TWS Wildlife Biologist Certification for UNBC Students

In British Columbia, the College of Applied Biology (CAB) is the legislated self-regulating professional organization mandated to oversee the profession of applied biology. All biologists working in BC must be accredited through the CAB, and UNBC’s BSc Wildlife and Fisheries meets the course requirements for CAB certification.

The Wildlife Society (TWS), a North American-wide organization of wildlife professionals, also offers a separate certification program for Wildlife Biologists that may be of interest for wildlife biologists practicing outside of BC, or as an additional accreditation for BC wildlife biologists.

Below is an overview of the TWS program with specifics about applying after completing a BSc in Wildlife and Fisheries at UNBC — interested students may want to use this information while selecting their courses so that they can fulfill the course requirements for TWS certification.

In 1977, TWS initiated the Wildlife Biologist Certification Program to promote and strengthen professional standards for wildlife biologists. The program judges prospective applicants based on four considerations: educational depth, experience as a practicing professional, TWS membership, and  a commitment to TWS’s Code of Ethics. The Canadian Section of TWS has prepared a brochure on Certification, and more details can be found on the TWS Certification website.

There are two levels of certification provided by TWS: an Associate Wildlife Biologist (AWB) and a Certified Wildlife Biologist (CWB). An AWB  has completed academic standards and is judged able to represent the profession as an ethical practitioner. AWB certification is granted for 10 years and cannot be renewed. An AWB-certified individual can upgrade to CWB during the 10-year period once the necessary experience requirements are obtained.

The TWS Certification Review Board (CRB) does not provide approval to specific degree programs. Rather each student must make an application and make the case for why their courses meet certification requirements. The CRB, however, has reviewed UNBC’s BSc Wildlife and Fisheries degree courses and made some recommendations as to which courses likely meet specific requirements. This summary table maps those suggestions into the BSc Wildlife and Fisheries course requirements. Students should use those suggestions both when completing the AWB application and ideally when making elective course selections for their degree.

Slides from a March 2019 presentation on TWS Certification for UNBC students can be downloaded.