Pet care certifications – Care. com
As an animal lover, you may want to pursue career caring for them. Perhaps you have already built clientele as a dog walker or pet sitter . Now it’s time to take your business to the next level. Dog care certification programs offer the opportunity to refine your skills and demonstrate proficiency in your field.
It’s easy enough to be a pet sitter, but not everyone can be a professional pet sitter.
So what does it take to become a professional in an animal care field? You must be committed to continuing your education and rely on solid business practices and ethical treatment of animals.
Why pet caregivers need to be certified
Professional certification will demonstrate your commitment to the field. It lets your clients know that you’re serious about your work and willing to invest time, money, and energy into educating yourself. You’ll be seen as a true professional who takes pride in their business, setting you apart from any old neighbour or the kid down the street.
Getting certified also means that you can charge more for your services.
Where to get certified
The following organizations offer certification programs relevant to the pet care industry:
- PIJAC Canada provides a pet care training certificate program in the form of an online course that can be taken at home. You can get certified for canine, feline, reptile, small mammal, avian, and/or freshwater fish care, and the topics of study include general information, legislation, sourcing and receiving animals, housing, nutrition, hygiene plus disease prevention, and care of baby animals. The cost is $150 for PIJAC Canada members and $200 for non-members. PIJAC Canada members who participate can also purchase licences for their staff members at $30 per licence.
- Pet Sitters International (PSI) offers a pet sitter accreditation program, which covers general pet care, animal health and nutrition, additional pet-related services, and important business strategies. This program is open only to PSI members. The Canadian membership fee is $135 USD per year. The cost of the course is $315 USD, but there’s a $75 USD discount if you register for the course at the same time that you pay your membership dues. Certification lasts for three years.
- The National Groomer Association of Canada (NGAC) offers a 35-hour in-person program to teach the proper methods of bathing and blow-drying pets. The total course fee including tax is $1, 096. This includes the Grooming Fundamental Training Manual published by the National Agency of Family pet Grooming Schools Inc. (NAPGS). At the moment, courses are offered in Toronto, Mississauga, and Scarborough, Ontario.
- The International Boarding and Pet Services Organization (IBPSA), an US-based organization open to users worldwide, offers two levels of certification in several specialties to its members. Currently, three specialties are available: canine, feline and small mammal, and exotic. Avian and reptile courses are coming soon. For each level, there’s a $99 USD cost, plus a $50 USD exam fee. Retesting is required every three years.
- The Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) offers two levels of qualification for trainers across North America. The Certification Examination with regard to Professional Dog Trainers—Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA) costs $400 UNITED STATES DOLLAR. After earning the CPDT-KA certification, candidates may take the particular Certification Examination for Expert Dog Trainers—Skills Assessed (CPDT-KSA) for $240 USD. Re-certification, based on earning continuing education credits, must be completed every three years.
Other details to keep in mind
Certifying organizations provide a variety of ways to display your certification to clients. After passing the exams, you may receive a certificate you can display at your place of business or a logo you can add to your advertising materials.
You should also mention it to your Care. com profile and when you apply for pet care jobs —it can give you an edge over other care providers.
Part of running a professional pet care business involves a commitment to following the laws of your community. In some provinces, you may be required to have both licensing and insurance in order to provide pet care services. Regulations vary depending where you live, so you might want to go to your city hall to find out the rules for the city and province and learn about how to get a business licence.
And hold onto any receipts because these certifications are tax deductible!
Becoming certified costs time and money, but the payoff is worth it. Pursuing certification in your area of specialty will build your confidence, impress potential clients, plus take your pet care solutions to the next level.