Animal Research Training

The Animal Laboratory Training Coordinator assembles training programs and provides direct training to laboratory, teaching and husbandry staff on procedures as well as the care and handling of animals.

Additional one-on-one, tailored training is available for lab staff (e.g. animal identification techniques, blood collection, injections, anesthesia, and monitoring, handling and restraint, husbandry and care, sex differentiation, humane euthanasia, etc.).

AALAS Learning Library

Access the Learning Library at the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) via your personal home page in eIACUC.

Hands-On Training

  • Project Specific
  • Species Specific
  • Handling, blood collection, gavage, injections, aseptic technique, anesthesia, euthanasia, etc.

Authorizing In-house Trainers

There is no replacement for hands-on training by a competent instructor for learning new procedures in live animals, whether in a formal workshop or less formally from colleague-to-colleague.

Since each person who touches a research animal must be authorized to do so, the following guidance describes four compliant methods endorsed by the WF Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) for working with a trainer.

1. WF Animal Resource Program (ARP) staff as trainer.

This includes ARP veterinarians and veterinary technicians and the Laboratory Animal Training Coordinator.

  • Used for any type of procedure
  • These trainers do NOT have to be added to an IACUC protocol

2. Add the trainer to your approved IACUC protocol.

This includes WF researchers or external consultants.

  • Used typically for complex, research-specific procedures, such as a major or minor surgery, where the IACUC should review the trainer’s credentials.
  • Trainer must be added to the personnel listed on the approved IACUC protocol.

3. Get a recommendation for a trainer from WF ARP veterinarians or the Laboratory Animal Training Coordinator.

This typically includes WF researchers. 

  • Used typically for minor procedures, when the person making the recommendation has direct knowledge of the trainer’s ability and adding the trainer to the protocol is impractical, e.g., learning from an experienced colleague down the hall how to draw blood.
  • Involves an email communication from the veterinarian or coordinator to IACUC staff who will confirm that the trainer has been cleared by the Occupational Health Program for exposure to the species and will log a note in the approved protocol’s history.
  • No personnel amendment to approved IACUC protocol regarding trainer is needed.

4. Have the trainer verbally walk the trainee through the procedure. The trainer must refrain from direct contact with the animal in order to protect the trainer from infectious diseases that can be transmitted between humans and other animals (zoonosis).

  • Used for minor procedures in species with minimal risk of zoonosis, and when other methods are not available.
  • Acceptable ONLY for common laboratory rodents (rattus, mus, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, chinchilla), birds and swine. EXCLUDES dogs, cats, sheep, goats, cattle, bats, wild rodents, and nonhuman primates.
  • No action regarding personnel on an approved IACUC protocol needed.

Other Important Considerations

  • The trainee must be listed on an approved protocol that includes the species to be used in training.
  • There are no limits on training among personnel listed on an approved protocol.
  • Training should be documented in the individual training logs of trainees and signed by the trainer.
  • The use of animals for the sole purpose of training personnel to conduct a major or minor surgery must be described in a protocol. By contrast, training for minor procedures, such as blood draws, or incidental training that occurs during the conduct of research activities already approved in the protocol is allowed.

Laboratory Animal Certifications/Career Development

American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS)

AALAS' Certification and Registry Board (CRB) certifies three levels of technician competence that are well konwn and widely used throughout the varied fields of laboratory animal care. Learn more about AALAS Certifications and view the Technician Certification Handbook provided by AALAS.

  • Assistant Laboratory Animal Technician (ALAT) Prepare for the ALAT Certification Exam.
  • Laboratory Animal Technician (LAT) Prepare for the LAT Certification Exam. 
  • Laboratory Animal Technologists (LATG) Prepare for the LATG Certification Exam

Academy of Surgical Research

The Academy of Surgical Research promotes the advancement of professional and academic standards, education and research in the arts and sciences of experimental surgery and offers the below Surgical Research Certifications.

  • Surgical Research Anesthetist (SRA) - The SRA certification is intended for the technician who works as an anesthetist who also has responsibilities as part of the surgical team that include aseptic preparation and peri-operative care of surgical patients. The SRA candidate must have documented experience with at least two species as reflected in an anesthetic case log.
  • Surgical Research Technician (SRT) - The SRT certification is intended for technicians who perform minor surgical procedures, such as peripheral vessel cannulation, indwelling pump implantation, subcutaneous implantation, etc. A minimum of two different procedures need to be documented in a surgical case log.
  • Surgical Research Specialist (SRS) - The SRS certification is intended for the surgeon who performs major surgical procedures, such as those which penetrate a body cavity, or orthopedic manipulations, vessel and/or nerve anastomosis, etc. A minimum of two different major procedures in two species need to be documented in a surgical case log. If the majority of work is performed in rodents, then 4 different procedures need to be performed.