Animal Certifications: Are they worth anything?

animal career certificate

Animal careers usually need some sort of animal certification. Not too long ago I wrote about how to determine if an online course was worth the investment of time or money.

Today I thought I would talk a little bit about animal certifications.

In a lot of situations, certifications are only worth the paper they are printed on.

However, if you are in a specific industry, recognized certifications mean that your education is more timely and more effective than an outdated diploma.

For instance, I consulted with someone recently who had a diploma in oceanography. The problem was that her degree was from the the 1970s and she has not done any work in that industry since.

The vast changes in technology and the amazing discoveries within that realm mean that she is not current in her field.

To keep up with change you can join professional organizations and find out what continuing education programs are offered and learn from colleagues or experts just where to go for them.

Personally, I am constantly enrolled in continuing education programs.

In fact, I just received a certificate from a recognized professional organization.

But truth be told, I have a lot of certifications because I value continuing education, although I might need them for something or other, it isn’t likely since I’ve been in my field so long.

But how much weight does a certificate hold?

Well, it  can be valuable if it is recognized but the truth is that a lot of them don’t always hold a lot of weight.

In order to leverage them, it is important to make sure that they are worth continuing education units at bonafide educational organizations or from professionally recognized programs or organizations.

Why do I keep doing training then? Because ongoing education and experience keeps me current, competitive, and on top of trends in my fields of interest. They also help me to stay on top of changes that I might miss otherwise.

If you are considering specific certifications, ask the hiring managers (of the facilities you are interested in working for) or practice managers (if it is a veterinary clinic) if they view those certifications as valid.

Don’t forget to ask those people who are in your field of employment too–because not every HR department is familiar with what other professionals recognize.

Taking some time to invest in ongoing education is always going to give you an edge but make sure it is the right one!

So, I am wondering if you are a person dreaming of an animal career, what training you are considering?

For instance, one of my subscribers just asked me about two programs. Although one of the two he mentioned provides hands-on training, it is limited. I happen to know that the program carries no academic weight, costs a mint, and probably won’t help in his quest.

However, I started my career with a similar model, so it can be of value, but you must have a plan to leverage it–or know what that value it has in your strategic career planning.

If you are a professional, I am wondering–what programs do you participate in for continuing education?

Feel free to leave your answers in the comments or over in my Facebook community.

Photo Credit: Pretty/Ugly Design

Careers with Dogs

Someone recently asked me about careers with dogs.

If you’ve ever invested time in reading my Unusual Animal Careers series you know that I break animal careers into two types, domestic animals or exotic animals.

The reason I don’t usually chat about species specific or breed specific topics is because it limits your options.

However, today more and more people are focusing in on dog jobs or careers with dogs and other specific roles in the pet industry.

There are a lot of options out there compared to twenty years ago when the profession with animals wasn’t really considered a “real” job.

I am working on a more comprehensive resource on dog careers but want to point out a few of the dog profession favorites.

Many of the jobs don’t required higher degrees while others might. For instance, many dog trainers do not have degrees but certifications and additional training is now an option but it certainly was not the norm when I entered into the field as an animal trainer.

The secret is that you need some animal sense and skills.

When people mention dog jobs, most think of roles such as a small animal veterinarian or veterinary technician, dog groomer or dog trainer.

However, in today’s pet service industry there are a variety of roles to consider such as:

  • Dog Walker
  • Critter Sitter
  • Dog Fitness Coach
  • Pet Poop Clean Up Specialist
  • Canine Show Handler
  • Doggie Day Care Service
  • Pet Trust Specialist (Attorney)
  • Pet Hospice
  • Canine Rescue
  • Humane Officer
  • Canine Behaviorist
  • Pet Photographer
  • Animal Artist
  • Dog Writer
  • Shelter Worker
  • Dog Kennel Owner
  • Pet Retail Supply
  • Dog Product Manufacturer

You probably could add a few but this is off the top of my head.

In today’s market there are a lot of options and some are more lucrative than others.

Some are more fun that others–but ultimately you want to pick something that you will find fulfilling and that will also help you make a good living.

So, you might know of a few other dog jobs I might not have mentioned. Please leave your ideas in the comments.

Photo Credit: Axel Buhrman