University of the Pacific Animal Shelter Management

Certificate Program

This award-winning online certificate program provides practical information and valuable networking for current sheltering professionals, those looking to advance their career, or move into the field of animal sheltering.

The program’s courses include leadership, shelter operations, community program development, animal health/clinic operations, and marketing/development. 


Program Content              Who Will Benefit               What Credit Is Earned              Scheduling/Registration              Testimonials

Program Content

The five courses are:

  • Leadership covering strategic planning, analyzing operations, decision-making, managing people and processes to achieve results, organizational responsibilities, and working with a board of directors.

  • Shelter Operations covering adoptions, animal care and sheltering fundamentals, animal behavior and enrichment, and customer service.

  • Community Program Development covering volunteers, foster care, spay/neuter, pet retention, events, and community relations.

  • Animal Health and Clinic Operations covering understanding shelter medicine, basic animal health considerations and care, euthanasia decisions, and clinic operations.

  • Marketing and Development covering development fundamentals, fundraising strategies, marketing fundamentals, adoption promotion, social media and websites, and media relations.


Each of these courses include live video conference sessions with top experts in the field providing students valuable contacts within the field. Additionally, alumni have access to exclusive networking opportunities and receive notification of employment opportunities.

You can sign up for individual courses or all five for a discount. All five must be completed to get a certificate.

Who will benefit from the program?
Credit for program/courses
  • Professionals seeking a career change to something more personally fulfilling.

  • New shelter directors.

  • Shelter directors or managers wishing to improve their organization’s live release rate and sustainability.

  • People working in the animal welfare field who wish to advance into management roles.

  • Board members of animal shelters.

Upon completion of all five courses, you will receive a Certificate in Animal Shelter Management from the University of the Pacific. 


Each course earns:

  • Continuing Education Units (CEUs) from the University of the Pacific

  • Association of Animal Welfare Advancement CAWA Continuing Education (CE) credits


Schedule and Registration

Each of the five online courses are six weeks long and are offered sequentially. The entire program is about seven months long, and a new round starts again after a short break. More information on start dates of each course and how to register can be found on the University of the Pacific website. To enroll in an individual course, click on the specific course name on the lower right of the registration page.

“Completing the Animal Shelter Management program was the first step in advancing my career; it opened up doors and led to opportunities I never would have imagined.” 


—  Betsy Bode, CAWA

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