CCAC Online Ethics FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions


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Why do animal users need to demonstrate competence in performing their required tasks?

All personnel working with animals in science must be knowledgeable about the principles of humane experimental science and ethical issues associated with the use of those animals, including the Three Rs tenet (replacement, reduction, and refinement). Proper training allows individuals to conduct research, teaching, and testing in a manner that minimizes pain and stress in animals and contributes to more reliable results. The CCAC guidelines on institutional animal user training acknowledge the importance of this and have made training a requirement.

How long do I have to study the training materials and pass the exams?

We suggest no more than three months to review the training materials and to pass the appropriate exams. To receive further institutional animal user training, you must complete and pass the CCAC Ethics certification exam.

I have many years of work experience with laboratory animals. Do I need to complete the exams?

Yes. We recommend thoroughly reviewing the training materials to confirm your understanding of the theoretical knowledge. If you are confident in your knowledge of the materials, you may proceed to take the exams.

What if I cannot pass the examination within the three months, after several attempts?

The CCAC guidelines on institutional animal user training require that all personnel working with animals possess the necessary knowledge, skills, and competency to perform their required tasks prior to commencement of any work involving animals. If you are unable to pass the exams, you may not work with animals. If you are experiencing genuine difficulty completing the course, contact for assistance.

As a principal investigator, I do not perform any hands-on work with animals. Do I have to complete the course?

Yes. The principal investigator makes important decisions about how animals will be treated during the course of a study. PIs should be aware of the various components of the core material that is presented in the training materials. By passing the exams, you will confirm that you possess the necessary knowledge.

I am an Animal Health Technologist (AHT), Veterinary Technician (VT), or Registered Laboratory Animal Technician (RLAT). Do I have to complete the training materials and exam?

Yes. Successful completion of the training materials and related exams is required for all animal users. In other elements of the institutional training program (e.g. practical skills training), there may be exemptions for individuals who demonstrate the appropriate knowledge, skills, and competency to perform their required tasks.