The lack of regulation and ease of entry to starting a pet care business is only making it harder to distinguish oneself as a pet care professional, but you will soon be able to prove it. Through independent certification and public education, PACCC is dedicated to helping those who make the certifiable commitment to be knowledgeable and ethical in providing services to clients.
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WHAT ARE THE CERTIFICATIONS?
PACCC will start with three levels of industry certification that will recognize the expansive knowledge required and basic career levels in the industry:
Certified Professional Animal Care Provider (CPACP)
The CPACP is the person in charge of the daily handling of the animals of a professional pet care business. Providers work in a variety of settings that include but are not limited to pet care center, pet sitter, dog walker, grooming, bathing, customer service and training and oversee every aspect of an animal’s well-being while in their care. Providers must have knowledge and understanding of the importance of safety, animal health and behavior, and customer service. Providers strive to advance their education to better their understanding and care they provide. The CPACP understands their role and how it plays a part in developing the success of the pet care industry.
Certified Professional Animal Care Manager (CPACM)
The CPACM is the person in charge of the daily operation of a professional pet care business. This person oversees the daily operation of the business and brings a high level of knowledge and understanding about the importance of quality care for pets, pet parents and/or the team of employees that they oversee. A manager understands customer service, animal health, animal behavior, safety for pets and staff, and human resources. This person leads by example and promotes positive business ethics. They strive to perform at a high level and gain more knowledge through education. They understand the importance of their role and how all of this influences the culture and success of the business and the pet care industry.
Certified Professional Animal Care Operator (CPACO)
The CPACO provides a safe, nurturing, and educational environment to pet companions, the individuals who care for those companions and friends and neighbors who walk through their front door. In addition a CPACO is an advocate for the humane treatment of all animals in their community and provide educational services on the care and safe handling of pet companions. As members of the business community, they are also responsible for the promotion of small business and strive to ensure their employees are positive members of the community. A CPACO is a pet care expert, responsible for the overall operation of a professional pet care business. This person defines and communicates the business mission and values. A CPACO is also an active member of the Animal Care Industry, invests in ongoing learning personally and for all staff. This person is committed to animal care excellence.
HOW CAN I GET CERTIFIED?
As a professional animal care provider working in the boarding, dog daycare, dog walking or pet sitting industries PACCC certification confirms your knowledge of professional animal care. Be among the first in your market to earn professional designation and stand apart in the pet services industry.
NEXT AVAILABLE EXAM REGISTRATION DEADLINE: JANUARY 26, 2017. Details at paccert.org/provider-exam.
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WHEN CAN I GET CERTIFIED?
To stay abreast of PACCC updates and be among the first notified of when certifications will begin as well as how to register for testing be sure to sign up for updates.
HOW IS TESTING DEVELOPED TO ENSURE QUALITY CERTIFICATION?
In order to ensure fair, valid, and reliable examinations that reflect current and best practice of the profession of animal care, PACCC, in accordance with Professional Testing Corporation (PTC), follows rigorous processes in all stages of item and examination development which are consistent with guidelines recommended by assessment industry standards.
All items that appear on an examination go through multiple rounds of review by several panels of subject matter experts as well as test development specialists at PTC. All items target the knowledge areas specified in the content outlines or bodies of knowledge and are written by subject matter experts specializing in each of the three levels of animal care. Once written, each item first goes through editing and psychometric review by PTC. Items then undergo a panel review and revision process by subject matter experts who reflect diversity and, balance, and are representative of the industry. This revision is done with guidance from a testing specialist from PTC. The items are reviewed based upon criteria such as appropriateness for candidate population; consistency with PACCC style and terminology; avoidance of bias and stereotyping; accuracy; and importance to the practice of animal care. The items should be supported by current best practices and/or reference materials. Items that are deemed inappropriate for the exam or that cannot be corrected by the panel to meet the above criteria are eliminated from the remainder of the process. Items that do meet the criteria and are accepted by the panel of subject matter experts are then entered into the item bank and carefully proofread by PTC staff trained in item structure to ensure grammar and stylistic changes are consistent.
The items undergo additional review and scrutiny by PTC and a PACCC examination development committee composed of professionals representative of the candidate population and the industry when each examination is developed. After the examination administration, item performance statistics are carefully reviewed and used as a guideline for further item enhancement and revision.
PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT QUESTIONS
Why is customer service included in the body of knowledge?
While we agree that professional pet care requires a focus on animals the reality is it is a people business. The clients that pay for services expect exceptional pet care AND customer service. In fact, clients are more likely to select or change providers based on the quality of customer service rather than pet care. As we focus on transforming our industry into certified animal care professionals an expectation of quality service delivery is required.
Why does the body of knowledge include multiple species of animals for everyone rather than offering specialties?
A certified animal care provider/manager/operator title signifies you are a professional in general animal care. In reality the care needs of all animals are more similar than they are different. You may have a current area of specialty in one species, but that is likely to change as you continue to work in the profession. The reality is dogs and cats not only share homes with each other, but with many other species of pets. To serve our clients we need to have a general knowledge of animal care that includes multiple species.
Why is off-leash dog play included in body of knowledge rather than a specialty?
Off-leash dog play or dog daycare is a very large part of the animal care industry and has unique safety risks. As a certified professional you need to have an understanding of not only the risks, but the knowledge skills that promote safety. Whether you ever decide to participate or offer off-leash dog play services or not, you need to be able to have an informed discussion of the safety aspects with clients.
Isn’t covering animal boarding, dog daycare, pet sitting and dog walking too much for one certification program?
Animal care does encompass many different avenues of delivery, however, all share a focus on safety and well-being of pets. The environment may differ, but these providers share a common knowledge base and skill set. In reality many businesses offer all of these services or begin in one and transition to providing the others. Online booking services are making entry into pet care services easy and we feel it is important to ensure certified professionals stand apart from their competition.
I’m a supervisor so what is the testing level for me?
Review the job descriptions to determine if the provider or manager level most closely aligns with your job duties. You can start with the provider exam and then continue your studies in the manager level topics. Achieving manager certification can help you progress on your pet industry career path.
I’m a pet sitter operating my business solo so what is the testing level for me?
As a sole operator you do run a business so will have many of the operator level skills and knowledge. An area you may not have experience is the staff management practices, so you can study to learn them. This will prepare you to grow your business and staff to your team. You can also stay solo and become certified at the provider level. Either way your professional certification will help you stand apart from your competition.
I’m a pet business owner/operator, do I have to take the provider and manager levels before the operator exam?
No, the knowledge and skills from the provider and manager levels are incorporated into the operator exam. That is why the test includes more questions and takes longer to complete. Spend time reviewing the operator body of knowledge and studying all areas with which you are not currently familiar. We look forward to having many certified operators, managers and providers once our initial exams are offered in the fall of 2016.