Chantal MacLean

Certification Program 

Overview of Certification Program

In 1977, to promote and strengthen professional standards amongst wildlife biologists, TWS initiated the Wildlife Biologist Certification Program. The program judges prospective applicants based on 4 considerations:

  1. Education depth
  2. Experience as a practicing professional
  3. TWS membership
  4. A commitment to TWS's Code of Ethics 

To ensure the education and professional experience requirements were being met, TWS established the Certification Review Board (CRB). The CRB is an eight-member board with representation from Canada and 7 other TWS sections across the US.

TWS is the only organization providing a peer-reviewed certification for wildlife biologists. TWS has been responsible for the creation of 1,600 Certified Wildlife Biologists® (CWB®), primarily across Canada and the USA.

Certification Committee

The Certification Committee was formed in 2017 to revitalize TWS’s Wildlife Biologist Certification Program in Canada. The structure of the committee reflects a membership intent on achieving two goals:

  1. To work with TWS to see how the present certification program can be made more appealing to Canadian wildlife biologists
  2. To work towards establishing national standards for practicing wildlife professionals across Canada.

Levels of Certifications: 

Associate Wildlife Biologist: An individual who has met the education requirements but has not yet obtained at least 5 years of professional-level wildlife experience in the previous 10 years to qualify as a Certified Wildlife Biologist® (CWB ®) can apply to be designated as an Associate Wildlife Biologist® (AWB®).

Certified Wildlife Biologist: There are several ways that TWS members can become certified.

  1. An AWB® certification is granted for 10 years and within that time limit, the applicant is expected to obtain 5 years of professional-level experience. Only then can the TWS member apply to be made to become a CWB®. Note: Associate Wildlife Biologist® Extension Application. If AWBs do not meet the 5-year experience requirement, they can apply to the CRB for a three-year extension. The fee is $25 (US).
  2. A wildlife biologist who has been working for a minimum of 5 years may elect to become a CWB without first becoming an AWB. In this situation, the applicant must show that his/her courses and his experience agree with TWS guidelines.
  3. Biologists with 20 years’ experience can use experience in lieu of required course work.

Benefits of Certification:

  • Establishes a rigorous standard and quality control for Wildlife Biology and Management practices
  • Enhances the credibility of the profession of wildlife biology
  • Builds commitment to the wildlife profession beyond employment
  • Advances regulation of wildlife biology occupations
  • Facilitates communication and sharing of best-practices across jurisdictions
  • Eliminates jurisdictional barriers when working anywhere in Canada
  • Ensures that appropriate wildlife biology-related courses and training by students/young professionals.
  • Provides a definite hiring asset for wildlife-related jobs
  • Facilitates communication with other resource-based professionals.
  • Provides leadership in promoting the conservation of natural resources.

 TWS brochure photo

For more information, please download the TWS Certification Brochure or email us