How to Obtain an Animal Control Officer Certification

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Animal control officers need a highly specialized skill set. According to the National Animal Control Association (NACA), "Animal control officers make four times the public contact of other law enforcement officers." They later go on to say "four times the contact equals four times the liability." Because of this liability, certified animal control officers have training in everything from animal care to public speaking to defensive driving.

Chose an educational path. Animal control officers need to be at least 21 years old to be hired. Although certification does not require a college degree, many animal control officers begin their careers by studying criminal justice, criminology or veterinary technology.

Get experience in the field. Before becoming certified, many future Animal Control officers begin working in fields closely related to Animal Control. Some become law enforcement officers. Others work in veterinary clinics, animal shelters or other animal care facilities. The more experience you have, the more likely you are to be hired once you become certified.

Attend the National Animal Control Association (NACA) level one training and certification. These classes require 5 days of study, 8 hours each, focusing on a broad range of animal care, investigation and communication skills. Level one teaches basic skills like report writing, identifying animals, first aid, interview techniques and courtroom procedures.

Attend the National Animal Control Association level two training and certification. Level two builds upon the skill set acquired in level one, including trainings in capturing and restraining large animals, defensive driving and crime scene documentation. Upon completion of levels one and two, you will have received your animal control officer training certificate and pin.

Attend an advanced training held by the NACA. These ready you for advanced practice in the field and can help you not only increase your skill set but be more competitive when it comes to applying for promotions and leadership positions. These trainings are geared toward management-level animal control officers, but can be attended by any certified officer who wants to further increase his skills.


Research agencies you might like to work for, and find out their minimum requirements for hire. Volunteer in at your local animal control office to gain firsthand experience from certified officers and animal welfare workers.


Make sure you are emotionally capable of handling issues like animal abuse, neglect and euthanasia.