What is an IACUC?

Importance of Taking an IACUC Core Training Course

The use of animals in research is critical to advancing scientific knowledge. From biology to behavior, nonhuman animals provide an understanding of fundamental principles that inform clinical practice and public health policy.   Research with nonhuman animals is a highly regulated enterprise, with a system of laws, regulations and policies, at the federal, state, and local levels. The  Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) plays a central role in ensuring that animal research conducted at their institution is in compliance with pertinent regulations and policies. 

What is an IACUC? 

 IACUC is an independent committee responsible for reviewing and approving animal research protocols. The volunteer committee is comprised of scientists, veterinarians, and community members. By law, all research conducted at institutions that receive federal funding must have an IACUC approve proposed research. 

The Role of an IACUC  

The Role of an IACUC  

The primary role of an IACUC is to ensure that all animal research complies with relevant regulations and policies, such as the Animal Welfare Act Regulations and the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.

The committee reviews research proposals to ensure that the animals used are appropriate for the research conducted, that the research methodology is sound, and that all alternative research methods have been considered. Additionally, the IACUC monitors the care and treatment of animals at the facility and investigates any complaints or concerns related to animal welfare. 

Why is the IACUC Important? 

The IACUC's oversight plays a crucial role in ensuring that responsible animal research. The committee ensures that animals used are treated humanely and that the research is necessary, scientifically valid, and conducted in a way that minimizes pain and distress to the animals. 


Frequent training is necessary for anyone involved in animal research or handling, whether a principal investigator, laboratory technician, veterinarian, or research staff member.

In addition to being a regulatory requirement, IACUC training can help improve the quality of animal research by providing knowledge and skills needed to conduct work safely, ethically, and effectively. Training ensures that animal research is conducted in compliance with federal and state laws and regulations, which protect both animals and researchers.

Keeping up with changes in regulations on your own can be burdensome on top of other job requirements. If you are new to the field, it can be overwhelming. Training courses regularly cover topics such as animal welfare, animal behavior, handling and husbandry techniques, pain management, and the legal and ethical considerations surrounding animal research.

Animal Research Oversight Course (AROC)

Animal Research Oversight Course (AROC)

The Animal Research Oversight Course (AROC) is designed to provide IACUC members and animal care and use program personnel with an engaging, interactive overview of the ethical principles, regulatory frameworks, and guidance that they rely on for their day-to-day work. This online course offers learners details about the purpose and function of the IACUC, and illustrates the IACUC protocol review process through case studies and the deliberations of a simulated IACUC. Learners who successfully complete a final assessment will receive a certificate of completion.

AROC takes approximately 4 hours to complete, and learners can pause and return to the course at their convenience. Learners also have access to supplemental materials, including an extensive glossary and resource directory.


AROC is an interactive online course for new IACUC members and anyone seeking a refresher on the ethical principles, regulatory frameworks, and guidelines for research with animals.

AROC orients learners to the function of IACUCs and animal care and use programs and personnel, the role of IACUCs in review of research protocols, and participation in an effective, well-run IACUC meeting.

Units Include:

  1. Welcome to the IACUC
  2. Policy and SOP Review & Development
  3. Semiannual Program Review and Facility Inspection
  4. The IACUC’s Role in Training
  5. Protocol Review
  6. IACUC Review of Noncompliance
  7. Post-Approval Monitoring

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Institutional and individual subscriptions are available for AROC.



2024 PRIM&R IACUC Core Training  

PRIM&R IACUC Core Training is an online training program that combines two of our most popular courses for those working in oversight of research with animals, IACUC Fundamentals and Essentials of IACUC Administration, presented live in a convenient format for remote learning. Participants are welcome to attend one or both courses. 
Course attendees will also have access to an exclusive platform on the PRIM&R Online Community for additional discussion and networking. 
Each course will be presented as two 3-hour sessions during consecutive weeks, and with one supplementary intersession to provide additional opportunities for attendees and speakers to discuss, interact, and network. 
Course 1: IACUC Fundamentals 
This introductory-level course is for anyone looking for a solid foundation in the oversight of animal research, including the history of animal welfare regulations and oversight and accrediting bodies; the roles and responsibilities of the IACUC and staff members; training IACUC staff, IACUC members, and research staff; protocol review; post-approval; and how to work with others outside of the IACUC.

Course 2: Essentials of IACUC Administration 
This program is ideal for animal care and use program personnel who are familiar with basic IACUC functions, as well as more experienced IACUC administrators and staff. Topics covered include the key components of an IACUC program; the responsibilities of IACUC administrators; strategies for creating and maintaining a culture of compliance; and best practices to ensure that IACUC administrators and their staff provide the support necessary to develop and continually strengthen both the IACUC and the broader animal care and use program. 

Continuing Education 
Course participants who hold the Certified Professional in IACUC Administration (CPIA®) credential may apply 4 continuing education credits towards CPIA® recertification credit for each course in the IACUC Core Training. Learn More 

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Consider an IACUC Professional Credential 

The Certified Professional in IACUC Administration (CPIA®) credential constitutes formal recognition of an IACUC professional’s broad knowledge of IACUC functions and expertise about animal care and use programs and signals that its holders are highly qualified to discharge their duties pursuant to United States rules and regulations, prevailing ethical codes, and administrative best practices.

PRIM&R established the CPIA credential in 2007 to improve the quality of animal care and use programs nationwide by promoting ethical practices and advanced knowledge of IACUC administration.

Those interested in seeking the CPIA credential for the first time must meet the eligibility requirements and apply for and pass the CPIA exam. CPIA credential holders must recertify every five years.