For individuals who like animals and want to work in law enforcement, a career in animal control may be a viable possibility. Certificate programs in animal control, which may be completed in less than a year, train students primarily in the safe handling of abandoned, mistreated, unattended or dangerous animals. Some programs focus more on animal care and control laws, while others focus on the care of domestic animals. Animal behavior and psychology, animal health, owner interests and community interests are common areas of emphasis. Certification in the field is voluntary and available through professional organizations.
Applicants need a high school diploma or GED for admission to a certificate program. Schools may also require candidates to demonstrate proficiency in communications and math or to be employed at an animal shelter or in law enforcement. Online courses may be available, but some hands-on practical experience is still required.
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Certificates in Animal Control
Certificate programs in animal control focus on providing extensive training on the care of animals for their own safety as well as the safety of the general public. Certificate programs might use multiple courses to cover single topics or a single course to cover multiple topics. Programs may include courses in the following topics:
- Breed identification
- Animal cruelty laws
- Animal cruelty investigation
- Animal capture and restraint
- Animal nutrition
- Kennel and shelter hygiene
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Earning an animal control certificate prepares graduates to seek positions as animal control officers, animal shelter workers or pet sitters. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that the employment growth for animal care and service workers will increase 11% for the years 2014 through 2024. The BLS reported that animal control workers earned a median annual wage of $33,450 in May 2015.
Continuing Education and Certification Information
State associations and private organizations, such as the National Animal Control Association, confer proprietary certifications for completing their specific programs. Some states require completion of supplemental courses to maintain certification. A small number of schools offer associate's degree programs in animal care and animal control. Certificate holders may be able to transfer their credits towards a degree.
Certificate programs in animal control teach aspiring animal control officers about animal cruelty, capture and nutrition, as well as shelter hygiene and breed identification. Voluntary certifications are available to graduates through professional animal control organizations.