Certificate Program


PRIM&R' offers two certificates: the Certificate in the Ethical Foundations of Animal Care and Use and the Certificate in the Foundations of Human Subjects Protections. Certificates are obtained by completing selected preapproved PRIM&R educational programs in one of the two disciplines. Earning a certificate allows a professional to gain a basic understanding of human subjects protections or animal care and use and demonstrate commitment to the research ethics field.


Those who obtain the Certificate in the Ethical Foundations of Animal Care and Use or the Certificate in the Foundations of Human Subjects Protections will:

  • Increase their knowledge and understanding of research ethics and subject protections
  • Demonstrate their commitment to the field of research ethics and oversight
  • Document their continuing education achievements

Who Should Consider Obtaining a Certificate?

  • Individuals involved with research protections whose primary focus is on conducting, monitoring, or otherwise staffing research projects, such as principal investigators, institutional officials, research coordinators, and other research staff members.
  • Individuals whose professional role extends beyond research ethics and oversight, such as ethicists, policymakers, attorneys, and subject advocates, who need to have a solid foundation in the prevailing regulations and ethical principles.

Certificate versus Certification

Successful completion of a PRIM&R certificate serves as a record that an individual has attended courses covering the basic ethical and regulatory frameworks for the use of humans and animals in research. These certificates are not prerequisites to, nor do they count toward, eligibility for the CIP or CPIA certifications. The CIP and CPIA are professional credentials that require several years of professional experience in direct support of IRBs or IACUCs, among other requirements, simply to sit for the exams.


Other key differences between a certificate and certification program are listed below:

Certificate Certification
Results from an educational process (a course or series of courses with specific focus and learning objectives). Results from an assessment process, demonstrating mastery/competency of a set of standards, usually by application or exam.
Little or no professional experience required. Some professional experience required.
Awarded by educational programs or institutions. Awarded by a third-party, standard-setting organization.
Course content not considered to be a definitive set of standards about the topic. Content considered standards which are set through a defensible, industry-wide process.
Usually listed on a résumé as education or professional development. Typically results in a designation to use after one's name.
Is the end result; demonstrates knowledge of course content at the end of a set period in time and may result in a physical certificate to hang on the wall. Has ongoing maintenance requirements; holder must demonstrate s/he continues to meet standards for ongoing use of the credential.