As I said in my last post the ABTC has now completed its suite of standards for the animal behaviour and training sector but many people are asking what this means to them and how they can be listed on the various national registers. The first point to be clear about is that only organisations can be granted membership, individual practitioners cannot become members of the ABTC in their own right except by invitation of the Council. Organisations that represent practitioners should apply for membership and part of that process is to demonstrate how their practitioners meet the appropriate standard. Historically each organisation has developed its own method of assessing people based on what they deemed to be important rather than matching their requirements to a universal standard so it is no surprise that each organisation has different membership criteria. The ABTC seeks to harmonise this situation so that each organisation will be meeting the same high standards, some organisations may exceed the requirements and others may need assistance to ensure the standards are met.
As it is expected that this process will take some time the category of Accredited Animal Behaviourist (AAB) was created, it applies to all those currently carrying out the role of behaviourist with a reasonable level of education and training that does not quite meet the strict requirements of either Clinical Animal Behaviourist (CAB) or Animal Behaviour Technician (ABT), in short a ‘Grand-parenting Scheme’. Be aware though, this is not a free ticket to avoid eventually becoming qualified in one or other of these two roles. People who most appropriately fall into this category have until the end of March 2016 to get themselves onto this register, after which new applications will no longer be accepted. Those who are on the register at that time will have until the end of March 2021 to complete any gaps in their education and skill sets to transfer onto the CAB or ABT register and the AAB category will then cease to exist.
The message therefore is to either convince your organisation to join the ABTC or move to an organisation that is already a member (or is taking steps to achieve membership), I am also personally aware of at least two possible new organisations in the making based on ABTC requirements that feel too many practitioners are currently unrepresented.
This is the point at which the individual can start making a difference to animal welfare by making their needs felt to those who manage their chosen group and get on board with the ABTC, a movement that is now a permanent fixture in the animal behaviour and training sector.