The International Avian Trainers Certification Board, IATCB, offers you a way to gain professional credibility, increase your earnings potential and advance your career.
IATCB was “founded by the International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators (IAATE) to facilitate independent design and management of professional certification programs for bird trainers,?according to Sid Price, who serves on the board of directors as the chairman. IATCB is now an independently incorporated entity and no longer part of IAATE.
IAATE is an organization I have been involved with for a little more than five years. I serve on the education and marketing committees. IAATE holds yearly conferences where professionals from different fields can share their best practices in regards to bird husbandry and training. I have attended three conferences and each of them offers exciting new methods on how to improve avian care. The membership is friendly and approachable and is always happy to help troubleshoot training challenges.
Once certification was available, it was an easy decision for me to study up and take the test.
“A sign of the maturity of any profession is the establishment of professional credentials that reflect the standards expected of professional, ethical practitioners in that business,?Price said. “A professional credential shows a commitment to professional development, valuable to both employer and employee.?lt;/span>
When you get advice from a CPBT-KA you should understand that they have been able to demonstrate advanced knowledge in the field of avian behavior and training through an unbiased test.
On the IATCB? website is a reference list of possible materials that could be referenced on the exam. The extensive list includes reference and training books, websites, and scientific papers, most of which are free to review or can be found at public or university libraries.
I reviewed a majority of the material, and recorded themes and terms on a computer document, which ended up being around six pages long. Luckily, before certification was even thought of, I had read most of these resources. Since I have always been fascinated with terms I suppose I have been preparing for this certification for a long time.
When test day came I woke up around 5:45 a.m. and drove approximately 30 minutes to the closest testing center, which was at a local airport. When I arrived they scanned my driver? license, and took my phone and all other electronic devices. I entered the testing booth and was given a pencil, two pieces of paper and in front of me was an older computer that only contained a primitive blue screen. It was identical to taking the SAT or GRE. The irony of me taking a bird exam at an airport did not escape.
I was allowed four hours to take the 200-multiple-choice test and used almost half of the time. I then left the test center and waited 4 to 6 weeks for the results.
So how did the test come to be? “The IATCB test was built by inviting recognized experts in each of the knowledge domains tested to submit test items,?Price said. “Further, these test items were each reviewed by working groups made up of IATCB board members and invited experts.?
This system of checks and balances ensured accuracy, clarity and focus. The test subjects include: learning principles, applied training, husbandry and enrichment, public education and professional issues.
Price has been working with birds for approximately 20 years.
“Birds are amongst the most fascinating of species; their use in educational programs to connect audiences with nature and hopefully its conservation is well understood,?he said. “However, training in many of the facilities using birds in educational programming is still based upon rather heavy-handed techniques inherited from traditional falconry. In recent years some practitioners have recognized that by understanding the science of behavior change they can achieve even greater success through applying the most positive, least intrusive methods this science offers.”
His personal mission is to encourage as many animal trainers to learn and understand the science and apply those techniques in the most ethical manner which will improve the lives of the animals in our care.
At this time almost 50 trainers have earned the CPBT-KA credential. The organization looks forward to that number increasing over the next year or two as the program becomes better known. Currently two facilities have included the IATCB examinations in their staff professional development programs, one of which being the San Diego Zoo.
Anyone interested in IATCB and the certification program should visit www.iatcb.org. If you are not interested in taking the test now, you can still review the latest resources in the science of behavior to better train your birds at home.
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