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Over the past year and a half, the ACZM has worked with Schroeder Measurement Technologies (SMT) to conduct an objective exam validation study to systematically evaluate, standardize and strengthen our examination process.  Based on the results of this study and recommendations from SMT, the ACZM has decided to change the Day 1 Qualifying Examination to a compensatory scoring model starting with the 2019 examination.  Specifically, this means that an overall passing score from all 5 sections combined, rather than each section individually, will be used. The passing score (“cut score”) for the Day 1 Qualifying Examination will be set annually through a process called standard setting which is a systematic evaluation of the question content and difficulty on each section of the examination by subject matter experts (ACZM diplomates).  SMT will oversee the standard setting process which determines the cut score needed to pass the Day 1 Qualifying exam (all 5 sections combined) to progress to the Day 2 Certification Examination.  Utilizing this standardized process will improve consistency of our examination from year to year and ensure that we are appropriately evaluating the knowledge required to be a diplomate in our College.


This change will eliminate the banking of sections on the Day 1 Qualifying Examination.  Any candidate that does not achieve a combined passing score across all five Day 1 sections will have to repeat the entire Qualifying Examination the following year.  Those individuals that pass 3 or 4 out of 5 Day 1 sections on the 2018 exam, will only be required to take the remaining 1 or 2 sections on the 2019 exam. Those 1 or 2 sections will be scored using the compensatory scoring model.  The 2018 qualifying examination will be scored according to the current policies and procedures (65% passing score on each section).


Answers to Anticipated Frequently Asked Questions:

Q) Will all the sections be randomly mixed or will the questions still be clustered by discipline?

A) The 5 sections on the qualifying examination (Herpetofauna, Terrestrial Mammal, Aquatics, Avian and Wildlife) will continue to be administered independently across the span of the first day of the examination process.  The scores from each section will be combined to determine if a candidate received a passing score.


Q)Are we the only College that has done an exam validation process?

A) No.  Several veterinary specialty colleges recognized by the American Board of Veterinary specialties (ABVS) have moved to a compensatory scoring model to administer their certification examinations.


Q) Why is this being done now and not previously?

A) The ACZM has been critically evaluating examination data and discussing methods to improve examination processes.  It became clear that it was in the best interest of the College and exam candidates that a professional organization, specializing in certification examinations, reviews the ACZM exam data objectively.  The data from the past 5 years show the ACZM exam to have excellent reliability statistics.  However, improvement in standardization could be achieved by moving to a compensatory scoring model.


Q) Who is SMT?

A) Schroeder Measurement Technologies (SMT) has been providing comprehensive exam development and administration services to certification organizations and licensing agencies worldwide since 1995.  SMT previously worked with the ACZM for the job task analysis development.


Q) Will the passing score be announced ahead of time to examinees?

A) Yes.  The scaled score set as the passing point will be announced prior to the administration of the 2019 examination.


Q) What is the anticipated passing score needed?

A) The scaled score set as the passing point will be determined and announced prior to the 2019 examination.  The passing point will be determined through the standard setting process annually and then converted through an equating process to a scaled score.  

Questions? Contact

ACZM Application

ACZM Re-Application

ACZM Reference Letters

Pay Fees

ACZM Publication Criteria

ACZM Exam Reading List 2021

ACZM Application Materials

Applications must be submitted electronically by March 31st of each year.

**If at all possible, please make payments electronically, via credit card through this website
, rather than by sending in a check***


ACZM Application

Credentials Information for ACZM Board Eligibility

The following requirements must be met to the satisfaction of the Credentials Committee before a candidate is eligible to take the board examination in zoological medicine:

  • Be a graduate of a college or school of veterinary medicine accredited or approved by the AVMA, or possess an Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates (ECFVG) certificate, or be legally qualified to practice veterinary medicine in some state, province, territory, or possession of the United States or Canada, or some other country.
  • Have a satisfactory moral and ethical standing in the profession of veterinary medicine. 
  • Members must be licensed to practice veterinary medicine in a country, state or province
  • Be first author on at least three (3) publications relevant to the field of zoological medicine in refereed journals, no more than two (2) of which are case reports. The remaining publication is to be an original investigation. The publications must be accepted for publication prior to the deadline for applying for certification.
    • Publications that are not acceptable include book chapters, review articles or "what's your diagnosis?" type publications
    • If a candidate is not sure if their publications are acceptable based upon relevance to zoological medicine they can email the Credentials Committee for clarification.
  • Additionally, one of the following routes of professional training is necessary for candidate eligibility:
    •  Complete three (3) years of professional training in zoological medicine (100%), subsequent to graduation from veterinary school, in an ACZM-approved training program supervised by (a) Diplomate(s) of the ACZM
    • Complete six (6) years of professional training/experience in zoological medicine 100% (or equivalent, e.g., 12 years at 50%) subsequent to graduation from veterinary school


The advisor is a Diplomate of the American College of Zoological Medicine who is formally named for one or more candidates for the ACZM, and who supervises the candidate/s following the alternate pathway for credentialing in completion of the requirements for successful application and credentialing for the certification examination of the ACZM.

For more information about ACZM advisorship, see ACZM Advisorship Guidelines.

For ACZM Diplomates in your vicinity, see the ACZM Roster.

If you need assistance finding an ACZM Advisor, please contact the ACZM Secretary.

Suggested Reading List for ACZM Examination

The following list is provided to help guide veterinarians planning to study for the ACZM boards. It is not a comprehensive listing of all available material, but rather a guide to facilitate finding information in areas where the candidate does not have extensive experience:

ACZM Exam Reading List 2021


ACZM Certification Examination


Please check back for an update on the exact date of the 2021 examination.  An applicant must be a licensed veterinarian and first author on at least three refereed publications in the field of zoological medicine.  Candidates may qualify with completion of a three-year ACZM-compliant residency or an ACZM-compliant graduate program.  Candidates may also qualify via an experiential route requiring a minimum of six years post-graduate experience in zoological medicine and 2 formal ACZM mentors.


The two-part examination consists of a qualifying examination on the first day, which includes the medicine of avian, aquatic, reptiles and amphibians, mammalian, and wildlife species.  Candidates who pass may take the certifying examination in general zoo (birds, reptiles, and mammals), wildlife, aquatics, or zoological companion animal medicine.  Components of the certifying exam include multiple choice, essay and slide section.  The practical section of the exam has been discontinued.  The distribution of points for the certifying exam is now:  multiple choice (75 points), essay (140 points), and slide (85 points). Successful candidates for Diplomate status must pass both the qualifying and certifying examinations.


Application materials, specific qualifications, and examination information can be found at  The updated suggested reading list is available.  Please compile all required documents into a single PDF titled as "2021 ACZM Application (or Reapplication) Last name, First name". Completed applications must be submitted electronically via the web form by March 31, 2021.


Job Task Analysis as It Relates to Future ACZM Examinations