5 Reasons to Become a CAWA

CAWA. You know you wanna.

There is so much we don’t have control over these days. But there is one important thing you are in command of–your personal and professional development. We’re really excited about the recent changes to the CAWA program, and the incredible group of your colleagues who volunteered to beta-test the new online CAWA exam. Certified Animal Welfare Administrators are an elite group of professionals who’ve distinguished their skills and upped their game. We asked them to help recruit a new class of CAWAs and here’s what they had to say:

Our work in animal welfare is hard for so many reasons. An important step I took to improve my success and my comfort with the challenges was to become a Certified Animal Welfare Administrator.  CAWA is not about taking a test (and, yes, it is hard–as it should be) nor is it about a set of initials after your name.  It is about lifelong learning and becoming the most professional leader possible.  As a CAWA since 2004, the support and ongoing training from The Association always made my job easier and I felt more competent and reliable.  I urge everyone to take the CAWA test!
M. Christie Smith, CAWA (retired)

I found myself being discounted over and over again for being too young or too inexperienced, and I knew that with the title of CAWA, I would earn an achievement that helped level the playing field for me in my career and among colleagues that I wanted a seat at the table with in animal welfare.  
Emily Grossheider, CAWA, Chief Innovation Officer, Dogs Playing for Life

CAWA certification is an instant sign that you are a professional who knows the animal welfare field.
Brad Shear, ED, Potter League for Animals, & current board chair, The Association

Best thing about being a CAWA – amazing opportunities!  The value that being a CAWA brings to my career is the validation that I’ve come so far in this field as well as giving me the confidence to lead and be led.  We never stop learning, and my commitment to being a CAWA solidifies that fact.
Sarah Thompson, CAWA, Director for Rescue & Recovery, San Diego Humane Society

The CAWA is the only accreditation that showcases that the body of knowledge that I apply every day is not logic, it’s science-backed best practices.  It adds veracity to my daily decision making.
Miguel Abi-hassan, CAWA, CEO, Halifax Humane Society, Inc

Got questions? This is where you can find all you need to know about becoming a CAWA. If you are interested in being part of the beta-testing group and can commit to taking the exam by June 14, sign up here.

More Info

CAWA Applicant Guide (.pdf, updated 03/20)


The Association is the only international society of leaders actively leading and managing community animal shelters/animal control agencies.


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