Animal Control Certification and Certificate Program Information

Certificate programs in animal control are available from state-level officer associations and some community colleges. Explore coursework and common prerequisites, along with information on job projections and certifications.

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Essential Information

For individuals who like animals and want to work in law enforcement, a career in animal control may be a viable possibility. Certificate programs, which may be completed in less than a year, in animal control primarily train students 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.

Education Prerequisites

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.

Program Coursework

Certificate programs might use multiple courses to cover single topics or a single course to cover multiple topics. The following are possible course topics:

  • Breed identification
  • Animal cruelty laws
  • Animal cruelty investigation
  • Animal capture and restraint
  • Animal nutrition
  • Kennel and shelter hygiene
  • Care of common domestic and exotic animals
  • Animal diseases

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) projected that the employment growth for animal care and service workers will reach 23% for the years 2010 through 2020. The BLS reported that animal control workers earned a median annual wage of $31,680 in May 2012.

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.

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