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Animal Cop Degree and Training Program Information

Read about animal cop degree and training programs. Learn about the requirements needed in this profession, courses included in a training program, employment outlook and continuing education for animal control officers.

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Essential Information

Animal cops, also known as humane investigators or animal control officers, investigate reports of animal abuse and educate the public regarding animal safety and health. While no college degree is required for this profession, certificate programs and formal training are beneficial due to the legal implications and safety requirements of this physically demanding and often emotionally draining career. Students can learn how to properly work with animals, some of which may seem dangerous, as well as how to respectfully communicate with the animals' owners.

Educational Prerequisites

A high school degree or equivalent is generally required to begin a career as a humane investigator. Having a high school degree can help prospective investigators develop the essential communication skills necessary in this career, which includes a great deal of public interaction. In addition to a high school education, a few states may also require certification as a peace officer of the state.

Program Coursework

The National Animal Control Association (NACA) notes that animal control officers interact with the public four times as often as others in the field of law enforcement ( Investigators may also need to act as experts in cases that go to court. Classes may include the following:

  • Animal law
  • Report writing
  • Interviewing
  • Courtroom preparation
  • Constitutional law
  • Facility assessment

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) anticipated that the job growth for animal care and service workers will grow at a faster than average rate of 23% from 2010 to 2020 ( Additionally, the BLS reported that an annual median salary for animal control workers was $31,680 in May 2012.

Continuing Education Information

Those looking to get further into the enforcement of laws against animal cruelty, neglect and abuse may also consider going into law enforcement. Degree programs, such as the Associate of Science (A.S.) in Animal Management, are available and some police departments designate officers with the proper training as animal control officers.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics