Within the discipline of veterinary medicine, groups of specialized veterinarians, called "Boards" examine and certify veterinarians as meeting the standards of the respective board regarding specialty knowledge, training and expertise. Board-Certified specialists commonly have completed a three year residency in their specialty area and have passed an extensive examination administered by the specialty organization. Approximately 6% of all practicing veterinarians in the United States are currently Board-Certified in a specialty discipline. Certified-specialists are referred to and can advertise as "Diplomates" or specialists of their respective organizations. By the ethical standards of the American Veterinary Medical association, non-Board-certified veterinarians should not refer to themselves or advertise as specialists.
The American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS) is the certifying organization of veterinary surgery. Approximately 870 veterinarians are currently Diplomates of the ACVS, which include both large animal and small animal veterinarians, and veterinarians in both private and University practices. All small animal surgeons at Kansas State University are ACVS Diplomate specialists.