Why Recommend a Certified Applied
are two national certifications for applied animal behaviorists.
One is from the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists
(ACVB), currently with 37 Diplomates, and the other
is the Animal Behavior Society (ABS), currently with
42 Applied Animal Behaviorists. Qualifying credentials
I. WHAT IS ABS CERTIFICATION?
The Animal Behavior Society is the leading professional
organization in North America for the study of animal
behavior. The Society recognizes that animal-oriented
groups, agencies, businesses, and the general public
seek professional advice about animal behavior in
general or about behavioral problems of animals. Certification
is the means by which the ABS demonstrates to the
public that certain individuals meet the minimum standards
of Education, Experience, and Ethics required of a
professional applied animal behaviorist as set forth
by the Society. A professional applied animal
behaviorist demonstrates expertise in the principles,
research methods, and the application of animal behavior
principles to applied behavior problems and in the
dissemination of knowledge about animal behavior through
teaching and research. By consulting with a certified
professional applied animal behaviorist (whether ABS
or ACVB), the client can be assured of the qualifications
of the consultant.
II. WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR ABS CERTIFICATION?
- A doctoral degree (Ph.D.) from an accredited
college or university in a biological or behavioral
science with an emphasis on animal behavior, plus
five years of professional experience,
- Or a doctorate (DVM) from an accredited
college or university in veterinary medicine, plus
two years in a university-approved residency in
animal behavior and three additional years of professional
experience in applied animal behavior (Similar to
- Undergraduate and/or graduate coursework
must include 21 semester credits in behavioral
science courses including 6 semester credits in
ethology, animal behavior and/or comparative psychology
and 6 semester credits in animal learning, conditioning
and or animal psychology (e.g., experimental psychology).
- A thorough knowledge of the literature,
scientific principles, and principles of animal
behavior, and original contributions or interpretations
of animal behavior information through published
- Evidence of significant experience working
with a particular species (for example, as
a researcher, research assistant, or an intern working
with a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist) prior
to working independently with the species in a clinical
animal behavior setting.
- A minimum of two years of professional experience
in applied animal behavior, including the performance
of independent, published research.
- A minimum of three letters of recommendation
from regular ABS members affirming the applicant's
professional experience in the areas listed above.
- Maintaining liability insurance.
standards assure that your clients and patients receive
the best quality help for their animal behavior problems.
* Adapted from the ABS Board of Professional Certification,
August, 1990 (Revised Jan 2002; text updated Mar 2005)
For additional information, visit the ABS