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©Emma Buckardt

Certification Programs

The Wildlife Society supports the development and advancement of wildlife professionals throughout their careers. Certification constitutes recognition by TWS that, to its best knowledge, a member meets the minimum educational, experience, and ethical standards adopted by the Society for professional wildlife biologists. 

TWS’ membership currently consists of more than 400 Associate Wildlife Biologists® and 1,900 Certified Wildlife Biologists®.

TWS’ Certification Program is managed by Council via the Certification Review Board.

In light of the recent changes to academic programs due to precautions surrounding COVID-19, otherwise known as the coronavirus, the Certification Review Board (CRB) would like to assure students and professionals that courses taken with a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grading option will not affect their ability to apply for TWS certification.

Students receiving a “Satisfactory” grade will be able to include this coursework toward certification. The CRB and The Wildlife Society commend educators for their rapid response to continue providing high quality learning environments for your students and for allowing flexibility during these stressful times.

We appreciate your continuing efforts to support and enhance professionalism in the wildlife profession. If you have any questions please contact Jennifer Murphy, Certification and Outreach Manager, at certification@wildlife.org or 301-897-9770 x305.

Levels of Certification

  • Associate Wildlife Biologist®

    An individual who has completed rigorous academic standards and is judged able to represent the profession as an ethical practitioner will be designated as an Associate Wildlife Biologist®. The AWB® certification is granted for 10 years and cannot be renewed. An AWB® certified individual can upgrade to Certified Wildlife Biologist® during the 10 year time period once the necessary experience requirements are obtained.

  • Certified Wildlife Biologist®

    An individual with the educational background and demonstrated expertise in the art and science of applying the principles of ecology to the conservation and management of wildlife and its habitats, and is judged able to represent the profession as an ethical practitioner, will be designated as a Certified Wildlife Biologist®. The CWB® certification is valid for 5 years and may be renewed (see below).

  • Qualified Airport Wildlife Biologist

    Eligible Certified Wildlife Biologists® may add the Qualified Airport Wildlife Biologist (QAWB) designation to their credentials. Applicants must meet the qualifications laid out in FAA’s Advisory Circular 150/5200-36B regarding education, training and an approved Wildlife Hazard Assessment.

    To obtain the QAWB designation through TWS, applicants must meet the following requirements:

    • Be approved by TWS as a Certified Wildlife Biologist®
    • Take and pass an airport wildlife hazard management training course acceptable to the FAA Administrator
    • Provide documentation of either:
      • Having conducted at least one Wildlife Hazard Assessment acceptable to the FAA Administrator
      • Having conducted at least one year of continual wildlife hazard monitoring at a certificated airport using FAA-approved methodology

    To maintain this designation, applicants will need to complete at least one of the following within five years of initial FAA-approved airport wildlife hazard management training course, and every five years after:

    Note: QAWBs previously approved by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University will be grandfathered into the TWS QAWB program but must continue to complete FAA-approved training courses and maintain membership in TWS to retain the designation.

    For questions about the QAWB designation or how to apply for QAWB status, contact Jennifer Murphy, Certification and Outreach Manager, at certification@wildlife.org.

  • How to Apply

    TWS membership is required to apply for certification and to retain valid certification. Before submitting an application, become a member of The Wildlife Society.

    1. Complete the appropriate application form (download forms below).
    2. Submit the application to certification@wildlife.org.
    3. Submit transcripts and other supporting materials, if applicable. Materials need to be submitted via email.
    4. Submit application payment via the online payment form that will be emailed to you upon application submission (see Application Fees below).

    Applications are accepted on a continuing basis. Applicants should be notified of a final decision on their application within 6 months of all application materials and payment being received.

  • Applications

    Submit all applications to certification@wildlife.org.  Applications will be processed once all materials – including the application form, transcripts (if required), supporting documents, and payment – have been received. All applications need to be filled out using Adobe Reader software.

    Associate Wildlife Biologist® Application – This application is for individuals who have met the education requirements but have not yet obtained at least 5 years of professional-level wildlife experience in the previous 10 years.
    Certified Wildlife Biologist® Application – This application is for individuals who have met both the education and experience requirements, and have not previously been certified as either an Associate or Certified Wildlife Biologist®. If approved, CWB® certification must be renewed every 5 years to remain valid.
    Upgrade (AWB® to CWB®) Application – This application is for individuals who have previously been certified as an Associate Wildlife Biologist® and have now acquired at least 5 years of professional-level experience to be qualified for the Certified Wildlife Biologist® designation.
    Associate Wildlife Biologist® Extension Application – This application is for individuals who have previously been certified as an Associate Wildlife Biologist® and are seeking Certified Wildlife Biologist® designation, but do not yet have the full 5 years of professional-level experience necessary to submit an Upgrade application.

    *Please note: We are no longer accepting old AWB®/CWB®/Upgrade certification applications (those downloaded before July 1, 2016).

  • Application Fees

    Application fees can be submitted via credit card. Once an applicant submits their application to certification@wildlife.org, they will be emailed a credit card payment form that must be completed before the application can be processed.

    • Associate Wildlife Biologist® Application:  $115 or $95*
    • Certified Wildlife Biologist® Application:  $155
    • Upgrade (AWB® to CWB®) Application:  $75
    • Associate Wildlife Biologist® Extension Application:  $25

    *Applicants meeting certain incentive criteria can pay a reduced AWB® application fee of $95.  See application for details.

  • Learn More

    Read the Wildlife Biologist Certification Program Policies and Procedures Manual.

    View our May 2020 webinar on TWS’ Certification Program.

    Check out our answers to some frequently asked questions.

    If you a still have some questions or need any assistance with your application, please contact certification@wildlife.org.

CWB® Renewal Application

CWB® renewal is required every five years for all CWBs® who were not grandfathered in under the certification requirements prior to 2000. If you have questions about your CWB® status, contact certification@wildlife.org or check your certification status by logging into your membership portal and navigating to “TWS Network Online Directory”.

In order to attain certification renewal, professionals must log 80 Continuing Education Units within five years that meet the requirements in one or more of the six professional activity categories. By renewing CWB® certification, professionals demonstrate their commitment to excellence through continued learning and professional development. Renewal encourages the maintenance and advancement of high technical and social skills needed by today’s wildlife professionals.

CWB® Renewal Fee: $25

Submit a CWB® Renewal application to certification@wildlife.org. Applications need to be filled out using Adobe Reader software.


©Marisa Armijo