The Bottom Line on CAWA

Hello, friends and colleagues. I am a member of The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement’s Board of Directors and I serve as the Chair of the Certification Council. I’d like to share some important (and exciting) certification updates with you.

The Certified Animal Welfare Administrator – CAWA – is the only leadership credential in our field. The CAWA demonstrates a commitment to high standards, excellence in care, and leading with ethical integrity in the field of animal welfare.

Becoming a CAWA helps elevate your career, but it also advances our profession as a whole—so we want to make this certification as accessible and inclusive as possible. To that end, there are a few changes to the CAWA program that I want to share with you:

  • We expanded our eligibility requirements to include leaders in field services and spay/neuter services.  Below are the new requirements:
    • A minimum of 5 years of work experience as a full-time manager for a not-for-profit or government organization. At least 3 years of this nonprofit/government work experience must be at an organization that provides sheltering, spay/neuter services, and/or field services for companion animals.
  • We introduced a new, user-friendly, and streamlined application process that will make starting the path toward achieving the CAWA easier for everyone.
  • We have a NEW VERIFIED EXAM! After an extensive exam writing process (thanks to hundreds of hours of service from leaders across The Association), beta testing, and psychometric review, a new, proctored exam is now available for online testing.
  • We revamped our recertification process to make logging continuing education and service simple.  CAWAs recertify every three years, so if you have already achieved the CAWA, tracking your credits just got a whole lot easier. 

“Worried that the exam is too hard?” asks Rachel in this video. “Your JOB is hard–so I encourage you to go for it.”

You can learn all about the new CAWA Exam and program here.

Bottom line, CAWA just got more inclusive, easier to apply, and simpler to maintain.  What’s holding you back from advancing your career?!  Step up to the challenge today and encourage your emerging leaders to do the same.

Get to Know a CAWA

Meet a CAWA: Maria Solacito, DVM
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Meet a CAWA: Beau Archer


Rachel D.K. Finney is a Certified Animal Welfare Administrator with 15 years of experience in animal sheltering. Finney has degrees in nonprofit management, psychology, political science and sociology from Indiana University. She began working in animal welfare as the Executive Director of the Union County Humane Society in Marysville, OH and serves as the CEO at Columbus Humane, formerly the Capital Area Humane Society in Columbus, Ohio. She is a member of The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement’s Board of Directors and serves as the Chair of the Certification Council. Rachel operates under the philosophy that we should "never be afraid to do the right thing."


'The Bottom Line on CAWA' has 1 comment

  1. October 27, 2021 @ 4:07 pm Kathleen Olson, CAWA

    This credential opens many doors for those wishing to advance in animal welfare careers. Getting CEUs at conferences and webinars is an easy way to stay accredited every three years. I highly recommend going for it.


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