Image Credit: USFWS
Image Credit: USFWS

The following is a list of frequently asked questions. If you are unsure about a particular question or if you have a question not listed here, please contact

Do I need to be a current member of TWS in order to apply for certification?
Yes. In order to apply for AWB® certification, CWB® certification, CWB® certification renewal, or a Professional Development Certificate, you must be a current member of The Wildlife Society. If you are approved for certification, certification renewal, or a Professional Development Certificate, your TWS membership (at the main, international level) must also remain current in order for your certification status to remain active.

Do I need to submit official versions of my transcripts?
Electronic copies of original, electronic certified, or unofficial academic transcripts are accepted. Evidence of conferral of degree(s) should be either the graduation date(s) imprinted on the transcript(s), a copy of the diploma, or, when necessary, an official letter from the academic institution confirming completion of degree requirements. Transfer credits must be listed explicitly by course on the accepting institution’s transcript or the official transcript from the original institution must be submitted. Alteration of transcripts in an attempt to falsify grades or evidence of degree conferral will result in rejection of the application and will be reported to the President as a possible Code of Ethics violation.

Do I need to include my transcripts if I already submitted this information while applying for the AWB® certificate?
You only need to include transcripts if you desire credit for classes or degrees taken after you submitted your AWB® application. For example, if you want to count a Master’s or Ph.D. study as professional experience, then include your graduate school transcript, and provide an explanation of what was involved in your study.

Can I still apply for AWB® or CWB® certification if I’m missing a class in one category?
Yes, you may apply for AWB® or CWB® certification if you are missing one class, provided you gained similar experience through other means (workshop, continuing education, work, etc). Please note that at least one course must be taken in each category, and any specific category requirement must be met. Please provide sufficient detail as to why this alternative experience should be accepted as a substitute for taking a class, and consider including letters of recommendation within your application package that specifically reference this experience.

What do I do if I am unsure if a class will count within a specific category?
You can send any coursework-related inquiries to to receive assistance and recommendations. However, final decisions on coursework are not made until after applications are submitted and reviewed by the Certification Review Board.

Can I count wildlife technician work as professional work experience?
Sometimes. If your working title states “wildlife technician,” you may apply this work experience provided you explain how your role provided you with management experience and independent decision making directly related to wildlife. Traditional wildlife technician roles do not count.

Can I count work I did while in school as an undergraduate towards the five years required professional work experience?
No. Professional work experience is counted after you graduate and are in a job that requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree.

Can I count my graduate research project as professional work experience?
Yes, you may substitute your graduate thesis and dissertation for up to three years of professional work experience (up to one year for a master’s degree, up to two years for a Ph.D., and up to three years for holding both). The applicant should specifically request that graduate work be counted as professional experience and include job descriptions just as for any other professional position(s) for which they are requesting consideration. Please include your graduate school transcript, provide an explanation of what was involved in your study, and why you feel your study should count as a substitution for one, two, or three years of professional experience.

How do I calculate semester hours if my school used quarter hours?
If your school awards class credit in quarter hours, please convert them to semester hours using the following formula: 1.5 quarter hours = 1 semester hour. For example, a 5 quarter hour course would be comparable to a 3.33 semester hour course.

If I transferred schools, do I need to submit a transcript from both schools or will one transcript suffice?
You may use one transcript as long as it shows the courses transferred, grades received, and semester/quarter hours awarded.

If my address, phone number, or email changed since I applied, how do I change this information on my certification application?
Please submit any changes in your contact information to

Do all three professional references have to be Certified Wildlife Biologists®?
No. While it is strongly recommended that all three professional references be CWBs®, it is not a current requirement. A minimum of one professional reference must be a CWB® for CWB® applications. Associate Wildlife Biologist® applicants are encouraged, but are not required, to include at least one professional reference that is a current Certified Wildlife Biologist®.

Do I have to use the school’s course catalog description when describing all the classes I took?
No, you may provide your own descriptions.

If my AWB® certification expired already, and I did not receive the required five years of professional work experience within the 10 year AWB® expiration date, can I still apply for the CWB® certificate?
Yes you may, as long as you have received five years of professional work experience within a ten year time frame. However, depending on the date in which the applicant received AWB® status, the Professional Development Coordinator may request that the applicant resubmit their educational experience.

Can I apply for a Professional Development Certificate without applying for an AWB® or CWB® certificate?
Yes. The only additional requirement for applying for a Professional Development Certificate is to be a current member of The Wildlife Society.

What does the certification trademark mean?
After you are approved as an AWB® or CWB® and hold current membership in TWS, you may put the AWB® or CWB® title after your name followed by the ® trademark symbol. For Example: John Smith, Certified Wildlife Biologist ®. You may also use the certification logo. Please contact if you would like the logo to be emailed to you.

Will courses taken with a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grading option count toward certification?
Yes. In light of the 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.