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Becoming Credentialed

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Ready to Level Up?

So you want to be credentialed...

Congratulations! We are firm believers that trainers and behavior consultants choosing to become credentialed will have a positive impact on our industry as well as the individual. Credentialing brings you these benefits:

  • Prove to your clients that your skills and knowledge have been assessed by a neutral third party and found to meet industry standards of excellence
  • Increase referrals from other trainers and consultants as well as from the global IAABC listing
  • Promote yourself on your website and marketing materials as a standout in your field
  • Grow your credibility with local governmental bodies as you bring your knowledge and experience to civic matters
  • Deepen consumer trust with your promise to follow professional ethics and an industry-wide standard of practice
  • Position yourself to move into leadership positions and work roles that demand external evidence of competence to match the experience in your resume
  • Get rid of that imposter syndrome - now you're confident that you've got what it takes!
 
Before you begin the process, we encourage you to read in-depth the Application Handbook. This document contains all the detailed policies and processes that we follow. This page provides a less-wordy overview of how to get from A to B. As always, in the case of any confusion, our formal policies take precedence.

Step 1: Are you LIMA Compliant?

First, please read our LIMA Guidance and the IAABC Code of Ethics. We take these guidelines seriously and will investigate and sanction any member and/or credential holder who is reported to be in violation. The IAABC maintains high standards of training and behavior including requiring use of a least intrusive, minimally aversive strategy out of a set of humane and effective tactics likely to succeed in achieving a training or behavior change objective.
 
If you currently operate in a way that includes first-line use of aversive stimuli, we recommend further education and skill-building in the use of positive reinforcement and the tenets of humane behavior practice.
 
If you already meet the standard of LIMA including working to increase the use of positive reinforcement and eliminate the use of punishment, then congratulations! You're our type.

Step 2: Choose your Credential

We offer various levels of credentials based on specialty and experience in the field. Our flagship credentials are the Certified Behavior credentials, which require extensive experience and education, along with detailed records of multiple complex cases worked through completion. These credentials are available in Dog, Cat, Parrot, Equine, and Shelter specific specialties.
 
We also offer an Accredited level for dog trainers and an Affiliate level for shelter workers, which can both be obtained with education and experience appropriate for early career practitioners. All credentials require a comprehensive knowledge of the science of learning and behavior change. 

Step 3: Prepare Yourself

Okay, first question - are you a member of the IAABC? If not, joining as a Supporting Member is your first step to be eligible to apply for a credential. You'll enjoy a range of webinars and resources that will help set you up for success with your exam.
 
Next, please dive into our examination preparation materials. The Application Handbook is a must-read so that you fully understand the process and requirements. In addition, you should be familiar with many of the books on our Recommended Reading list. If you are not, you may want to purchase some and brush up before beginning your test.

If you're feeling less than confident, consider taking a preparatory course from the IAABC Foundation, such as Principles & Practices of Behavior Consulting, a behavior mentorship, or the new Dog Training course coming out in January of 2023.
 
You are welcome to talk with current credential holders about their experiences and any advice to prepare, but remember that the examination materials themselves are proprietary. People who have taken the examination already are prohibited from providing you with details about the questions. Don't hold it against them! 
 
In addition to preparing yourself, you can advocate for yourself. If you require testing accommodations due to a mental or physical disability, please let us know before you purchase your examination. Write to the Credentialing Director with your limitations and requests, and we will work with you within our policy to develop a set of accommodations that will support your needs.

Step 4: Plan Ahead

Once you open your examination, you will have 60 days to receive endorsements and 60 days to complete the written examination. It takes several hours of writing to complete the exams. Look at your calendar and ensure you work time for writing your exam into your schedule. Since you cannot open the questions until the endorsements are complete, do not purchase the examination right before a long weekend in hopes of making headway unless you are sure your endorsers will respond immediately.
 
In addition, please realize that the case studies are the most complicated and time consuming part of our Credentialed examinations. Do not leave the case study questions until the last day or two, or you may not feel as though you have time for sufficient revision.

Step 5: Conquer it!

All that's left is signing up and getting the work done! Make sure to review and revise all your answers. If you’re referring to a branded protocol, an explanation of how it was performed and under what learning principles it works is required. While resolution of cases is important, we need to know details about the process of each case. Include enough detail that your reviewers know exactly what you did. They can't read your mind! The more information you provide, the better your reviewers will understand the context, your intent, and your skills and knowledge.

    What About...

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    If your question is not answered below, please contact the IAABC.

    I am already a member. How do I register for an exam?

    You may enroll for examinations in the IAABC Member Dashboard under the Credentials tab. Here's a direct link.

    What makes your credentials different than the others out there?

    There are many reasons why IAABC credentials are so well-regarded. First, our examinations are written and scored by experienced behavior consultants against an objective rubric. This level of human attention detail presents a rigorous evaluation method.
     
    Second, unlike educational courses that may result in certifications, IAABC is a neutral third-party credentialing body, which is considered a higher standard of evaluation.
     
    Last, we have a strong global presence and our credentials are recognized internationally as meeting industry standards for qualified and competent practitioners.

    Can someone help me decide which credential is best suited to my skills and career goals?

    Yes! Please write to our Membership Director with your background and any other details that may be helpful.

    What is your passing rate? Am I guaranteed to become credentialed if I pay?

    Across all of our examinations, our pass rate is around 75%. We do not guarantee that all applicants will succeed. We provide materials and guidance to help prepare you, but your success or failure will depend on many factors including:

    • your education and experience in the field
    • your ability to convey information in writing
    • your thoroughness and attention to detail
    • performance that demonstrate the IAABC Core Competencies
    • evidence that your behavior change strategies are LIMA-based
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