How to Become a Pet Psychologist
How to Become a Pet Psychologist. Has Fido been down since you moved his water bowl? Is Fluffy in a snit over the new kitten? While many humans would snicker over the idea, some pets occasionally need a shrink. People are making a living figuring out what's going on behind the fur. If you'd like to become a pet psychologist, you'll need a love of animals and interest in pet and human behavior - and misbehavior.
Understand that while most anyone can call themselves a pet trainer or consultant, those are not titles that come with credentials. If you want to be able to be certified and work as a real professional, not be just the person down the street who's good with animals, you will need to follow a traditional education route to becoming a pet psychologist.
Acquire the education. You'll eventually need a master's or Ph.D. degree in a behavioral science from an accredited college or university to become certified as a pet psychologist. Take it in steps.
Choose your educational direction based on your financial resources and the amount of time you have to commit to classes, studying and working on special projects. Check into student loans or grants and talk to family and friends about your goal and how they could support your efforts.
Start with an associate's degree at first or enroll in a veterinarian technician certification program at your local community college, if funds or time are at a premium. You can always take more courses later and work up to a four-year degree.
Go for a bachelor's degree in psychology or biology, once you can finance four years. If you have a bachelor's degree, you can work as a paid assistant to a certified, working animal behaviorist and put off the graduate education until you can afford it.
Consult with your professors about adding special courses in animal behavior and learning to your basic programs of study, whether it be at the two-year, four-year or master's level.
Visit the Animal Behavior Society's website to learn how to become a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB.) In addition to the education, you'll need to be licensed to work with animals. The CAAB is the highest certification you can acquire as evidenced by the fact there are fewer than 50 people with the designation in the United States.
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