Nwcoa certification Standards and Operational Policy



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NWCOA Certification Standards and Operational Policy


Dated November 12, 2015 and shall supersede all previous versions

ABSTRACT

The National Wildlife Control Operators Association (NWCOA) is a nonprofit, professional trade association comprised of individuals, businesses, corporations, or other entities who provide services to the public to resolve human-wildlife conflicts. NWCOA is devoted to professional development within the Wildlife Damage Management Industry by creating, promoting and strengthening professional standards for all facets of the industry. Standards include, but are not limited to 1) minimum competency for wildlife control service providers, 2) accreditation of continuing education opportunities offered to wildlife control operators, and 3) accreditation of instructors of who offer continuing education opportunities and define accepted work practices, techniques and methods for performing wildlife damage management on a commercial basis. To this end, NWCOA has developed a professional certification program designed to evaluate the competency, integrity, and professional experience of wildlife control operators and the continuing education that they receive from within the industry.

A professional wildlife control operator is a person with demonstrated expertise in the art and science of applying the principles of wildlife damage management to the sound resolution of wildlife conflict with humans. An applicant for professional certification who demonstrates this expertise through education, experience and is judged to properly represent the profession as an ethical practitioner will be designated as a NWCOA Certified Wildlife Control Professional tm (CWCP tm):

The Certification Review Board (CRB), is composed of highly qualified wildlife control operators, representatives from academic institutions and members of the NWCOA Industry Standards & Training, and Certification Committees. The CRB shall determine whether the education, experience, and professional contributions of the applicant or continuing education curriculum satisfy the established minimum requirements prescribed by NWCOA.

The program for certification of wildlife control operators, instructors, and businesses is a service provided by NWCOA for its members, as well as nonmembers and the public, who may desire a peer evaluation statement or quality assurance. Certification constitutes recognition by NWCOA that, to its best knowledge, an applicant meets the minimum educational, experience, and ethical standards adopted by this Association and the applicant has demonstrated competency though formal testing.

NWCOA has established standards for certification for individual operators, business entities, training curriculum, and instructors, as well as the administration of the program. NWCOA will maintain and disseminate a registry of certified wildlife control operators through its media outlets in compliance with its non-profit corporation mission statement of serving the public and the wildlife damage industry. All NWCOA Certification programs shall follow an appropriate fee schedule to ensure that the program is financially self-sustaining.



1.0 – OBJECTIVES

1.1 The primary objective of the NWCOA certification program is to guide operators, governmental agencies and the public in defining operational standards for service through knowledge, competency, and integrity and field experience for professional wildlife control operators, and to encourage all practicing wildlife control operators to meet such standards.

1.2. Create public confidence in the professional advice of certified wildlife control operators in matters concerning wildlife damage management. Also, provide recognition for those who have pledged to abide by NWCOA Code of Ethics and to act in the best interest of the public and wildlife resources.

1.3. Assist the public in evaluating wildlife control operators by establishing a procedure for critical peer evaluation based upon defined minimum educational, technical, ethical and practical experience requirements.

2.0 – CWCP CERTIFICATION

2.1. NWCOA Certified Wildlife Control Professional tm (CWCP tm): Persons who have successfully completed the requirements of the National Wildlife Control Operators Association and have proven to the Certification Review Board: 1) Two Hundred (200) Hours of Continuing Education, 2) Three Years Practical Experience, 3) Demonstrates Competency through a Proficiency Exam, and 4) adheres to a strict Code of Ethics. Having thus been proven, reviewed and tested, the National Wildlife Control Operators Association shall confirm certification as a Certified Wildlife Control Professional.tm

2.2 - REQUIREMENTS FOR ELIGIBILITY AND RENEWAL

2.2.1 Education

2.2.1.1 An applicant must have completed 200 Continuing Education Units (CEU) as approved by the NWCOA Certification Committee. To ensure a well-rounded educational background, fifty (50) CEU must be earned in each of the following three categories with the remaining fifty (50) CEU’s distributed in any or all of the categories:

2.2.1.1a Category 1. Wildlife Biology and Handling. Topics include information relating to life cycles, habits, and effects of Control on wildlife, health of wildlife, population dynamics, and habitat management. Handling shall encompass Animal Care, Euthanasia, Diagnostics of Diseases, and anything relating to the possession of an animal.

2.2.1.1b Category 2. Technical. Topics include Industry Standards, Best Practices, Methods, Techniques, Equipment, Research and Business Management.

2.2.1.1c Category 3. Human Health, Safety and Community Relations. Topics relating to the Human aspects of Wildlife Damage Management, including Zoonosis, Equipment and Work Safety, Employee, Public and Client Safety, Risk Management, Legalities and other related topics.

2.2.1.2. Once certified, wildlife control operators are not required to conform to changes in educational requirements resulting from future revisions, however, existing CWCP’s tm shall be subject to renewal requirements.

2.2.1.3. Renewals. All applicants for Certified Wildlife Control Professional tm must renew their certification every five (5) years by completing a minimum of 75 continuing education units OR by satisfactorily passing a competency exam with 85% proficiency. CEU’s may be earned in any combination during the five (5) year period.

2.2.1.3a Existing CWCP’s tm seeking renewal must maintain documentation of original certification and shall supply documentation to the Certification Committee upon request for verification should their records be unavailable.

2.2.1.3b In the case of missing records, renewal candidates must either

1) Provide adequate documentation to support their original CWCP application prior to the original issue date and have completed a minimum of 75 CEU’s in the last five years since gaining certification.



2) Complete a minimum of 75 CEU’s in the last five (5) years AND satisfactorily pass the competency exam with 85% proficiency.

2.2.1.4. Applicants who have completed a course of study from an accredited college or university gaining knowledge applicable to the Wildlife Damage Industry and shall receive educational credit as follows: 1 Semester hour = 16 Continuing Education Units. Examples:

2.2.1.4a Biological Sciences

2.2.1.4.a.i Wildlife management: Courses emphasizing the principles and practices of wildlife management.

2.2.1.4a.ii Wildlife biology: Courses in the biology and behavior of birds, mammals, reptiles, or amphibians.

2.2.1.4.a.iii Ecology: Courses in general plant or animal ecology (excludes human ecology).

2.2.1.4.a.iv Zoology: Courses in general zoology, genetics, physiology, anatomy, invertebrate zoology, or taxonomy.

2.2.1.5 Credit Hours. The educational requirements are expressed in Continuing Education Units (CEU). One semester hour usually reflects 1 lecture hour or 3 laboratory hours of instruction per week for a 16-week term. One-quarter hour normally equals 0.67 semester hours. Applicants for certification who attended educational institutions that grant credits in different units must convert their credits to semester hours according to definitions above. For example, in many Canadian universities a 1-credit course meets 3 hours per week for 2 terms and thus equals 6 semester hours. 6 Semester hours equals 96 CEUs.

2.2.2 Experience

2.2.2.1. A Certified Wildlife Control Professional tm applicant must have a minimum of three (3) years (6,000 hours) of professional experience gained within the six (6) years (12,000 hours) prior to the date the application is submitted. A year is defined as fifty, (50) - forty (40) hour weeks, or 2000 work hours.

2.2.2.2 Experience must demonstrate the application of wildlife damage control techniques in a professional environment. Identification of professional-level experience will require careful evaluation of each application. Therefore, it is the applicant's responsibility to fully document for each experience the time devoted specifically to wildlife damage control activities. Credit will be awarded within the following guidelines:

2.2.2.2a . Experience credit normally will be awarded on a basis of one week full-time experience for one week credit (40 hours). Part-time employment or experience will be calculated based upon total hours worked per week less than 40 hours.

2.2.2.2b . Partial credit may be granted for experience gained in positions peripheral to wildlife damage management. Peripheral experience credit may be used to meet not more that one-half (3000 hours) of experience credit. Examples of peripheral experience may include: Biological Research, Wildlife Management Technician (non damage related), Animal Care and Control, Zoo Operations, Animal Husbandry, etc.

2.2.2.2c . Applicant’s estimate of time devoted specifically to professional wildlife damage management work in terms of hours per week. Work hours should be documented through official pay stubs, signed statement from supervisor, or signed statement from applicant if self-employed.

2.2.2.2d The smallest component of creditable time is one day, eight (8) hours.

2.2.2.2e . Description of specific duties, responsibilities, and accomplishments as it relates to wildlife damage management should be submitted with application and will be evaluated by reviewers for relevance.

2.2.2.2f . All work and experience related to “Wildlife” or “Animals” will be worth some credit. Amount awarded will be dependant upon description of work and relevance determined by reviewers.

2.2.2.3 . Up to one year (2000 hours) of volunteer experience will be creditable toward the 3-year experience requirement provided that the position constitutes professional wildlife control duties, and is supported by a letter from the supervisor.

2.2.3. Ethical Requirements

2.2.3.1 All applicants must pledge to uphold and conduct their activities in accordance with the Code of Ethics as prescribed by NWCOA. In the event any applicant has engaged in past activity or conduct that the Certification Committee determines violates a provision of the Code of Ethics, the Certification Committee shall thoroughly investigate such activity or conduct, to determine whether such past activity, conduct, or record shows a propensity on the part of the Applicant to act contrary to the provisions of the Code of Ethics and thereby constitutes grounds for denying and rescinding certification.

2.2.3.2 Certified Wildlife Control Operators shall conduct their activities in accordance with the Code of Ethics as prescribed by NWCOA outlined below:

Code of Ethics:



  1. I will strive to follow all laws and regulations pertaining to wildlife damage management.

  2. I ascribe to a professional code of conduct that embodies the traits of honesty, sincerity and dedication.

  3. I will show exceptionally high levels of concern and respect for people, property and wildlife.

  4. I will promote the understanding and appreciation of the many values of wildlife and scientific wildlife management, as well as an appreciation for the economic and health concerns of people adversely affected by wildlife.

  5. I will be sensitive to the various viewpoints of wildlife damage management.

  6. I will provide expertise on managing wildlife damage to my clientele upon request, within the limits of my experience, ability and legal authority.

  7. I will promote competence and present an image worthy of the profession by supporting high standards of education, employment and performance.

  8. I will strive to broaden my knowledge, skills and abilities to advance the practice of commercial wildlife damage management.

  9. I will, in good faith, select new or time proven methods for resolving wildlife damage conflicts and give due consideration to humaneness, selectivity, effectiveness and practicality.

  10. I will treat my competition and clientele in a courteous manner and in accordance with honorable business practices.

  11. I will encourage, through word and through deed, all Commercial Wildlife Control Operators to adhere to this code and to participate in state associations of Commercial Wildlife Control Operators.

2.2.3.3. NWCOA Specialty Certifications – Techniques & Certain Species

2.2.3.3a. Certified Goose Management Professional

2.2.3.3b. Certified Bat Management Professional

2.2.3.3c. Firearms Certification for Shooting in Sensitive Environments

2.2.4 Competency Testing of Certification Candidates

All initial CWCP candidates shall be required to complete a competency exam with 85% proficiency rating in order to demonstrate competency in wildlife damage management as well as a pass/fail essay section on ethical considerations. Competency exam shall consist of 200 answers in a multiple choice format and include sections on wildlife biology, animal handling, wildlife control techniques, industry standards, business practices, human health and safety and community relations. Exam must be completed in 120 minutes in a closed book format. A candidate must score at least 170 out of 200 to achieve 85% proficiency on this section. The competency exam shall also include three (3) essay questions related to the NWCOA Code of Ethics and common field situations. Candidates who, in the collective opinion of the reviewers, respond inappropriately to any of the ethics questions will not receive a passing grade or obtain certification. Exam may be offered at any NWCOA sanctioned event provided that either Certified NWCOA Instructors (CNI) or Master NWCOA Instructors (MNI) are present to serve as test proctors; through an onlne testing service as approved by the Certification Review Board; or in other locations by proctors approved by the Certification Review Board. A reasonable fee may be charged for test administration.



2.2.5. Competency Testing for Certification Renewals

Existing CWCP’s who have not earned at least 75 continuing education units (CEUs) in the past 5 years may elect to re-certify by examination. Competency exam shall consist of 200 answers in a multiple choice format and include sections on wildlife biology, animal handling, wildlife control techniques, industry standards, business practices, human health and safety and community relations. A candidate must score at least 170 out of 200 to achieve 85% proficiency on this section. The competency exam shall also include three (3) essay questions related to the NWCOA Code of Ethics and common field situations. Candidates who, in the collective opinion of the reviewers, respond inappropriately to any of the ethics questions will not receive a passing grade obtain certification. Exam may be offered at any NWCOA sanctioned event provided that either Certified NWCOA Instructors (CNI) or Master NWCOA Instructors (MNI) are present to serve as test proctors; through an onlne testing service as approved by the Certification Review Board; or in other locations by proctors approved by the Certification Review Board. A reasonable fee may be charged for test administration.



3.0 Accreditation of Continuing Education Offerings

3.1 NWCOA will maintain a list of accredited training courses and assign developmental credit units to each course provided that the training was given by a (MNI), a (CNI) or by an instructor whose credentials meet or exceed NWCOA Instructor Standards except for the requirement of NWCOA Professional membership, as determined by the Certification Committee.

3.2 All training, seminars, conferences and activities of an educational nature are eligible for consideration for accreditation. New training courses or previously unlisted courses may be accredited at any time by the Certification Committee. Course accreditation requires submission of the curriculum, instructor credentials, and total hours to the Committee for official review. Official review may require attendance of training course by Certification Committee if the course is new or includes field instruction not included in paper documentation.

3.3 Non accredited training opportunities do not earn CEU’s and therefore, do not count toward either an CWCP tm application or CWCP tm renewal. The Certification Committee will determine accreditation based on applicability to the Industry and quality of instruction. The Certification Committee is the final authority as to whether any training shall receive accreditation.

3.4 Once a training opportunity has been accredited by the Certification Committee, only proof of attendance is required to receive CEU’s associated with the listed course, if it occurred prior to 2012. Training received in 2012 and later requires proof of attendance on an hour by hour basis. One hour of instruction in a NWCOA accredited training course shall equal One (1) Continuing Education Unit. (CEU) If a course only partially meets NWCOA Certification Standards for content or instruction, it may be awarded partial credit.

3.5 Self Study. Due to the limited amount of formal training opportunities within the industry, NWCOA shall allow CWCP applicants to submit self-study articles, books and videos for consideration. For this type of training to be considered, the material should have been created by a CWCP, an individual that meets the NWCOA Instructor Standards, except for the requirement of NWCOA Professional membership, or selected from an approved list of journals and proceedings which can be found on the CWCP page of NWCOA.com. Publications from other sources should be accompanied by author or authors credentials that illustrate how they meet the minimum NWCOA Instructor Standards. The applicant shall write a minimum 250 word summary, that can be in the form of bullets, of the subject matter used for self study and discuss the value of the training as it relates to the industry. In general, one CEU will be awarded per summary in the appropriate category.

3.6 Government Sponsored Training. Training issued by federal, state or local governments and military organizations can qualify as accredited training without verification of instructor credentials. Proof of attendance issued by the course sponsor must be submitted with the CWCP application. Further, a summary of the training written by the applicant or sponsoring agency must be provided to aid in categorization of the training (see section 2.2.1.1.)

3.7 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). Training issued by NGOs that falls within the categories described in section 2.2.1.1. can qualify for accreditation upon approval by the Certification Committee. A list of preapproved NGOs can be found on the CWCP page of NWCOA.com. Proof of attendance issued by the course sponsor must be submitted with the CWCP application. Further, a summary of the training written by the applicant or sponsoring agency must be provided to aid in categorization of the training (see section 2.2.1.1.) Additional information may be requested by the Certification Committee prior to approval.

3.8 Authorship. NWCOA shall allow CWCP applicants to submit items that they have authored, such as articles, books and videos for consideration for CEU credit. For this type of training to be considered, the material should have been an original creation by the individual applying for CWCP. The material should relate to one of the categories outlined in Section 2.2.1.1 (above). It should have been published in a trade magazine, book, newsletter or website of a recognized association, organization or government entity. The applicant shall be awarded 1 credit hour for each 250 words in the original authored piece.

4.0 - CERTIFICATION REVIEW BOARD

4.1. The Certification Review Board (CRB) shall be comprised of a Chairman, appointed, hired or contracted by the Governing board of NWCOA, and at least four reviewers, each of whom must have obtained the CWCP status and who represent the NWCOA Certification Committee, NWCOA Industry Standards & Training Committee, and aforementioned Academic Institution. CRB members are appointed by the NWCOA Governing Board. The CRB shall determine accreditation of all relevant continuing education, instructors, and determine eligibility of CWCP applicants. CRB shall also have the authority to evaluate applicants in all categories for certification compliance and then provide recommendations of successful applicants to the NWCOA Governing Board for confirmation and awarding of honors.

4.2 CRB function:

The CRB shall operate as an ad hoc NWCOA committee to oversee the duties and responsibilities of two standing committees, the Certification Committee and the Industry Standards and Training Committee. The CRB chairman shall direct all applicants for any NWCOA certification to the Certification Committee for processing and review. The CRB Chairman shall direct all continuing education curriculum submissions for accreditation to the Industry Standards and Training Committee. Once reviewed by the respective committees and found favorable, the CRB shall officially certify successful applicants with the appropriate title or accredit the given course of study.



4.2.1 The CRB Chairman shall initially review all Certification applications (CWCP, MNI, CNI, Specialty Certifications, and Certified Wildlife Control Company, (CWCC )) for completeness and assign to the Certification Committee for verification review. If the committee is satisfied with the application, a favorable recommendation is returned to the CRB for final approval. If the committee is not satisfied with the application, a notice of denial is sent to the applicant with reasons for denial. Once corrective action has been taken by the applicant, the application may be resubmitted for further review.

4.2.1a. The CRB Chairman shall call a meeting of the CRB to accept the committee recommendations and formally award certifications to successful candidates via majority vote. Certification documents will be signed by the NWCOA President on behalf of NWCOA, and sent to the applicant for acceptance. All certification documents shall be forwarded to the NWCOA Secretary for recording.

4.2.2. The CRB Chairman shall initially review all continuing education curricula, seminars, or other course of study submitted for accreditation for completeness and shall forward all submitted materials to the Industry Standards and Training Committee for verification review. If the committee is satisfied with the continuing education course material, a favorable recommendation is returned to the CRB for final approval. If the committee is not satisfied with the continuing education course material, a notice of denial is sent to the applicant with reasons for denial. Once corrective action has been taken by the applicant, the application may be resubmitted for further review.

4.2.2a. The CRB shall act as the official source of accreditation for all continuing education applicable towards earning any Certification. CRB shall assign CEU’s to all courses of training created or developed by NWCOA and accredit any other course of study submitted from outside sources or found to have direct educational value to the industry. They shall evaluate all curriculum, training, seminars, or other educational materials as requested by applicants or by industry peers. The CRB shall maintain and publish a list of accredited continuing education and assign the appropriate amount of CEU’s for any given training.

4.3. The CRB Chairman shall report on progress and issues to the NWCOA Governing Board. CRB members shall correspond as necessary to ensure equitable and timely evaluation of each applicant or continuing education curriculum. No member of the CRB shall discuss at any time, a particular certification application with any person other than a member of the CRB, except to clarify or verify the contents of the application until a final recommendation is made.

4.4. Confirmation of Decisions. CWCP Certification normally will be confirmed or denied within 90 days from the date a complete application is received unless the Board advises the applicant that additional time is needed for review. The chairman of the CRB shall notify an applicant who is denied certification with a written explanation.

4.4.1. Accreditation of continuing education training offered by non NWCOA licensed entities will normally be confirmed or denied within 90 days from the date of submission of the curriculum by the training entity. Continuing education programs developed by the Industry Training and Standards Committee shall be valid immediately upon acceptance by the CRB.

5.0 DENIAL OF CERTIFICATION / ACCREDITATION – APPEALS PROCCESS

5.1 Any certification applicant may appeal the decision of the Certification Committee to the CRB, documenting charges of discrimination or arbitrary and capricious action by the Certification Committee. The CRB shall act as a Board of Inquiry (BOI) to review the appeal and make a final decision regarding the appeal. The CRB shall inform the applicant of the final decision in writing within ten days of decision.

5.1.1. All Certification appeals must be made within one (1) year from the date of denial. Only information on education and experience previously submitted to the committees will be subject to review by the CRB Inquiry. Submission of new information or additional documentation may invalidate an appeal and require the applicant to file a new application for certification without prejudice. Therefore, it is incumbent on applicants to fully and completely document their education and experience in their original applications.

5.2 Any continuing education accreditation applicant may appeal the decision of the Industry Standards and Training Committee to the CRB, documenting charges of discrimination or arbitrary and capricious action by the Certification Committee. The CRB shall act as a Board of Inquiry (BOI) to review the appeal and make a final decision regarding the appeal. The CRB shall inform the applicant of the final decision in writing within ten days of decision

5.2.1. All Accreditation appeals must be made within one (1) year from the date of denial. Information on the course of study, curriculum, and educational value previously submitted to the committees will be subject to review by the CRB Inquiry. In addition, an instructor’s experience and credentials are also subject to review. Submission of new information or additional documentation may invalidate an appeal and require the applicant to file a new application for certification without prejudice. Therefore, it is incumbent on applicants to fully and completely document their education and experience in their original applications.

6.0 - VIOLATIONS OF ETHICAL STANDARDS

6.1. Suspension or revocation of certification for violation of the Code of Ethics as prescribed by NWCOA is a serious matter that reflects unfavorably on the entire profession. Considerable effort must be expended to ensure equitable treatment of all concerned. The CRB shall review all complaints and alleged ethics violations, and if the CRB determines that the actions warrant suspension or revocation of certification, the CRB shall make recommendations to the Governing Board for action.

6.2. NWCOA assumes no liability for charges of misconduct filed by or against a Certified Wildlife Control Professional and the Association provides no financial or legal assistance to either the person(s) bringing a charge of misconduct or the individual charged with misconduct.

6.3. Upon review and finding of fact, the CRB may recommend disciplinary action against a CWCP or other Certification holder for gross incompetence, negligence, or violation of The NWCOA Code of Ethics. Recommended disciplinary action may include Official Reprimand with fines, Suspension of Certification for a specified time, Permanent Revocation of Certification or other actions as deemed appropriate by the CRB. The NWCOA Governing Board shall make all final decisions regarding disciplinary actions. An Official Reprimand with fine requires a majority vote of the Governing Board and the Board shall set the cost of the fine at the time of the decision. Fine shall not exceed the original filing fee for that particular certification. Failure to pay fine or more than one Official Reprimand within 5 years will warrant Suspension of Certification. Any Suspension or Revocation of NWCOA certifications will require a 2/3 majority of the Governing Board.

7.0 - SCHEDULE OF FEES

7.1 Certification is a service extended to qualified wildlife control operators. However, the certification procedure was developed and is administered by NWCOA. Members of the Association subsidize this effort with their volunteer efforts and membership dues to maintain a viable peer review process. Nonmembers contribute nothing in this regard; therefore, there is a differential fee for certification. The fee structure for certification is: NWCOA Member/Nonmember

Initial application fee for Certified Wildlife Control Professional $200.00/ $450.00



Renewal application fee for Certified Wildlife Control Professional $150.00/ $350.00.

7.2 Fees shall be reviewed periodically and set by the governing board of NWCOA at levels sufficient to sustain the program.

Signed: _______________________________________, Secretary, NWCOA

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