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Academy Certification FAQ
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Dear AAVA Members:

In order to help alleviate any misunderstandings here are some frequently asked questions (and answers) concerning the AAVA advanced certification exam announcement.

1. Are AAVA members required to take this exam?

No, this exam is NOT a requirement for Credentialed or International membership in the AAVA. This advanced certification application and exam is being offered by the AAVA to Credentialed and International members and is not associated with any other veterinary organization. This exam is NOT recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) at this time. The intent of the AAVA is that by developing on our own accord, standards for a higher degree of knowledge and thus practice in veterinary acupuncture our efforts may be taken into account by the AVMA at some future time.

2. Is this exam and certification in place of my acupuncture certification?

No, this is not meant to be a replacement or substitute for IVAS certification. In order to be an AAVA Credentialed or International member one has to successfully complete an AAVA approved acupuncture training course (IVAS, CHI College, CSU). Obtaining AAVA advanced certification is personal fulfillment and professional achievement likened to one proceeding to obtain excellence in any other discipline of veterinary medicine.

3. Do I need to obtain this advanced certification in order to continue using veterinary acupuncture in practice?

No, Just as all graduate veterinarians can perform certain surgeries without having to become a board certified surgeon, any graduate veterinarian can perform acupuncture. Your comfort level is your decision and your experiences and results are influenced by the additional knowledge you acquire along the way in your career path.

4. Why should I consider this advanced acupuncture certification?

The American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture mission is to improve animal health care by the advancement of veterinary acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Traditional Asian Medicine through education, research and leadership.
The primary goal of this certification process is to follow the Academy’s mission statement to improve animal health care by the advancement of veterinary acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine and Traditional Asian Medicine through education; to provide a means by which academy members could strive towards advanced recognition as veterinary acupuncturists; and to set an additional standard by which the conventional veterinary community could assess our organization, our members, and veterinary acupuncture. This application, credentialing and exam process is for members who wish to challenge themselves to strive towards another level in their personal development as veterinary acupuncturists.

5. How does one prepare for the exam?

There is no specific formal education process (as for example the IVAS course). The preparation comes from one’s practical experience in veterinary acupuncture, participation and attendance at continuing education seminars and courses, and significant self-study. If using the analogy to the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP), most diplomats of the ABVP are practicing veterinarians who on their own initiative have attended a wide variety of continuing education seminars (usually over a period of years), and self-study for an average of one hour per day for about 6 months prior to the exam. The ABVP has a suggested reading list. For example, in canine/feline practice, Ettingers Internal Medicine, Kirk’s Current Veterinary Therapy, etc. ABVP Applicants then decide on their own what and how to study.

6. Where does one get additional acupuncture CE?

The AAVA sponsors a number of lectures and online education seminars. In addition lists are available from the AAVA and IVAS for additional CE courses. There are also many human acupuncture colleges in the US where veterinarians can pursue additional education as well.

7. What will be the primary benefit from undertaking and completing this certification?

The primary benefit will be the continued development and education of the individual veterinarian as a veterinary acupuncturist through formal CE course participation and the self-study necessary to complete this process. The AAVA hopes that such a process will set a level of advanced competency which will be a goal members will strive to achieve. In doing so this should serve to benefit the animals we treat, their owners, and show the conventional veterinary profession that the AAVA wishes to set the highest standards for veterinary acupuncture in the USA.

8. What are the consequences if I decide not to undertake this application and exam?

NONE! The choice is up to you as an individual.

9. What are some examples of the recommended reading list for study?

What are some examples of the recommended reading list for study?

Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion, Editor Cheng Xinong, Foreign Language Press

Xie’s Veterinary Acupuncture, Huisheng Xie, DVM, PhD, MS and Vanessa Preast, DVM. Blackwell Publishing 2013

Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine, VOL. I, Fundamental Substances Huisheng Xie, DVM, PhD, MS and Vanessa Preast, DVM, Jing Tang, 2002

Medical Acupuncture: A Western Scientific Approach by J. Filshie and A White Practical Therapeutics of Traditional Chinese Medicine by Yan Wu, Warren Fischer with Jake Fratkin editor

Student Manual on the Fundamental of TCM Tyme, L.AC Living Earth Enterprises San Diego CA

Student manual on the Differentiation and Treatment of the Zang Fu Syndromes Tyme, L.AC Living Earth Enterprises San Diego CA

IVAS Basic Course Notes

The Journal of Alternative Medicine is periodical that usually contains a lot of acupuncture articles worth looking at for more cutting edge information. 

American Journal of Traditional Veterinary Acupuncture

A Manual of Acupuncture.  Peter Deadman.  2nd Edition. Journal of Chinese Medicine Publications. 2007.
The Foundations of Chinese Medicine: A Comprehensive Text for Acupuncturists and Herbalists. 2nd Edition. Giovanni Manioca. Churchill Livingstone. 2005
Practical Therapeutics of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Yan Wu. Paradigm Publications. 1997.
Acupuncture: A Comprehensive Text. Chen Chiu Hseuh. Eastland Press. 1981.

10. What are some of the specific broad topics one should study to prepare for this exam?


General topics to be studied - Percentage of Questions:
Yin and Yang Theory2-5%
Fundamental Substances2-5%
Tongue/Pulse Diagnosis2-5%
Pathology, Differentiation Patterns
Zang-Fu Organs5-20%
Meridian and Points: location, function, indications10-20%
Neuro-physiology of acupuncture20-30%
Zang-Fu Syndromes Differentiation and Treatment10-15%
Large Animal clinical applications (bovine/equine)
Small Animal clinical applications (canine/feline)2-5%

11. What is the exact date and location of the exam?

Please contact the AAVA office for details. You can also check the Advanced Certification Fees and Deadlines information page for latest information made available to the web staff.

12. Whom do I contact if I have additional questions about the application and/or certification exam?

The AAVA office. They will forward questions to a member of the advanced certification exam committee.

13. Who is eligible to apply for FAAVA application?

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Graduate of a college of veterinary medicine approved or accredited by the AVMA/AAVA
  • Credentialed or International Member
  • Five years practice experience in veterinary acupuncture, OR three years of veterinary Acupuncture experience and an advance acupuncture degree (i.e. OMD, L.Ac)
  • The applicant must document fifty (50) hours of Veterinary Acupuncture and/or Traditional Chinese Medicine continuing education accumulated during the last five (5) years.

14. What is involved in the process to complete requirements for Academy certification?

All details can be found in the "Applicant Handbook for Academy Certification.”
Briefly, the qualified applicant must submit in quadruplicate; application form, curriculum vitae, documentation of 50 hours qualifying CE for the previous 5 years, and two case reports. Additionally, sealed applicant evaluation forms from three references must be submitted with the application. Complete payment for the application process must be included at the time of application.
Applicants who successfully credential must take and pass a certification exam for which there is an additional fee due by the date found on our website.