Required Training in the Use of Live Animals in Research



Training Requirements

Training in Specific Laboratory Practices

Documentation of Training


Public Health Service Policy and USDA Animal Welfare Regulations require that “all personnel involved with the care and use of animals must be adequately educated, trained, and/or qualified in basic principles of laboratory animal science to help ensure high-quality science and animal well-being.”1  Researchers must have specific training in appropriate species-specific housing methods, husbandry procedures, and handling techniques; in addition, research personnel must be qualified through training or relevant experience to perform all experimental manipulations, including anesthesia and surgery, humanely and in a scientifically acceptable fashion.  Research staff must also be able to employ research and testing methods that minimize the number of animals required to obtain valid results and minimize animal distress.


All research personnel must receive training in the ethical care and use of animals and the regulations, policies and procedures governing animal use in research as well as in the actual procedures that may be performed on animals during the course of the research. UCI uses the web-based training resources of the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) to provide basic training in the humane care and use of animals in research and teaching via its basic training module, periodic refresher courses and species- and procedure-specific modules.  All required online training must be completed before any individual may be listed on or added to an approved IACUC protocol; individuals who fail to complete required training will not be authorized to engage in any activities involving live animals.

Training Requirements

All proposed research personnel, including Principal Investigators, Lead Researchers and Faculty Sponsors, must complete all required CITI training, as identified by the CITI screening questions answered during training enrollment.  Training records of all members of the study team are checked as part of the protocol pre-review process and verified before approval documents are released.

Required initial training consists of the CITI basic training module and all additional recommended/required training modules, which may include species- and procedural-specific modules as well as a special module dedicated to reduction of pain and distress in rodents.


  • Protocol applications may not be forwarded to the IACUC for full committee review until the Lead Researcher and other key personnel has completed the CITI training.
  • Any other study team members who has not completed the required training when the protocol is ready for approval will be removed from the protocol; those individuals will not be authorized to work with animals until they are added via modification once all training is complete.
  • "Refresher" Training Requirement:  To ensure the ongoing welfare of laboratory animals and the quality of UCI's accredited animal use program, all research personnel listed on approved IACUC protocols must complete the CITI Refresher Course training in laboratory animal use at least once every three years, regardless of their individual level of expertise. All researchers will receive a reminder directly from CITI when their refresher course is due.

CITI Hints and Tips

Use the CITI Single Sign-On to log in using your UCINetID and password, then enroll for the required training modules. 

If you have recently completed CITI training at a different institution, you may be able to transfer your training credit by changing your participating institution to UCI. Follow the instructions on the CITI website for adding an additional institution and changing your Preferred Email.

Additional Training Requirements for Vivarium Access

In addition to the required CITI training, each member of the research team (including Lead Researcher) must attend classroom instruction on UCI-specific procedures provided by ULAR staff, followed by an orientation/tour of animal facilities, in order to obtain a photo-identification/vivarium access card. For more details about vivarium access, please go to ULAR training.

Training in Specific Laboratory Practices

In addition to basic training in the regulations and best practices associated with the use of live animals in research, all research personnel must display proficiency in the performance of the specific procedures described in each animal-use protocol. There are many options available for training inexperienced research personnel; some examples are:

  • Hands-on training by the Lead Researcher or other experienced laboratory members
  • Videos and DVDs such as those produced by NIH Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare 
  • On-line training demonstrations (e.g., JoVE)
  • Hands-on training by UCI veterinary staff

Documentation of Training:

Lead Researchers are ultimately responsible to ensure that all research personnel are proficient in all procedures. The IACUC strongly recommends that training records for all staff be maintained in the laboratory in order to demonstrate and document that all personnel have received the appropriate training in not only animal care and use, but also the use of hazardous agents, laboratory safety procedures, etc.

1Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, page 15.

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