ASPCA Officer: Qualifications & Schooling

Take a look at the qualifications and schooling needed to become an ASPCA officer. Read on to find out how to get a job in this field, along with what will be expected of you in the role. Schools offering Animal Care degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Information at a Glance

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, ASPCA, is the largest U.S. organization working to protect animals. Being an ASPCA officer requires not only a love for animals, but an ability to separate your emotions from your job. You will be the first port of call for any reports of animal cruelty or mistreatment. Read the table below to find out more about being an ASPCA officer.

Education High school diploma
Training Required On the job
Skills Required Compassion, patience, physical stamina
Job Growth (2016-2026) 22% (for all animal care and service workers)*
Median Salary (2017) $23,160 (for all animal care and service workers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What Is an ASPCA Officer?

ASPCA officers work to protect animals by preventing cruelty and ensuring their safety. Their main duties are to enforce laws against animal cruelty and educate pet owners on how to properly care for their animals. They will respond to calls made about animal cruelty and deal with stray animals when necessary. Ensuring that animals are not endangering humans, as well as vice versa, is also an important part of the role.

What Qualifications Do I Need?

ASPCA officers typically need a high school diploma to apply for this role. They are also expected to have some previous experience with animals, and a post-graduate qualification in this field may help their application but is not essential. Once you are in the role, continuing education programs may be a requirement; this will differ from state to state but may include areas such as weapon training.

What Training Will I Do?

Most states require on-the-job training for ASPCA officers, but the nature of this will vary depending on where you are located. This will usually be linked to areas of animal criminal procedures or animal husbandry. Some ASPCA officers are required to undergo an agility test, as the role can be physically demanding at times, which may include running and lifting weights. Most training programs end in an exam to demonstrate the knowledge and understanding you have of the job duties.

What Personal Skills Should I Have?

Treating animals with kindness and compassion is an essential part of this role, along with showing kindness and understanding to pet owners. You should have a high level of patience as you will frequently work with difficult animals who may not respond to commands. As the work can sometimes be physically demanding, having physical stamina is also seen as an essential skill for the role. You may be expected to lift heavy supplies, as well as crawl, kneel and bend to take care of animals.

What Are the Working Hours?

ASPCA officers should expect to work outside of usual business hours. Due to the nature of the job, you may be expected to work evenings and weekends as well as being on-call for emergency situations. You will usually work locally in your state, but may also be part of bigger operations when necessary; for example, closing a puppy mill, which may require new working locations and hours.

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