is a general microbiology exam (with 240 multiple choice questions). The second is a specialty exam in one of four areas: bacteriology/mycology, virology, immunology, or parasitology. The specialty exams consist of 100 multiple choice questions that test practical knowledge. Candidates may take one, two, three, or all four specialty exams with the approval of the ACVM board within a five-year period.

Some of the useful books to prepare for this exam includes

•    Veterinary Microbiology and Microbial Diseases Quinn et al.       
•    Essentials of Veterinary Microbiology Carter et al. 
•    Diagnostic Procedures in Veterinary Bacteriology and Mycology Carter and Cole          
•    Cellular and Molecular Immunology Abbas, Lichtman and Pillai  
•    Veterinary Immunology: An Introduction Tizard     
•    Basic and Clinical Immunology   Peakman et al.       
•    Fenner’s Veterinary Virology Maclachlan et al.        
•    Pathogenesis of Bacterial Infections in Animals Songer et al.           
•    Virulence Mechanisms of Bacterial Pathogens Brogden et al.       
•    Microbial Diseases: A Veterinarian's Guide to Laboratory Diagnosis     
•    Veterinary Microbiology  McVey et al.
•    Veterinary Mycology Laboratory Manual Hungerford et al.           
•    Clinical Veterinary Microbiology Quinn et al.
•    ASM Manual of Clinical Microbiology Jorgensen and Pfaller
•    Medically Important Fungi: A Guide to Identification Larone           
•    Bacterial Pathogenesis: A Molecular Approach Wilson & Salyers  


How can I apply for a Veterinary Microbiology residency program?

Though residency training is not mandatory for ACVM board certification, it is highly advisable to get advanced training through a residency program to improve the employment opportunities related to clinical microbiology. Veterinary microbiology residency is offered by many universities in the USA, including Washington State University, Colorado State University, University of Georgia, Purdue University, Auburn University, etc. Websites of
ACVM and AAVLD are ideal to look for open positions of veterinary microbiology residency.

Whom can I contact for additional professional advice?

We have many alumni who are board-certified veterinary microbiologists. AKVNA will help you to connect with board-certified microbiologists. Please send us a message using this website to get additional information about the ACVM exam and questions related to veterinary microbiology.  


Mathew Abraham BVSc, MS, Ph.D., Diplomate ACVM

Senior Scientist – Translational Imaging Biomarkers
Merck & Co.
Philadelphia, PA

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