Animal Behavior Certification Programs
There are several certificate options in the field of animal behavior that can enhance a candidate’s professional credentials. Here are some of the best-known certification options:
American College of Veterinary Behaviorists
The American College of Veterinary Behaviorists (ACVB) is a professional organization comprised of veterinarians who have achieved board certification in the specialty of veterinary behavior. Diplomates of the ACVB must be licensed veterinarians and complete at least three additional years of training through a recognized residency program. They must also submit case reports, publish their findings on a research project, and pass a comprehensive two-day examination.
Animal Behavior Institute
The Animal Behavior Institute (ABI) offers five certificate programs and two specialized certificates available online. Total cost for each certificate program is $5,550 plus some additional fees for books. Many organizations recognize ABI certificates for continuing education credit hours.
The five certificate programs offered by ABI are in animal-assisted therapy, animal training and enrichment, zoo and aquarium science, wildlife rehabilitation, and laboratory animal behavior. Each certificate program is comprised of five courses and can be completed in less than a year. Candidates must also complete 40 hours of hands-on experience either through employment or volunteer work.
Specialized certificates are available for those wishing to focus on a single species (e.g., canine or feline training and behavior). The specialized certificate program is comprised of three courses and can be completed in six to nine months. Candidates must also complete 100 hours of hands-on experience either through employment or volunteer work.
Animal Behavior Society
The Animal Behavior Society offers two levels of professional certification: associate certified applied animal behaviorist (ACAAB) and certified applied animal behaviorist (CAAB). ACAAB certification requires a Masters degree (including a variety of animal behavior coursework and research), at least two years of experience, and a presentation at an ABS annual meeting. CAAB certification requires a doctoral degree, at least five years of experience, and a presentation at an ABS annual meeting. Certification costs $100 (plus a $100 application fee) and is valid for five years.
Association of Animal Behavior Professionals
The Association of Animal Behavior Professionals (AABP) offers several certification options including certified dog behavior consultant (AABP-CDBC), certified parrot behavior consultant (AABP-CPBC), certified cat behavior consultant (AABP-CCBC), and certified animal behavior consultant (AABP-CABC). Certification may be achieved either through formal education or passing the AABP proficiency exam. Candidates must be able to demonstrate that they have at least 400 hours of professional experience within the previous five years.
Membership in AABP is $60 a year.
Companion Animal Sciences Institute
The Companion Animal Sciences Institute (CASI) offers web-based certification in animal behavior, canine behavior, feline behavior, and parrot behavior. The diploma in animal behavior covers canines, felines, and parrots or, a candidate can specialize in a single species course.
The diploma in animal behavior science and technology requires 400 hours of coursework and takes approximately 18 months to complete. Tuition is $2,600. The diploma of canine behavior science and technology, the diploma of feline behavior science and technology, and the diploma of parrot behavior and technology each require 300 hours of coursework and take approximately one year to complete. Tuition is $2,400 per program.
The CASI diplomas are approved for continuing education credit hours by several animal behavior organizations including the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants and the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers.
International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants
The International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) offers associate certified and certified membership options to its members. Certification may focus on work with dogs, cats, horses, or parrots. Yearly dues are $85 for associate certified members and $110 for certified members. Both options require at least 36 hours of continuing education every three years to maintain certification.
Associate certified membership requires a candidate to have at least 300 hours of experience in animal behavior consultation, 150 hours of coursework, two written case studies, and three letters of recommendation.
Certified membership requires a candidate to have at least 3 years (and 500 hours) of experience in animal behavior consultation, 400 hours of coursework, three written case studies, and four written case scenarios.