Do you enjoy working with animals but want to work for law enforcement? Becoming an animal control officer can bring you the best of both worlds.
An animal control officer works to keep both people and animals within the community safe. While the exact day-to-day activities of these professionals may vary, animal control jobs can involve investigating reports of animal mistreatment, removing abused animals from homes, controlling dangerous and stray animals and helping wounded and ill-treated animals.
The requirements for animal control officer jobs may vary from one employer to the next, applicants generally need to have a high school diploma or equivalent, as well as some experience working with animals. Some employers require additional education and training, such as undergraduate degrees or certificates in animal sciences, veterinary sciences or law enforcement. Other requirements can include drug testing, physical and/or background checks, and a driver’s license.
While there is currently no standardized certification available for animal control officers, state and private organizations, such as the National Animal Control Association, grant certifications for completing specific programs that they offer.
Animal Control Programs
- Midlands Technical College, through its Corporate and Continuing Education arm, offers the Animal Control Certificate Part I and Part II. Each certificate program consists of 40 hours and prepares participants for delivering professional and human services that meet the high standards of quality that citizens expect. These programs do not have to be taken in sequence.
- Carroll Community College offers an Animal Control Officer training program endorsed by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the Maryland Police Correctional Training Commissions (MPCTC). Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and hold a high school diploma or GED. In addition, applicants must be already employed by an animal shelter, Humane Society or a department under the local police and present a letter of recommendation by the employer in order to be admitted into the program.
- St. Petersburg College’s Animal Control Officer Certification Course has been approved by the Florida Animal Control Association. The program’s objective is to develop the capability of producing a highly trained and positively motivated animal control officer who is capable of meeting and exceeding established standards of performance.
- Valencia College Continuing Education offers the Animal Control Officer Certification program, a 40-hour certification course designed to provide basic instruction to personnel who will be responsible for capturing, controlling, keeping and disposing of domestic and wild animals. Course topics include Introduction to Animal Control; Investigation; Report Writing and Records; Canine Identification and Behavior; Dog and Cat Capture and Restraint; Search and Seizure; First Aid; Human Relations and Interpersonal Communication; and, Restraint and Handling of Wild and Exotic Animals, to name a few. Applicants must be currently employed with an animal control agency in order to be certified through the Florida Animal Control Association.