Animal Cops, also known as Animal Control Officers, take on different duties related to animal welfare and the enforcement of city/state animal protection laws. They provide help to stray animals, investigate cases of animal abuse/maltreatment, and sometimes deal with uninvited creatures in people’s houses.

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In 2021, there were close to 110 animal control workers performing their duties in the Keystone State. Given the rosy employment outlook by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, this number will surely increase in the coming years. If you are interested, read this piece to find out how to become an Animal Cop in Pennsylvania.

Should I Become an Animal Cop in Pennsylvania?

  • Education
  • Area of Study
  • Licenses/Certifications
  • Experience/Training
  • Key Skills
  • Annual Mean Salary (2021)-National
  • Job Outlook(2020-2030)
  • Annual Mean Salary (2021)-Pennsylvania
  • High School Diploma or GED (General Educational Development) Certificate
    *Specialized post-secondary education (Certificate/Diploma or Associate/Bachelor’s Degree) is not mandatory but can be useful.
  • Animal Care, Law Enforcement
  • Required in Many States
  • Required
  • Active Listening, Service Orientation, Creative and Critical Thinking, Inductive and Deductive Reasoning, Problem Sensitivity
  • $43,780 (Animal Control Workers)
  • 7% (Animal Care and Service Workers)
  • $49,710 (Animal Control Workers)

Sources: O*NET OnLine and US Bureau of Labor Statistics

As an animal cop, you have to perform duties in the field and maintain paperwork (case reports, investigations, etc.) in the office. There are also some physical and health risks involved when dealing with sick, stray and injured animals. They may scratch, bite or kick. So, you must take the necessary precautions in this regard.

Career Outlook

According to O*Net OnLine, jobs for Animal Control Workers will increase by 7% from 2020 to 2030 in Pennsylvania. This is faster than the rise expected in most other professions. It will be driven by the growing demand for animal care services for pets at home as well as those in animal shops, zoos, grooming shops and kennels, etc.

Steps to Become an Animal Cop in Pennsylvania

Following are the steps to become an Animal Cop in Pennsylvania.

Get the Needed Education

To become an animal cop, the only binding educational requirement is a High School Diploma. The equivalent GED (General Educational Development) Certificate is acceptable too. However, earning a specialized degree or certificate in the field can help you in your career.
In this regard, you can opt for short-term (6 months to 1 year) certificate or diploma programs in animal care. You may also go for an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree in animal science or a related subject. The Associate’s degree is 2 years long while the Bachelor’s degree takes 4 years to finish.

Complete Training

Animal cops in Pennsylvania have to undergo about 36 hours of training in criminal procedures and animal abuse investigations. In addition, they need to do 24 hours in animal husbandry and agricultural practices. Once both portions of training are completed, you must pass the exam to become a qualified animal cop.
*Some animal cops may also carry a gun. For that, you will need additional training in weapons handling.

Earn a Certification

The National Animal Control Association (NACA) is the primary certification provider for animal cops. However, since Pennsylvania has its own training requirements, becoming NACA-certified is not mandatory. But, you can certainly pursue it to enhance your skills and employability.

Find Employment

With training completed, you are now ready to find employment as an animal cop.

How Long Does It Take to Become an Animal Cop in Pennsylvania?

If you decide to become an animal cop right after high school, then you just need to undergo training (a few weeks or months). On the other hand, pursuing some form of post-secondary education in animal care and sciences (Certificate/Diploma or Associate’s/Bachelor’s degree) means that you will need as little as 1 year and as much as 4 years.

What Are the Requirements for Becoming an Animal Cop in Pennsylvania?

Following are the requirements for becoming an Animal Cop in Pennsylvania.

  • Obtain a High School Diploma or a GED Certificate.
  • Complete animal cop training (36 hours in animal abuse investigations/criminal procedures and 24 hours in agricultural methods/animal husbandry).

How Much Can I Make After Becoming an Animal Cop in Pennsylvania?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Animal Control Workers in Pennsylvania had an annual mean wage of $49,710 in 2021.


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