Professional Certification Opportunities


There are many opportunities to increase your qualifications in your field of study. This can include continued training in specific areas or certification through professional societies. Below is a list of opportunities available to you. Some can be accomplished while still at Iowa State University, while others must be done once you've started working full-time in the field.


Professional Certifications

Being certified through one of the professional organizations listed below means that you strive to meet the highest standards in your field of study. It proves you to be a well educated, skilled, and recognized professional. Recertification often requires current training or testing, showing you to not only be committed, but up-to-date on new developments in the field. 


American Fisheries Society (AFS)

Levels of certification with AFS include Associate Fisheries Professionals (FP-A) and Certified Fisheries Professionals (FP-C). Both require completed coursework and degree requirements. In addition, the FP-C requires a number of years of work experience, dependent on the level of education you have accomplished. 

Coursework requirements include: 4 courses in fisheries science (including one in fisheries science and management), approximately 15 credits in other biological sciences, 15 credits in the physical sciences, 6 credits in mathematics or statistics (including one calculus and one statistics or two statistics courses), 9 credits in communications, and 6 credits in human dimensions.

For more information, visit the AFS Certification website. Also be sure to check out their FAQ page.


GIS Certification Institute (GISCI)

GIS Professional Certification (GISP) through the GIS Certification Institute evaluates an applicant's ethics, education, experience, and contributions in the field. The certification process includes an application, and exam, a portfolio review, and years of experience. Once the application process has started, applicants have 6 years to gain the required 4 years of full-time experience. GISP requires an annual renewal fee and recertification every three years.

For more information, visit the GISCI website.


International Society of Arboriculture (ISA)

The International Society of Arboriculture offers a variety of certifications based on different specializations in the field. These certification can include ISA Certified Arborist, ISA Certified Tree Worker Climber Specialist, ISA Certified Tree Worker Aerial Lift Specialist, among others.

Certification applicants must meet predetermined standards gained through experience and requires recertification. ISA also provides Qualifications that include course work and examinations. 

Find more information about each of the Certification and Qualification opportunities at the ISA website.


National Association for Interpretation (NAI)

NAI offers several types of interpretation certifications that grow with your responsibilities including Certified Interpretive Host, Interpretive Guide, Interpretive Trainer, Interpretive Manager, Interpretive Planner, and Heritage Interpreter.

Anyone meeting minimum requirements can apply for certification, including students! You must be 16 years of age or older and, in some cases, have completed either college coursework or 8,000 field hours.

In addition to these certification programs, NAI offers training in different areas including leadership, social media, and interpretive planning.

For more information, visit the National Association for Interpretation website.


The Wildlife Society (TWS)

The Wildlife Society offers certification as either an Associate Wildlife Biologist or Certified Wildlife Biologist. Both require rigorous academic backgrounds and, in the case of the Certified Wildlife Biologist, demonstrated expertise and ethical standards. Associate Wildlife Biologist certification is granted for 10 years but is not renewable. Certified Wildlife Biologist certification is granted for 5 years and is renewable with the completion of 80 continuing education units within that time period.

With only 300 Associate Wildlife Biologists and 1,300 Certified Wildlife Biologists, certification through The Wildlife Society proves your high professional standards and dedication to continuing your education. For more information visit The Wildlife Society website.



Training Certificates

There are many opportunities to acquire new skill sets valuable in your field. Certificates of completion in any of the areas below gives you additional qualifications for marketing yourself and being a more effective professional. Some of these can be applied towards recertification in the professional societies mentioned above.


Animal Behavior Institute

The Animal Behavior Institute offers several 15 credit online training programs in areas including Wildlife Rehabilitation, Exotic Animal Training, and Zoo & Aquarium Science. Completion of these programs will help in your preparation to pursue careers working with wildlife as well as provide you with professional credentials. 

For more information, visit the Animal Behavior Institute website.


Chainsaw Certification

Description to come.


Euthanasia Certification

Euthanasia training teaches competency in the euthanasia process in order to reduce pain and stress for the animal, therefore providing a more peaceful passing. Learn technical skills, drug pharmacology, protocols, and more.

A variety of organization offer euthanasia certification workshops including, but not limited to, the Companion Animal Euthanasia Training Academy, The Humane Society, and the National Animal Care & Control Association.


S130/S190 Wildland Firefighting Certification

Description to come.


Wilderness First Aid

Having the knowledge to administer first aid in the field can save the lives of yourself or others. Take advantage of Wilderness First Aid training opportunities through the Iowa State University Outdoor Recreation Services. Upcoming workshop can be found on the Outdoor Rec website.

You can also find Wilderness First Aid training through a variety of other organizations including NOLS and REI, Wilderness Medical Associates International, and the American Red Cross.


Wildlife Handling and Chemical Immobilization Certification

Learn everything associated with wildlife handling and chemical immobilization including communication, equipment, processes, drug administration, ethical and legal responsibilities, and basic animal care procedures. Certification in handling and immobilization will provide formal and professional qualifications for work in the field. Also earn continuing education credits towards maintaining your Wildlife Society Certification. For more information visit the Global Wildlife Resources website.