Is becoming a kennel technician right for me?
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How to become a Kennel Technician
To become a kennel technician, individuals typically follow a series of steps that involve education, gaining relevant experience, and often obtaining certifications. Here's a general guide on how to become a kennel technician:
- Education and High School Diploma: Obtain a high school diploma or equivalent. A strong foundation in biology or animal science courses may be beneficial.
- Gain Experience: Gain experience working with animals, either through volunteering at animal shelters, pet sitting, or participating in animal-related activities. This practical experience can be valuable when applying for kennel technician positions.
- Certifications (Optional): Although not always required, obtaining certifications related to animal care or veterinary assistance can enhance your credentials. For example, certifications in pet first aid or basic animal care can be beneficial (see below).
- Apply for Entry-Level Positions: Look for entry-level positions in kennels, animal shelters, or veterinary clinics. These positions may include kennel assistant or animal care attendant roles.
- On-the-Job Training: Once employed, undergo on-the-job training provided by the kennel facility or veterinary clinic. Learn about cleaning procedures, animal handling, and other aspects of kennel management.
- Seek Advancement Opportunities: As you gain experience, consider seeking advancement opportunities within the same facility or explore positions with increased responsibilities, such as lead kennel technician or supervisory roles.
- Consider Further Education (Optional): Depending on career goals, some kennel technicians may choose to pursue further education in veterinary technology, animal sciences, or a related field to open up additional career opportunities.
There are relevant certifications and training programs that can enhance the skills and knowledge of individuals working in animal care. Kennel technicians often benefit from certifications that focus on general animal care, safety, and welfare. Here are some certifications that can be valuable:
- Certified Kennel Operator (CKO): Offered by the Pet Care Services Association (PCSA), the CKO certification is designed for individuals involved in managing kennel facilities. While it may be more geared towards management, the knowledge gained can be beneficial for kennel technicians aspiring to advance in their careers.
- Pet First Aid Certification: Various organizations offer pet first aid courses and certifications, providing valuable skills in handling emergency situations and ensuring the well-being of animals in case of injuries or illnesses.
- Basic Animal Care Certification: Some organizations provide basic animal care certifications that cover essential topics such as proper handling, feeding, and cleaning procedures. These certifications demonstrate a commitment to high standards of care.
- Certified Professional Animal Care Provider (CPACP): Offered by the International Boarding and Pet Services Association (IBPSA), the CPACP certification is designed for professionals in pet care services, including kennel operators and technicians. It covers a range of topics related to pet safety, health, and facility management.
- Professional Animal Care Certification (PACC): Another certification offered by the IBPSA, the PACC focuses on comprehensive training in various aspects of professional pet care, which can be beneficial for kennel technicians looking to expand their knowledge.
- Canine Handler Certification: Some organizations offer certifications specifically for canine handlers, covering topics such as behavior, communication, and safe handling practices.