Why Is There a Certification Program at UCLA?

All animal research at UCLA must be conducted in accordance with the federal regulations as set forth in the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), the 2011 Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, PHS Policy for the Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, as well as UCLA's policies and procedures as set forth by the Animal Research Committee (ARC).

One primary mandate central to all regulations and policies is that the ARC is responsible for providing training to the investigators, animal technicians, and other personnel directly involved with animal care or use at UCLA. Training must include, but is not limited to, the following topics: (1) humane practice of animal maintenance and experimentation; and (2) research or testing methods that minimize or eliminate the use of animals or limit pain or distress.

With over 3500 active animal users at UCLA, it is not possible for the ARC to provide one-on-one training for each person. Therefore, the ARC created the Certification Program, bearing in mind that training is ultimately a cooperative effort between many members of the research community. Obviously, the primary responsibility for training resides with the principal investigator or faculty sponsor, as the case may be. In addition, the ARC and the Division of Laboratory Animal Medicine (DLAM) supplement such training with the ARC Certification Program as described here. Other departments, such as Biological Safety and Radiation Safety, have their own training programs. Together, through the combined efforts of all involved parties, both the spirit and letter of the law mandating training can be fulfilled at UCLA.

What Does the Certification Program Involve?

The ARC requires that all Principal Investigators, as well as all personnel having direct contact with live vertebrate animals, must obtain ARC certification prior to initiating work with laboratory animals. For detailed information on who must be certified or to inquire about the certification status of personnel, please contact the ARC administrative office at (310) 206-6308 or arc@research.ucla.edu.

UCLA's Certification Program has two components: general certification and species-specific training. Participants are required to complete both components of certification in order to be certified. Additionally, personnel who will be involved with survival surgery procedures on mammals or birds must participate in an aseptic surgical techniques class (see section on Training in Aseptic Surgical Techniques).

These trainings can be completed in any order; however, ALL applicable training requirements must be met before any animal user will be approved to work with animals. New animal users must have a current Medical History Questionnaire on file prior to attending hands-on species-specific or aseptic surgery training.

General Certification (CITI Program Training)

UCLA uses the nationally recognized Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) program to train animal users on regulatory guidelines and individual responsibilities. UCLA uses CITI because the content is extensively reviewed, critiqued and updated; the program meets federal requirements; and certification is transferable to and from other institutions. The CITI program also provides personnel the option to complete additional education modules relevant to their research programs and disciplines.

All personnel listed on an ARC protocol (including all Principal Investigators and Faculty Sponsors, even if they will not have direct animal contact) must complete the online CITI "Animal Research" training course to fulfill the ARC General Certification Test requirement prior to approval to work with animals and refresher training every three years.

Investigators can view the certification dates of their research personnel using the online Research Application Tracking System (RATS).

The ARC will not issue approval for any application unless all personnel listed on the protocol have completed certification within the past three years. Any personnel being added to an existing protocol via an amendment application must have been certified within the past three years as well.

Please visit the CITI website to access the Animal Research training module. Please refer to the CITI Training Frequently Asked Questions for additional information on the CITI certification requirements and how to register or complete the training.

If you have further questions, please contact the ARC administrative office at 310-206-6308 or arc@research.ucla.edu.

Species-Specific Training

Species-specific training is required for each species a trainee will be handling and is accomplished by participating in a species-specific training session with the Division of Laboratory Animal Medicine (DLAM). You may complete species-specific training with DLAM either before or after you take the CITI Animal Research course; however, the appropriate CITI species-specific course must be completed prior to participation in a wet lab. To register for species-specific training, please refer to the following information:

  1. Mice and Rats
    Participants who will be working with mice and/or rats must attend a handling and techniques wet lab conducted by DLAM. The class will cover topics such as safe handling and restraint, recognition of pain and distress, and proper euthanasia techniques. Separate training courses are available for mice and rats; both courses include an online training module (through the CITI Program) followed by an in-person wet lab. Successful completion of the online module is required before you will be allowed to enroll in and attend the in-person session, and you must bring your CITI certificate of completion for the relevant species-specific training to the in-person session. You must complete both portions of the training prior to being certified for that species.

    To complete species-specific training for mice or rats, please complete the relevant online course through CITI, then visit Worksafe (http://worksafe.ucla.edu) to schedule your in-person session. For further information, please visit the Worksafe website or email the DLAM Training Inbox (dlamtraining@mednet.ucla.edu).

  2. Mammals other than mice or rats
    Personnel requiring training for mammals other than mice and rats must complete the relevant species-specific online course through CITI, then email the DLAM Training Inbox (dlamtraining@mednet.ucla.edu) to schedule in-person training.
  3. Exceptions
    Species-specific training is not required for fish, reptiles, birds, bats, and amphibians OTHER than frogs; the Principal Investigator is required to provide and document training for these excluded species. Training records may be requested during ARC inspections. Personnel are encouraged to complete the relevant species-specific online course through CITI, if one is available.

    Personnel with prior experience handling a particular species may request a proficiency verification in lieu of hands-on species-specific training through DLAM. Contact arc@research.ucla.edu to discuss eligibility for a proficiency verification.

Training in Aseptic Surgical Techniques

In addition to completing the CITI Animal Research course and species-specific training, personnel who will be involved with survival surgery procedures on mammals or birds are required to participate in an aseptic surgical techniques class administered by DLAM. This session includes presentations on the importance and major points of aseptic surgery, including proper preparation of the surgeon, surgical instruments, and the animal patient. This course includes an online training course through CITI, followed by an in-person wet lab. Successful completion of the CITI Aseptic Surgery course is required before you will be allowed to enroll in and attend the in-person session, and you must bring your CITI certificate of completion for the Aseptic Surgery course to the in-person session. You must complete both portions of the training prior to being certified to perform aseptic surgeries.

To complete this training module, please complete the online Aseptic Surgery course through CITI, then visit Worksafe (http://worksafe.ucla.edu) to register for the in-person wet lab. For further information and to download materials for the labs, please visit the Worksafe website or email the DLAM Training Inbox (dlamtraining@mednet.ucla.edu).

Personnel with prior experience performing survival surgery and/or using aseptic technique may request a proficiency verification in lieu of in-person aseptic training through DLAM. Contact arc@research.ucla.edu to discuss eligibility for a proficiency verification.

Additional Animal User Requirements

In addition to completing the certification exam, species-specific training, and aseptic surgical techniques training (if applicable), you will also need to complete the following requirements prior to conducting animal research:

  1. Medical History Questionnaire Form
    The UCLA Medical History Questionnaire for Investigators, Technicians, Students and All Others Exposed to Laboratory Animals, must be completed by all investigators and personnel who are listed in an ARC protocol. In accordance with University Policy, completion of this form is mandatory for all personnel having contact with research animals or animal tissues and all personnel who have a security key card or key to enter the vivarium. Please note that the MHQ must be submitted to the Occupational Health Facility (OHF) on an ANNUAL basis.

    Forms can be completed via the MHQ Online website. If you have questions regarding the form, please contact OHF at (310) 825-6771.

  2. Addition as Personnel
    The ARC must have record of all personnel working under animal research protocols. If you are not listed as personnel under your principal investigator's ARC protocol, he/she will need to submit an amendment for change in personnel to the ARC in order to officially add you to his/her list of animal users. This amendment can be submitted via the online Research Application Tracking System (RATS).

Certified Laboratory Trainer (CLT) Program

The Certified Laboratory Trainer (CLT) Program is a voluntary, self-referral program by which well-qualified individuals working with mice and rats may be certified by DLAM to train other individuals to handle these species and/or use aseptic technique. Personnel trained by a CLT are not required to attend the DLAM wet lab for mice or rats in order to complete species-specific training; similarly, personnel trained by a CLT that has been appropriately vetted are not required to attend the DLAM in-person course in order to complete aseptic training. Potential CLTs will be evaluated by DLAM staff for proficiency on their ability to properly train on multiple techniques, including handling/restraint and euthanasia, and aseptic technique, if appropriate. Individuals who receive the CLT designation will work with DLAM to document training of personnel and maintain current knowledge of training techniques.

For more information about the CLT Program, please contact the DLAM Training team or ARC administrative staff.


Page Last Updated: May 30, 2019