Learning Opportunities in the Animal Services Profession

Published: January 08, 2021 | Read Time: 4 minutes

Best Friends: Morgan with the cats

Learning Opportunities in the Animal Services Profession Starting in January with Best Friends Animal Society and Southern Utah University

Best Friends Animal Society and Southern Utah University (SUU) recently hit their one-year mark as partners in providing contemporary animal services and leadership education opportunities for creating pathways in this evolving lifesaving profession. Two of these learning opportunities start in January and include entry points for those considering a career in animal services or those already working in the field.

“Our goal is to offer such a variety of pathways, that there is something for everyone. Whether an individual is already a part of the field or desires to enter it, no matter where they are on their journey, we would like to have an entry point for them to boost their skills and enhance their career,” said Aimee Charlton, Senior Manager of Learning Advancement at Best Friends Animal Society.

The Principles of Contemporary Animal Services (POCAS) online certificate program offers an introduction to modern-day animal services for anyone who wants to prepare for a career in the field or advance in the profession. This six-week program is designed for working professionals and features content curated with Best Friends Animal Society and leading practitioners and researchers in the field.

“This certificate is probably what I’m most proud of producing in our partnership with SUU thus far because it is accessible to anyone, and creates a doorway for students to learn more about lifesaving animal services. It’s a great way to introduce new professionals into this noble field,” said Tawny Hammond, National Director of Learning Advancement at Best Friends Animal Society.

Successful completion of the six-week POCAS certificate program results in university credits that can be articulated into an undergraduate or master’s degree at Southern Utah University. Participants may apply earned credits toward one of more than 40 SUU bachelor’s degrees or participating master’s degrees including Master of Interdisciplinary (MIS) Studies, Master of Public Administration, and Master of Business Administration.

For those interested in graduate work in animal services, SUU now offers an emphasis of study in Contemporary Animal Services Leadership within the MIS degree. This emphasis of the study is one of more than 18 MIS areas of study offered through the program; notably ranked third best Online MIS degree in the nation by Best College Reviews.

“One of my favorite parts about the MIS Contemporary Animal Services Leadership learning block is there is now a master’s degree option, on the national level, in animal services,” said Dr. Cynthia Kimball Davis, MIS program director. “Particularly since students can now choose to study from 9-18 credits to help prepare them for positions in animal services. This is a game-changer in this field.”

Forty years ago, over twenty million cats and dogs were being killed in animal shelters across our nation. Today that number is under one million and the field of animal services continues to evolve rapidly from one of enforcement and punishment to one of community wellness and a resource center. This partnership and the educational opportunities provided will help continue to bring legitimacy to the field and continue to help save animal lives.

For more information about offerings curated in partnership with Best Friends Animal Society (Executive Leadership Certificate, SUU Institutional Certificate in Principles of Contemporary Animal Services, or MIS learning block, and Best Friends Professional Development Symposium), visit suu.edu/prodev/best-friends, call SUU Community & Professional Development at (435) 865-8259, or email them at prodev@suu.edu.

Who we are:

Located in the world’s best backyard, Southern Utah University is the official “University of the Parks” thanks to its close proximity to several outdoor recreational areas and its educational partnerships with the National Park Service. SUU’s Community & Professional Development program offers opportunities for working adults to advance in their careers and pursue educational goals by providing access to a number of in-person and online training, certificates, conferences, and adult study abroad programs.

"Best Friends Animal Society is a leading national animal welfare organization dedicated to ending the killing of dogs and cats in America's shelters. Best Friends runs lifesaving programs across the country, in partnership with more than 3,100 animal welfare groups. In addition, it has operations in New York City, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Houston, Salt Lake City, and Northwest Arkansas, and operates the nation's largest no-kill animal sanctuary. Founded in 1984, Best Friends has helped reduce the number of animals killed in shelters nationwide from an estimated 17 million per year to around 625,000. Determined to bring the country to no-kill by the year 2025, Best Friends and its nationwide network of members and partners are working to Save Them All®. To check out the pet lifesaving dashboard and for more information, visit bestfriends.org."

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Tags: Community and Professional Development

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