How to become an animal behaviorist

Should I Become an Animal Behaviorist?

Animal behaviorists can focus on companion and companion animals such as dogs and horses, or they can focus on animals that live in the wild. Behavioral topics can include what causes certain behaviors, why an animal displays the behavior, and how that behavior affects the behavior of other animals.

Some animal behaviorists are self-employed, while others may work in animal care, academia, or related settings such as zoos. Animal behaviorists who work in the field to observe animals in their natural environment can be exposed to harsh physical conditions and isolation. Those who work closely with animals can risk disease or injury.

Career requirements

Academic qualification level degree in key positions in this field; a master’s or PhD in animal behavioral positions
Degree field Animal behavior, veterinary, zoology or a related field
Experience At least five years of experience to become a certified used animal behaviorist
Law Veterinary Council and other optional certifications
Key competences Observation, critical thinking, problem solving, communication, interpersonal and outdoor skills, emotional and physical stability, patience
Compensation $ 72,590 per year (median salary for all animal scientists in 2014)

Sources: University Programs, MSPCA-Angell, US Bureau of Labor Statistics, O * NET OnLine

Step 1: Complete your degree

Undergraduate degrees in Animal Behavior are available, but some students may choose to specialize in broader fields of the natural sciences such as zoology, biology, or ecology. Courses in biology, chemistry, psychology, physics, and mathematics are usually the basic requirements for such programs. Animal behavior courses can be considered elective choices, with topics covering behavioral ecology, neuroendocrinology, and animal cognition. Higher level credits can be obtained through internships and / or research projects.

Tips for success:

  • Go to an internship or volunteer job. Even entry-level employers may prefer candidates who have experience working with animals in a behavioral position. Humanitarian societies and zoos are possible places to become volunteers or trainees.
  • Experience di ricerca completa. This option is important for those planning to pursue a bachelor’s degree in animal behavior. This experience can not only help you when applying for a program, but it can also be invaluable experience in helping you complete a thesis or dissertation.

Step 2: Get an Animal Behavior Diploma

Programs leading to a master’s or doctoral degree require advanced courses in animal behavior, as well as research projects in the form of a thesis and dissertation. Courses at the graduate level may include evolution, genetics, neurobiology and physiology (in a behavioral context), nature conservation, and advanced behavioral seminars. Another graduate degree that may lead to a career in animal behavior is the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine or D. V. M. Some graduates choose to practice their knowledge of animal behavior in a clinical environment, while others conduct research in a similar fashion as those with a Ph. D.

Success tip:

  • Earn points as an assistant teacher. While the programs do not require teaching experience to complete your studies, they can highly recommend earning credits this way. Possible options are giving lectures or assisting in field courses or workshops. Experience w nauczaniu to sposób, w jaki uczniowie zdobywają umiejętności przydatne w przyszłej karierze jako nauczyciele szkół policealnych.

Step 3: Find a job

Those with a bachelor’s degree in Animal Behavior can find work in zoos as wardens, assistant director, or zoo directors. Humanitarian societies employ animal behavior technicians and companion animal specialists and seek individuals with at least the equivalent of two years of training in this field.

Research is also a common career choice for an animal behaviorist with a science degree. Scientists are employed at universities, state and federal agencies, and private institutions. Research topics at some universities include links to animal behavior and conservation biology, the evolution of anti-predator behavior, and the socioecology of primates. Teaching is usually a requirement of those conducting research within an academic institution. Questa posizione è solitamente per i titolari di Ph. D. or D. V. M degrees.

Step 4: Consider Veterinary Board and Specialty Laws

Obtaining a board of trustees certification is an option for veterinary behaviorists and is approved by the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists. The process includes internships, residencies at cooperating universities, publishing original field research, writing case reports, and passing an exam. Certified individuals are listed by the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists and are sought after by pet owners looking to address behavioral issues with their companion pets. Another option is to obtain a Postgraduate Certificate as a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist. This designation is offered by the Animal Behavior Society to individuals from a variety of professional disciplines.

There are several paths a person can take to become an animal behaviorist. The path a person takes has a great impact on the job he or she can apply for.

If someone has a specific type of animal behavioral job they want to get, it’s best to determine what the exact requirements are to get that job; this will help you determine the exact type of training you will need.

Go to college to get a degree

How to become an animal behaviorist

How to become an animal behaviorist?

No matter the job position that a person wants to fulfill as an animal behaviorist, it is likely that he or she will have to obtain at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. The exact degree can vary; however, most people who start this job earn degrees that focus on animal behavior, zoology, and / or biology.

It should be noted that the professional responsibilities of animal behaviorists vary and depend on the training the individual receives. Some animal behaviorists help pet owners who have misbehaving pets.

Others work for zoos, while others go out into the wild and study animals in their natural habitat so they can gain a deeper understanding of why people behave this way. Depending on the job a person wants to have, you will need to specialize in different lines of training, such as psychology or animal science.

Obtain a master’s or PhD

With a bachelor’s degree, it is likely that individuals will be able to obtain some type of entry-level job as an animal behaviorist. These works are often found in zoological parks. Some people may also secure a job through a private organization that will provide on-the-job training. In most instances, if a person wants to pursue a lifelong career as an animal behaviorist, it is best to extend one’s education beyond getting just a bachelor’s degree. Masters and PhDs are available in fields related to animal behavior.

Earn a PhD or become a DVM

A great way to earn a PhD as an animal behaviorist is to complete a veterinary school program. In this way a person can obtain the title of DVM, which stands for Doctor of Veterinary Medicine; this type of diploma allows graduates to practice medicine in parallel with the study of animal behavior. On a master’s level, PhDs are also available for students to earn; this type of advanced education allows students to take part in animal behavior research, broaden their skills and collaborate with leading professionals. All of this will help a person become more employable as an animal behaviorist.

Obtain a professional certificate

Finally, after earning a bachelor’s degree, those looking to become animal behaviorists will find it highly beneficial to obtain a professional certification. Professional certification is not a requirement for performing the duties of an animal behaviorist; however, such certification can open many employment doors.

There are many different organizations and associations that offer certifications to people who wish to become members, so it is best for animal behaviorists to look for the associations they think they are best suited to. To be admitted as a member of associations, applicants must demonstrate a high level of educational competence. Many associations will want to view applicants’ resumes as well as ask them to pass administered tests.

How to become an animal behavioristAnimal behaviorists or animal behavior specialists are people who observe animals and wonder why they behave that way.

Animal behavior specialists can have different levels of education.

They can specialize by focusing on specific animals. For example, they can become a canine specialist.

Or, they can focus on more animals by becoming a veterinary behaviorist.

In order to become an animal behavior specialist, many people get a bachelor’s degree. Some even earn a master’s degree and consider certification to be voluntary. They must also continue their education throughout their career.

However, there are many professions that an animal behaviorist can pursue. And not all of them require a degree or a lot of experience.

Taking a course such as the Distance Learning Course for Canine Specialists at the Stratford Career Institute can help you jumpstart your career as a dog specialist.

So how does one become an animal behaviorist?

Choose a career path

Animal behavior specialists can find many jobs at different levels, working in a zoo, aquarium, veterinary clinic, or private institution.

A good way to find out which career is best for you is to volunteer and do internships with organizations such as veterinary clinics and animal shelters. This will help you decide whether you want to work as a canine specialist or go to school to get a veterinary degree.

three-year degree

If you decide your career goals require a college degree, you have many options such as zoology, psychology, animal science, or biology.

Consider a graduate program

After completing your bachelor’s degree, getting a further graduate degree can open up more career paths. This can be a master’s degree, a Ph. D. o laurea in Medicina Veterinaria. All of these programs and degrees have different educational requirements and take different timeframes, so you should consider which program is best for you and your career goals.


While getting certified is voluntary and up to you, having one can help ensure that people are qualified to work with their pets.

The Animal Behavior Society certifies that the animal behaviorist meets the ethics, education and experience required by society. There are two levels of certification with different experience and education requirements. More information about certifications can be found on the Society for Animal Behavior’s website.

Veterinarians may also be certified by the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists.

Keep learning

It is important that the Animal Behavior Specialist never stops learning, regardless of your degree. This can be done by attending special events and conferences, as well as following new research in your field.

How to become an animal behaviorist

How to become an animal behavioristAn animal behaviorist is a professional who studies animal behavior, including the causes, influencing factors, and purpose of the behavior. Some animal behaviorists also promote changes in animal behavior through behavioral training and analysis. Animal behaviorists can work in colleges and universities researching behavior, in zoos and companies that design and manufacture pet products, and in private studios. Becoming an animal behaviorist can be a difficult but rewarding decision. The process of becoming an animal behavior specialist is outlined below.

Kaplan University offers MSPY – Applied Behavior Analysis. Click here to contact Kaplan University and inquire about their programs.

Kaplan University offers a Bachelor of Psychology in Applied Behavior Analysis. Click here to contact Kaplan University and inquire about their programs.

Educational requirements

According to the Animal Behavior Society, most industry professionals have backgrounds in ethology, behavioral ecology, anthropology, or comparative psychology. The first two specializations are typically related to the biological, zoological, ecological and evolutionary aspects of behavior, while the last two specializations often focus on the psychological and sociological aspects of behavior.

The type of degree required is dependent on the individual’s career aspirations. Some career choices, such as being an animal trainer for pets, can require only a bachelor’s degree in psychology or animal sciences. This can usually be achieved within four years. Careers in academia, research or the zoological field typically require a minimum of a master’s degree, with many requiring a Ph. D. o un dottore in medicina veterinaria. This can take four to eight years or more and require the student to successfully complete supervised placements or clinical rotations, as well as an independent research project.

Law Requirements

According to the Animal Behavior Society, anyone who works with animals or consults the public or specialists on animal behavior problems should be properly certified. There are two levels of certification: Associate Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (ACAAB) and Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB). In order to earn an ACAAB certification, one must have a master’s degree in a biological or behavioral science from an accredited college or university. Complete a minimum of 30 semester credits in behavioral science, including ethnology, animal behavior, animal learning, and psychology. Applicants must also have at least two years of professional experience in applied animal behavior and have significant controlled and independent practice in this field.

To become a CAAB, an applicant must have a PhD in Biological or Behavioral Sciences and have five years of professional experience or a PhD in Veterinary Medicine, two years of supervised residency, and three years of professional experience. Additionally, the applicant was required to make or contribute to a speech or poster presentation at the ABS Annual Assembly. This certificate is primarily intended for individuals who wish to pursue an advanced career as a researcher or expert in the field of behaviorism.

Individuals wishing to work in the field of animal behaviorism should expect to earn at least a bachelor’s degree, with many positions requiring a doctorate or veterinary medical degree. Additionally, a state certificate or license may be required, depending on your career field. Once these requirements are met, people can begin a rewarding and unique career path as an animal behaviorist.

How to become an animal behaviorist

Sergey Ryumin / Getty Images

Like other fields of science and psychology, the study of animal behavior is constantly evolving. Professionals in this field have to work hard to keep up with the time and develop their knowledge and practices. There are several certificate options available that can enhance a candidate’s professional credentials. Some of the more popular certification programs include:

American College of Veterinary Behaviorists

The American College of Veterinary Behaviorists (ACVB) is a professional organization of veterinarians who are board certified in veterinary behavior. ACVB degrees must be licensed veterinarians and complete a minimum of three additional years of training under a recognized residency program. They must also submit case reports, publish the results of a research project, and pass a comprehensive two-day exam.

Animal Behavior Institute

The Animal Behavior Institute (ABI) offers nine certificate programs and three specialized certificates available online. The total cost for each certification program is $ 5,925 plus additional book fees. Many organizations recognize the ABI certification of credit hours for continuing education.

The certification programs offered by the ABI include animal-assisted therapy, animal training and enrichment, study in zoos and aquariums, wildlife rehabilitation and laboratory animal behavior. Each certification program consists of five courses and can be completed in less than a year. Applicants must also complete 40 hours of hands-on field work through employment or volunteering.

Specialized certifications are available for those who wish to focus on one species (dog, horse or cat training and behavior). The specialized certification program consists of three courses and can be completed in six to nine months. Applicants must also complete 40 hours of field work for these programs. Certificates cost $ 3,555 each, not including textbooks.

Society for Animal Behavior

The Society for Animal Behavior offers two levels of professional certification: associate certified applied animal behaviorist (ACAAB) and certified applied animal behaviorist (CAAB). ACAAB certification requires a master’s degree (including various courses and research on animal behavior), a minimum of two years of experience, and a presentation at the ABS annual meeting. CAAB certification requires a PhD, at least five years of experience, and a presentation at the ABS Annual Meeting. Law costs $50 per year (plus a $100 application fee) and is valid for five years.

Association of Animal Behavior Specialists

The Association of Animal Behavior Specialists (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). Law may be achieved either through formal education or passing the AABP proficiency exam. Candidates must be able to demonstrate their experience through the various options available.

Pet Science Institute

The Pet Science Institute (CASI) offers web-based certification in animal behavior, canine behavior, equine behavior, feline behavior, and parrot behavior. The Diploma of Animal Behavior covers any combination of dogs, cats and parrots or, at the candidate’s choice, or there is the possibility to specialize in a single species course.

The Animal Behavior Science and Technology program requires 600 hours of instruction and takes approximately 12 months to complete. Tuition ranges from $ 2,800 to $ 3,200 Canadian dollars, depending on the number of pets you choose. Quality diplomas take 500 hours of instruction and take approximately 12 months to complete. The registration fee is CAD 2600 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 Law 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. Law may focus on work with dogs, cats, horses, or parrots. Annual contributions are $ 95 for Affiliate Certified Members and $ 120 for Certified Members. Both options require a minimum of 36 hours of continuing education every three years to maintain certification.

Membership in a certified associate requires the candidate to have a minimum of 300 hours of experience in animal behavior counseling, two written case studies, and three letters of recommendation.

Certified membership requires a candidate to have a minimum of 3 years (and 500 hours) of experience in animal behavior counseling, three written case studies, four written case scenarios, and three letters of recommendation.

Find the best animal behaviorist jobs

Where do you want to work?

Work as an animal behaviorist

There is more to it than meets the eye when it comes to being an animal behaviorist. For example, did you know that they earn an average of $ 18.34 per hour? That’s $ 38,138 per year!

Career is expected to grow 7% between 2018 and 2028 and create 2,300 jobs in the United States

What does an animal behaviorist do?

There are some skills that many animal behaviorists possess to fulfill their responsibilities. By flipping through the resume, we were able to narrow down the most common skills of a person in this position. We found that many resumes contained observation, communication, and customer service skills.

Regarding the most important skills required to be an animal behaviorist, we found that many of the resumes listed by 100.0% of animal behaviorists included customer service, while 0.0% of resumes were missing and 0.0% of resumes were missing. curricula. Difficult skills such as these are useful in carrying out basic professional duties.

How to become an animal behaviorist

If you want to become an animal behaviorist, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We found that 38.9% of animal behaviorists have a college degree. When it comes to higher education levels, we found that 22.2% of animal behaviorists have a master’s degree. Although most animal behaviorists have a college degree, you can only get a high school diploma or GED.

Choosing the right direction is always an important step when researching how to become an animal behaviorist. When we researched the most popular fields of study for animal behaviorists, we found that they most often get a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Other educational qualifications that we often see on animal behaviorist resumes include academic or doctoral degrees.

You may find that experience in other professions will help you become an animal behaviorist. In fact, many of the animal behaviorist positions require experience as a salesperson. Meanwhile, many animal behaviorists also have previous work experience in positions such as technical chief or cashier.

Which job fits my career path?

Give us your goals and we will select the appropriate job offers to achieve them.

How to become an animal behaviorist

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Animal behavior therapists study the behavior of domestic and wild animals. They work to solve behavioral problems or help animals adapt to a new environment. Many of them work as independent consultants helping people train pets. Others work for educational, conservation, or government organizations and teach or conduct research.


A wide variety of animal or veterinary programs are available to prepare you for a career as an animal behavioral therapist. Whatever degree program you are applying for, make sure it is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association. Some animal behavior therapists begin to become registered veterinary technicians, which requires a two-year associate degree program similar to a Bachelor of Human Medicine Nursing degree. Registered veterinary technicians can conduct training courses for clients at the veterinary hospital where they work. Others earn degrees in zoology, wildlife biology, or veterinary science, which qualify them for work in zoos, conservation groups, universities, and research facilities. Many of them are also certified. You’ll need a doctorate for most teaching and research positions.

Patience and compassion

As an animal behavior therapist, you’ll likely work with animals who are scared or confused, and who might act out aggressively. You’ll need to recognize these behaviors as defense mechanisms and respond to them in a way that puts the animal at ease. During pet training, you may encounter previously used animals that fear humans or dominant animals that are reluctant to give up control to their human companions. When working in zoos, shelters, or research centers, you may be working with previously wild animals without being sure how to handle captivity. Training these animals and teaching them to trust humans can be a slow and complicated process.

The ability to communicate

Though you’ll spend a good deal of your time interacting with animals, you need excellent people and communication skills as well. If you work with pet owners, you need to be proficient in teaching them how to relate to their pets. If you work in a zoo, aquarium or animal shelter, you can also organize trips, conduct activities or presentations to the public. If you work for a university or research facility, you’ll likely be required to develop teaching plans, instruct students and write reports and academic papers describing your findings.

Physical fitness

Working with animals is often just as demanding both physically and mentally and emotionally. You’ll spend much of your time standing, walking or running, and may have to pick up large animals or lift heavy pet carriers or cages. The pet may need to be physically restrained or monitored during training. For example, trying to walk a 100-pound Great Dane on a leash can create physical tension if the dog is unwilling to cooperate. You’ll also need quick reflexes to respond to unpredictable behavior, whether you’re training someone’s prize show poodle or working with wild elephants at a wildlife refuge.

The Law Council of Professional Dog Trainers

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Why is it worth getting certified?

  • Personal satisfaction. With the CCPDT certification, you know you’ve proven yourself and met the rigorous standards of knowledge and skill in science-based dog training.
  • Continue your training. Maintaining the CCPDT certification is a motivation for lifelong learning and shows that you are up to date with the learning and techniques of the profession.
  • Marketing advantage. Independent certification is of great importance to customers and prospects, if they are aware of it. For help educating your audience, see Marketing Your Law.
  • Professionalizing the field. Law represents an individual step toward a future when only qualified professionals are allowed to call themselves dog trainers.

“I challenge all my students to get the CCPDT certification. It is the only professional certification body that requires all certified members to pass a Knowledge Assessment, which is a validated tool, as well as having demonstrated experience in the field as a trainer or behavioral consultant. The CCPDT also requires that its certified members keep abreast of skills and information through the requirement of a continuing education unit. Law by a reputable organization tells clients or employers that you have put in the time and effort to excel at your profession.”

Cheryl Aguiar, PhD, owner and founder of E-Training for Dogs


Certified behavioral consultant who assesses knowledge about dogs(CBCC-KA®) is our advanced certification for dog trainers offering canine behavior modifications.

To be eligible for the exam, a number of requirements must be met. For instance:

√ A minimum of 300 hours of experience in dog behavior counseling (fear, phobias, compulsive behavior, anxiety and aggression) in the past 3 years.

√ Provide a statement of attestation signed by a CCPDT certified person or veterinarian.

The CBCC-KA exam consists of 180 multiple choice questions. The exam is given at computer-based testing facilities throughout the U. S. and Canada. Learn more about the exam.

Would you like to know more?

  • Download the CBCC-KA Candidate Handbook
  • Click here to download the CBCC-KA application
  • Download Objectives of the CBCC-KA study
  • Download the CBCC-KA Behavior Log
  • Download a sample CBCC-KA behavior log
  • Download the declaration of attestation
  • Download the Rules of Conduct and the Code of Ethics
  • Get Less Invasive Minimally Aversive Effective Behavior Intervention (LIMA).

Practice Test

Are you out of practice in passing multiple choice exams? Then we have a solution for you! We offer an online practice test for anyone considering taking the CBCC-KA certification exam.

The 50 question practice test will give you a taste of the CBCC-KA exam. It’s a chance to take a computerized exam; experience the content; and learn more about the exam question format, style and difficulty level. You have 2 hours to complete 50 questions and you will be assessed by test area.

An immediate results report after the practice test is submitted shows the test performance in each of the content areas. The score report does not contain correct answers, nor does it indicate which questions were answered correctly or incorrectly. After getting the result of the practice test, you cannot go back to the test to review the questions.

ATTENTION: Passing the practical test is not required to take the certification exam, nor does it guarantee that you will pass the exam. Practice Test został opracowany przez ekspertów w danej dziedzinie w danym zawodzie i jest dostarczany wyłącznie do celów poglądowych. Completion of the practice test does not substantiate a candidate’s readiness to sit for or successfully pass the exam.

The fee to take the practice exam is $ 99.

To register and take the exam, visit Professional Testing Corporation.