Credentials

Animal Training Fundamentals Credentialing Program for Teams

The Animal Training Fundamentals Credentialing Program for Teams is a structured learning initiative. It includes coursework on scientific knowledge and practical application, as well as program development and problem-solving to facilitate proficiency and skills in animal training especially for those working with animals in managed care. The Levels of Credentials include pre-selected coursework that has been identified as relevant to common positions in the industry including interns, volunteers, seasonal keeper, assistant keeper, full-time keeper, senior keeper, animal training coordinator, support positions (veterinary professionals, supervisor, curator, etc.)  This comprehensive program offers a stimulating, rigorous, and engaging curriculum designed to foster significant professional growth. Learners can have full confidence in the unparalleled quality and depth of the program’s curriculum and content.

What Members Say About Our Courses:

  • "I just can’t get enough! All the incredible examples of working through problem behaviors and ways to address different environmental issues to make training individualized and functional. Incredible. It has helped so much to understand all of the terminology and context at zoo school when our teacher is discussing training protocols, whereas before it felt like another language. I am very excited to keep going. Thank you so much for all the incredible information."
  • "I absolutely love this. I have tried it with our lions, and it is working! Thanks so much.”
  • "I love the video assessments in this course! Great practical application examples too.”
  • "I love all the useful details!”
  • “Showing videos and examples of practical applications and analyzing them is the best way for me to learn. Thank you!
  • This course definitely had my creative juices flowing and helped me think outside the box!”
  • “I had never heard of nonlinear contingency analysis. Super interesting!!!”
  • This course was great! I also work with American Black Bears, and between their sense of smell and adept tongues, they seem able to find pills in anything. I’m really looking forward to utilizing this shaping plan to train pill swallowing for them once they come out of torpor this spring.”

Follow the Pre-Selected Road Maps for Levels of Credentials


Beyond the Badge

Team members can study additional content beyond the material listed in the road maps to demonstrate continued professional development. Click the button to download a document to track additional content studied. This can be shared with supervisors/managers to prove completion of courses and content not listed as a requirement for the Team Badges. Learn more about why we prefer Open Badges over certificates HERE. 


The Learner Levels

Click on the arrows to learn more about each learner level and recommended corresponding positions.

Level 1: Introductory Content intended for Novice Trainers

A novice trainer is defined as being at a stage in the learning process in which following explicit rules is required to perform tasks. They are not yet fluent in making nuanced judgments or adapting to unique situations. They rely heavily on guidelines and step-by-step instructions, as they're still building a foundational understanding of the subject or skill.

This content designated for this level is appropriate for all levels and is specifically recommended for positions such as the following:

  • Volunteer
  • Intern

Level 2: Course Content intended for Advanced Beginning Trainers

An advanced beginning trainer is defined as a learner who has moved beyond the novice stage but is still working towards understanding of the broader context. Advanced beginners are starting to recognize recurring patterns and situations, allowing the process of making more independent decisions. At this stage the decision-making process remains rule-based and the learner is working towards building full comprehension of the underlying principles. Prior experiences tend to guide actions. Complex or unfamiliar scenarios can be challenging.

This content designated for this level is appropriate for levels 2-5 and is specifically recommended for positions such as the following:

  • Assistant Zookeeper or Animal Care Staff Member
  • Associate Zookeeper or Animal Care Staff Member
  • Seasonal Zookeeper or Animal Care Staff Member
  • Temporary Zookeeper or Animal Care Staff Member
  • Part Time Zookeeper or Animal Care Staff Member

Level 3: Course Content intended for Competent Trainers

A competent trainer is defined as having a deeper understanding of the tasks and situations encountered. Prior experiences are drawn upon to assess situations, make judgments, and adapt actions to specific contexts. Guidelines and rules are relied upon to some extent, greater flexibility and judgment is used in the decision-making process. Competent trainers are more proficient and efficient.  Highly complex or unpredictable scenarios may prove challenging.

This content designated for this level is appropriate for levels 3-5 and is specifically recommended for positions such as the following:

  • Full Time Zookeeper or Animal Care Staff Member

Level 4: Course Content intended for Proficient Trainers

A proficient trainer is defined as having a deep understanding of the underlying principles and can effectively navigate a wide range of situations. Rules or guidelines are no longer relied upon; instead, rapid and accurate judgments, often based on years of experience, can be made under many different contexts. Proficient trainers are capable of effectively adapting approaches, even in complex or unpredictable scenarios.

This content designated for this level is appropriate for levels 4-5 and is specifically recommended for positions such as the following:

  • Senior Zookeeper or Animal Care Staff Member

Level 5: Course Content intended for Advanced Proficient Trainers

Advanced proficient trainer is defined as having an intuitive and deep understanding of the field, this allows for complex decisions that are made quickly and effectively. Explicit rules or guidelines are not required; instead, decisions are informed by a vast wealth of experience and a profound grasp of underlying principles. Advanced Proficient Trainers can effortlessly handle even the most intricate and uncertain situations, often finding innovative solutions. Such expertise enables this level of learner to adapt, anticipate, and even reshape the field itself. This level of learner also contributes significantly to the advancement of the industry.

The content designated for this level is specifically recommended for positions such as the following:

  • Subject Matter Coordinator, Officer,  or Manager (Animal Welfare, Training, Enrichment, etc.)

Level Support: Course Content intended for those who provide Support

A supporting stakeholder is defined as individual who may not regularly be directly involved in training animals, but it has been demonstrated there is value to the organization if the stakeholder participates in professional development regarding knowledge and/or practical application about training.

The content designated for this level is specifically recommended for positions such as the following:

  • Section Assistant Curator, Manager, or Supervisor
  • Veterinary Technician
  • Veterinarian
  • Section Curator, Manager, or Supervisor
  • General Curator or Manager
  • Subject Matter Coordinator, Officer, or Manager (not related to training)

GET THE BENEFITS OF THE CREDENTIALING PROGRAM INSTANTLY. JOIN NOW!

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