Education And Training
Most beginning kennel workers learn their skills on the job. By going to work and just following the directions of their supervisors, they learn what it takes to be an effective and efficient animal caretaker. If this is the route you want to take, you can get started right away. See if your local kennels are hiring part-time or weekend help, or if they need volunteers. It's a great way to get your foot in the door.
Once you have some kennel experience you may decide you want to work in kennels as a career. If that's the case you should consider taking classes offered by the American Boarding Kennels Association. The first course of study offered by the ABKA is the Pet Care Technician Program. Many kennel operators require their employees to complete this program, which teaches the basic principles of animal care, handling, kennel management, and customer relations. This course can be taken at home by reading required materials and taking a test when you're finished.
The ABKA's Advanced Pet Care Technician Program is a higher-level course. It's offered to kennel workers with at least a year of experience in pet care. It covers many of the same subjects taught in the basic pet care program, but in more depth. It also includes details on how to manage employees and run a business—important skills if you think you might want to advance to a management position.
Once you've finished the Advanced Pet Care Technician Program, you can enroll in the Certified Kennel Operator Program. This is the most advanced program offered by the ABKA. This course is for people who have at least three years experience working in a boarding kennel and who want to become a kennel operator. As a certified kennel operator, or CKO, you'll have exceptional animal care and business skills and will be recognized as one of the leaders in your field.
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