Animal Cop: Education and Job Training Requirements for Becoming an Animal Cop

Published Aug 14, 2009

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Aspiring Animal Cops are required to complete a state-sanctioned training program, which leads to certification as an animal control officer. Read on to learn more about education and job training requirements for becoming an Animal Cop.

Animal Cop Career Summary

Animal Cops, also known as animal control officers, humane officers or animal cruelty investigators, investigate and protect animals that are being mistreated or are in dangerous situations. This includes responding to reports of animal cruelty, documenting animal abuse, testifying in legal proceedings and euthanizing animals that are unable to recover from injuries. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,, estimated that as of May 2008, there were 15,480 Animal Cops, making an average salary of nearly $32,000 per year.

Education Required to Become an Animal Cop

Aspiring animal control officers should have a minimum of a high school diploma. Animal Cops don't typically need a college degree, but most states require completion of a sanctioned humane law enforcement program. Some independent organizations and universities also offer Animal Cop training.

For example, the National Animal Control Association,, offers training at locations throughout the country. Also, the University of Missouri has founded the National Cruelty Investigation Schools, which offer week-long classes nationwide; completion of three tiers of classes results in certification by the school. Animal Cop training of any form includes education in animal law, environmental assessment, stress management and animal control case study.

Job Training and Certifications Required to Become an Animal Cop

Completion of a state's humane law enforcement training program results in certification. From there, it's up to an Animal Cop to stay on top of animal cruelty laws. While there is room for some creativity and independent thought, animal control officers must work in conjunction with state laws.

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