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Becoming a Diplomate

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About The American College of Animal Welfare

The American College of Animal Welfare (ACAW) is an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)-recognized veterinary specialty organization. ACAW is incorporated in the State of Illinois as a not-for-profit corporation and has received federal income tax exemption under section 501(c)6 of the Internal Revenue Code.

The mission of the American College of Animal Welfare is to advance animal welfare through education, certification, and scientific investigation. Diplomates of the American College of Animal Welfare are veterinarians with specialized training and experience to carry out the ACAW mission. This mission is fulfilled through the application of specific knowledge listed in the Role Delineation Document.

Ensuring good animal welfare has been intuitively recognized as a critical goal of veterinary medical practice since its inception. However, during the past twenty years, animal welfare has expanded exponentially as a distinct discipline of veterinary medicine. In recognition of this expansion of knowledge, ACAW believes it is time to offer advanced animal welfare training, education, and board certification to ensure the veterinary profession continues to lead in advancing animal welfare knowledge for the benefit of the public and the profession.

Veterinarians educated to an advanced level in all aspects of animal welfare science and ethics are uniquely positioned to step forward to provide the public, general veterinary practitioners, and other stakeholders with accurate information, advice, and advanced expertise concerning animal welfare questions and challenges. ACAW recognizes that diversity, equity, and inclusion are important for all professional associations. As a veterinary specialty organization, we support the American Veterinary Medical Association's (AVMA) and American Association of Veterinary Medical College's (AAVMC) efforts to promote these important values across veterinary medicine.

Important Information

ACAW Webinar October 13, 1-3 PM CST
This free webinar will review the major  components involved in becoming a board-certified veterinarian in animal welfare. To register click here. To download details click here.

ACAW Application 2021

Updated information coming soon.

ACAW Continuing Education

The AVMA convention is Aug 20 - 22, 2020 via virtual platform and contains welfare-related topics.

ACAW Exam 2021
Updated information coming soon.


ACAW Membership Meeting 2020
The Annual Diplomate Members Meeting is August 05 noon to 3 pm CDT via Zoom.


Recent ACAW Diplomate Awards


Prof. Andrew Knight
HSVMA Humane Achievement Award (2019)

Prof. Andrew Knight
Principal Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (2020)

Dr. Jeannine Berger
World Veterinary Association Animal Welfare Award (2019)

Dr. Bonnie Beaver
AVMA Award (August 2020)


Dr. Joanne Paul-Murphy
AVMA Animal Welfare Award(Aug 2019)

Dr. Stacy Pritt
Washington State University Outstanding Service Award
(2020)

Dr. Johann Coetzee
World Buiatrics Congress Ruminant Well-Being Achievement Award (2018)

Prof. Andrew Knight
Shomer Award from the Society of Veterinary Medical Ethics (2019)