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Applied Animal Behavior

The field of Applied Animal Behavior specializes in the behavior of companion animals, the behavior of farm, zoo and laboratory animals and studies of the behavior of wild animals when these studies are relevant from an applied perspective, as well as methodological studies.

Applied Animal Behavior Certification

Certified applied animal behaviorists come from a variety of different backgrounds and include veterinarians who have had additional training in applied animal behavior. In general however, they all have a broad background in animal behavior theory, as well as application. It is important to recognize that the educational background required is broad, and addresses a wide range of general behavior processes.

The general approach in education would be to earn a BA/BS in either biology or psychology and then a Ph.D. in Animal Behavior. There are many graduate programs in animal behavior in nearly every part of the country. These may be in Biology, Psychology, Ethology, Animal Sciences, Zoology or another department. The required courses will provide the broad basic background needed in animal behavior principles, including Learning Theory, Comparative Psychology, Ethology, Experimental Psychology and Physiology. The graduate program should also include a strong background in research methods and analysis. The most important element in choosing a graduate program will be to find a faculty member willing to support an applied approach, and flexibility in taking interdisciplinary courses.

The Animal Behavior Society website at Guide to Programs in Animal Behavior has a listing of animal behavior graduate programs that may prove useful in helping you to find a suitable program. This is NOT a listing of "approved" graduate programs for applied behavior certification, but is simply a list of programs of potential interest to students and recent graduates. Detailed information about certification is found at the link below this article.