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Working with Animals at Jefferson

Working with research animals is a privilege...

There are three legal requirements for working with animals at TJU.

  1. You must be properly trained.
  2. You must be on an approved animal protocol. You are only allowed to perform the procedures that are listed on that protocol.
  3. You must be covered by our Occupational Health program specific to work with animals.

This page describes how to obtain permission and training for working with animals. The steps are to first fill out the proper paperwork to apply for permission, followed by a facility orientation, hands-on training, online training, and an employee health screen.

Applying for permission to work with animals

Application for permission to work with animals is made using the RO-4 form (DOC). This form asks you to briefly describe your training, your proposed animal use, and the techniques you will need to learn in your hands-on training provided by the Office of Animal Resources. You or your PI will be asked to list all the animal protocols with which you will be associated and list the techniques for which you will be trained by your lab. You and your PI must sign the form. You will bring this completed form with you when you do your hands-on training.

In addition, if you are being added to an existing animal use protocol, your PI must complete and submit a Request to Add or Remove Support Personnel form (DOC) to the IACUC office.


All personnel who plan to work with laboratory animals must be appropriately trained. There are four elements of training here at TJU:

"All personnel involved with the care and use of animals must be adequately educated, trained and/or qualified in the basic principles of laboratory animal science to help assure high quality science and animal well-being."

-- Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, Eighth Edition, pg 15.

Facility Orientation & Hands-on Technique Training

New investigators, technicians and students must attend an orientation session to learn the proper protocol for accessing and using the animal facility in which they will be housing their animals and doing their work. In addition, the Veterinary Technician staff of the Office of Animal Resources (OAR) will provide technical training related to various biotechniques and animal research methods requested in the RO-4 form.

To schedule the orientation and training, contact the facility manager or veterinary technician in the appropriate animal care facility:

  • Bleumle Life Sciences Building (ext. 3-6167)
  • Jefferson Alumni Hall (ext. 3-1018)

Be prepared to tell them the techniques in which you will need to be trained. Bring your completed and signed RO-4 form with you.

Once completed, you normally will not be required to repeat this training. The exceptions are if you change the species you are working with or the animal facility, in which case you will be required to undergo hands on biotechnque training for the new species or an orientation for the new facility.  Repeat or further training may also be required if the IACUC has determined that you repeat the training for reasons of non-compliance with policies and procedures.

Online Training

In addition to Facility Orientation and Biotechniques training, all new Investigators and Support Personnel are required to take online training courses. Everyone is required to take a course covering animal welfare law and regulations, plus a suite of courses that is determined by the animal species with which you work and the types of procedures used.

These courses are provided via the AALAS (American Association for Laboratory Animal Sciences) Learning Library.

Details for logging on and the list of required courses are available here.

The policy governing online training is here (PDF).

Once you have completed your courses, you can choose to download and print your certificate of completion, or you can simply tell the IACUC office, which has access to your records, that you have completed your coursework.

All animal users are required to complete a periodic online refresher course in order to maintain their animal use privileges.

Occupational Health Screening

Thomas Jefferson University's University Health Services has oversight over all people who may be exposed to animals as part of their duties at the University. They contact all such individuals both at the time of employment and via an annual online screening process. They insure that everyone is adequately screened for potential animal allergies and has adequate and current immunizations, and they will provide counseling for any other employee health issues related to animal use. Work with animals is contingent upon having a current screening status.

The yearly online screening process is accomplished by answering a simple 5-question survey administered through the University's Blackboard system. Your answers are reviewed by UHS, and if necessary they will contact you for a follow-up.  Notification of the need to complete this is sent yearly via email from the IACUC Office.