Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists

Frequently Asked Questions

CAAB certification is recognized by other professionals, including veterinarians, as a unique qualification in the animal behavior field.

Why would I want to become certified as a CAAB rather than by one of the other new certification organizations?

The Animal Behavior Society (ABS) maintains the highest standards for the certification of applied animal behaviorists. If you aspire to be a professional in the field of animal behavior, you should consider fulfilling the certification requirements of the ABS.

As in any field, the highest degree of competency will result in the fewest qualified individuals. Currently, there are fewer than 50 CAABs certified in the United States.

What is ABS certification and how do I get certified?

The ABS grants certification to those who have met all the academic, experiential, and ethical requirements set forth by the Society. This includes a Master’s or Ph.D. degree in a behavioral science with specific courses in animal learning, and ethology (behavior). Earning a DVM or VMD, with advanced training in animal behavior, can also meet the criteria for certification by the ABS. Visit the Animal Behavior Society’s website to read more about the ABS certification program.

I have read so much information on the internet about on-line “animal behavior schools”; do you recommend these programs?

The ABS does not recognize any on-line programs that are training and/or certifying “behavior consultants”. Private companies and training organizations offer internal certification programs that, for the most part, are based on successful completion of their own training programs. These courses are not equivalent to the rigorous educational requirements of the scientific courses in graduate programs at accredited universities. None of the on-line programs have been accredited by independent agencies that accredit institutions of higher learning.

Are there organizations that are not affiliated with a training school that offer certification for dog trainers?

The Certification Council for Pet Dog Trainers (CCPDT) offers a certification program for dog trainers, not animal behaviorists.

Criteria for CCPDT certification include 5 years of training experience plus a passing score on a national psychometrically sound examination. This examination is administered by an independent testing agency.

Can’t I get the education I need with courses or seminars offered by animal behaviorists, dog trainers or veterinarians?

You can take these courses, and you should thoroughly investigate their content and the credentials of the instructors. However, these courses are not the same as accredited courses, and will not count toward ABS certification.

How can I find graduate programs and courses in Animal Behavior?

The best place to start is with your local university. Ask for a list of courses in zoology, biology or psychology. Look for courses in animal behavior and learning. Follow this link for a list of academic programs compiled by CoreCAAB members or visit the Animal Behavior Society’s website for a list of available graduate programs in animal behavior.

You’ll need to find a graduate advisor (faculty member) who is willing to work with students who have an interest in applied animal behavior and companion animals. You need to talk to faculty members directly.

How do I get experience for certification as an Applied Animal Behaviorist?

The best way is to apprentice with a certified applied animal behaviorist or veterinary behaviorist. Not all of these individuals offer apprenticeships. The ASPCA has a post-doctoral fellowship program in applied animal behavior posted on the Animal Behavior Society’s website. Please see our intern page for experiencial opportunities as they become available. You can also contact applied animal behaviorists from the certified list at the ABS website.

Couldn’t you train me to be an Applied Animal Behaviorist?

Yes, if your background meets, or is close to meeting, the criteria for certification by the ABS. If you have a strong academic background and want to gain experience in preparation for certification check our intern page for information.

Are there CAABs I can talk to one-on-one about a career in Applied Animal Behavior?

Yes, some CAABs offer individual career counseling services. Please contact the CAABs on our intern page to arrange a personal consult for advice and possible mentoring.