While a job working with animals can seem exciting, the truth is that animal cops experience dangerous conditions and job competition. Schools don't just train their students; they also help them make a successful transition to a difficult professional environment.
Schools with Animal Cop Programs
Some animal cop programs in the United States are offered at the institutions listed here.
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Degrees Offered||Tuition 2015-2016*|
|National Animal Care & Control Association||Murrieta, CA||Professional Organization||National Certifications||$275-$525 per course (2016-2017)|
|Gulf Coast State College||Panama City, FL||4-year, Public||Certificate, Associate's, Continuing Education Class||In-state $2,765; Out-of-state $10,072|
|Daytona State College||Daytona Beach, FL||4-year, Public||Certification Course||In-state $3,282; Out-of-state $12,352|
|Ocean County College||Toms River, NJ||2-year, Public||Certification Course||In-district $4,255; In-state $5,035; Out-of-state $7,735|
|Kirkwood Community College||Cedar Rapids, IA||2-year, Public||Diploma, Associate's||In-state $4,194; Out-of-state $5,034|
|Carroll Community College||Westminster, MD||2-year, Public||Associate's||In-district $3,619; In-state $5,261; Out-of-state $7,334|
|Southside Virginia Community College||Alberta, VA||2-year, Public||Certificate||In-state $4,350; Out-of-state $10,188|
|Shoreline Community College||Shoreline, WA||2-year, Public||Associate's||In-state $3,730; Out-of-state $6,451|
|Bay State College||Boston, MA||2-year, Private||Associate's||$21,524|
Sources: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES); School websites
School Selection Criteria
Consider the following when looking for an animal cop school:
- Programs that provide training in more advanced topics, such as bite stick, chemical immobilization and euthanasia training, will better prepare students for the many types of situations they will meet in their careers.
- Look for programs that maintain links to animal control departments and offering extra training or contact with current control officers.
- Verify that the program meets your state's regulations and training requirements.
- Some programs require that students are employed or have experience in animal control, either through a humane society, animal shelter or law enforcement agency.
Certificate programs can encompass anywhere from 40-160 hours of training. Certificate programs often help aspiring animal cops meet minimum job training requirements and may also help students earn state-mandated certifications. Current animal control officers sometimes use certificate programs to meet continuing education requirements.
Associate Degree in Criminal Justice Programs
Students can choose to earn an Associate of Science in Criminal Justice degree, which will qualify them to handle the law enforcement side of animal control; however, further training and certification may still be required. Aspiring animal cops may also continue on into a criminal justice bachelor's degree program or earn a degree in animal science.
A career as an animal cop can be pursued with a certificate, diploma, associate's degree or professional certifications from a 2- or 4- year public or private college or professional organization. It may be possible to pursue this career by completing studies in criminal justice initially, although additional training to specialize in animal control may be required.