Laboratory Animal Certification for Veterinary Technicians

Veterinary technicians who work specifically in the area of laboratory medicine may be interested in learning about the additional certification they may earn. The American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) has three exams from which students may earn technician certification. These certification exams will earn individuals certain titles, depending on which exam is taken. In order to earn this certification, individuals must have the required work experience and education before taking the exam.

– Assistant Laboratory Animal Technician (ALAT)

In this exam, students must answer questions having to deal with laboratory-related topics. Individuals should be knowledgeable about types of lab animals, including, but not limited to, gerbils, fish, ferrets, hamsters, rats, rabbits, reptiles, swine, mice, and nonhuman primates. The majority of the questions on this exam will be in the area of Animal Husbandry, Health & Welfare. Small focus areas include species specifics, breeding, nutrition, sanitation, disease prevention, control, formulas and calculations, animal welfare, identification of animals, husbandry practices, and clinical, health, and research procedures.

However, a small portion is dedicated to Facility Administration & Management. Topics within this category include data collection, analysis, and interpretation, fiscal management, facilities operations and management, documentation and record maintenance, interpersonal relations, employee management and training, and occupational health and safety.

Individuals should utilize certain references such as ALAT Training Manual and Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, 8th edition.

– Laboratory Animal Technician (LAT)

The exam to become certified as a LAT has very similar topics as the ALAT exam, although the questions may be different.

Individuals should look at references such as LAT Training Manual, Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, Good Laboratory Practices for Nonclinical Laboratory Studies, AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals, Clinical Laboratory Animal Medicine, and Animal Welfare Regulations.

– Laboratory Animal Technologist (LATG)

Again, the subject areas are the same for LATG as ALAT and LAT. However, the exam is split into even parts between Animal Husbandry, Health, & Welfare and Facility Administration & Management.

References include LATG Training Manual and Occupational Health and Safety in the Care and Use of Research Animals.

The ALAT has 120 questions, the LAT 155, and the LATG 180. Time allotted is two hours for ALAT, 2.5 hours for LAT, and three hours for LATG. In order to take any of these exams, individuals must have anywhere from 0.5 to 5 years of work experience. Completing a previous exam (ALAT before taking LAT, or LAT before taking LATG), means that particular test will require less work experience.

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