What Type of Schooling Do I Need to Become an Animal Cop?

An animal cop protects animals every day by monitoring pet shops, investigating allegations of abuse, and capturing sick or dangerous stray animals. You can find out more about this career and the schooling needed for it by reading on. Schools offering Animal Care degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

There are many different names for this occupation: animal cop, humane law enforcer, humane officer, and animal control officer. The exact duties for this occupation will depend on where you are employed. Most employers use animal cops to inspect and enforce laws related to animals and animal care. If you work in this capacity, you may find yourself speaking to the public about animal care, testifying in a trial for the prosecution of animal rights offenders, impounding animals from neglectful or dangerous owners, and subduing wild animals.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Average Salary (2018) $38,490 (all animal control officers)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 8% growth (all animal control officers)
Key Skills Critical thinking, problem solving, good judgment and decision-making, communication
Similar Occupations Animal Caretakers, Animal Trainers, Law Enforcement Officers

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


Along with a high school diploma or a GED equivalent, experience working with animals and/or law enforcement may be helpful. You can get experience working with animals by volunteering at local animal shelters or humane societies. If available, you might consider participating in an apprenticeship or similar program that allows you to observe the daily activities of a professional animal control officer.

Postsecondary courses will also help you prepare to become an animal cop. Useful coursework includes classes on animal behavior, criminal justice, and emergency medical care. You can find these classes at community colleges and universities.

Most often, you will need to complete a training program before or after you are hired. In some cases, completion of a certification program is necessary. The American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the National Animal Care and Control Association are two industry organizations that offer these certifications. These programs cover topics such as euthanasia administration, animal capture, animal first aid, and evidence collection and documentation.

Other Requirements

There are other requirements that you may have to meet to become an animal cop. First, you must be physically fit, because you'll be expected to track down and capture animals. This requires good stamina, strength, and hand-eye coordination. The ability to react quickly and appropriately in dangerous situations can save you, a bystander, or an animal from an injury.

While compassion for animals is important, you must be able to observe the law no matter what the situation. There may be times when you are unable to help an animal in need due to legal, procedural, or other issues, and you must act according to the laws.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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