Animal Control Officer

group of diverse medical professionals taking care of a dog

Bergen Community College offers the New Jersey Department of Health approved Animal Control Officer (ACO) course. Anyone who has a personal or professional interest in animal welfare is welcome to attend.  This includes those working in kennels, shelters, rescue organizations, and volunteer organizations as well as those looking to pursue a fulfilling career in animal management.

Successful completion of this course meets the requirements of the N.J.A.C. 8:23A-2.2 for appointment as an ACO by a New Jersey Municipality.  Additionally, this is the only Certified ACO course whose graduates receive certification by the Emergency Care and Safety Institute for Pet First Aid and Incident Command Systems 100 and National Incident Management 700 by the National Wildlife Fire Coordinating Group.

Over the course of seven Saturdays, students will have the opportunity to be taught by, interact with, and build relationships with the foremost experts in the State of New Jersey regarding animal control and animal welfare.

Completion of the course requires attendance at all classes.

In addition to the classroom component, students will arrange for and complete a 20-hour field training component in order to receive certification.

Program Eligibility

  • Must be 18 years of age or older
  • A high school diploma, or High School Equivalency is required
  • No transcripts, SAT, ACT or other standardized exams are required

Animal Control Officer | CD-072

NEW! Direct Support Professionals Career Development Program (DSP)

Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) provide necessary support and services to people with disabilities of all ages, including support related to employment. They work with individuals with physical, mental or developmental disabilities who need support with daily tasks and community engagement.

  • Assisting clients with daily tasks, including cooking, shopping, attending appointments, housekeeping, and medication management
  • Instructing and motivating individuals to perform specific tasks independently
  • Providing guidance on essential life skills, including interpersonal interactions, seeking assistance, financial management, and more
  • Maintaining records of a clients’ personal information, encompassing casework notes, daily activities, medication logs, financial documents, and behavioral assessments

DSP Qualifications

  • Candidates must be able to work within the community or in a home-based setting.
  • DSPs should exhibit patience and empathy under stressful circumstances. 
  • Interpersonal and excellent communication skills with all levels of personnel are a must.
  • Good moral character, dependability and maintaining confidentiality are required.
  • Proficiency with educational technology and observation skills for reporting are essential.
  • Candidates must have the strength and agility to handle physical aspects of the job, including lifting, carrying, pushing, and bending.

Program Eligibility

  • Applicants must be 18 or older and legally eligible to work in the United States.
  • Individuals with high school diplomas or equivalent, who pass the background check, are eligible.
  • Current high school seniors are eligible but need to be 18 years old at the internship commencement.
  • A valid New Jersey driver’s license with fewer than 5 points in moving violations is required.
  • No previous experience is necessary.

Program Highlights

  • Receive comprehensive training on DSP competencies at no cost to students.
  • Earn up to six (6) college credits applicable to an Associate of Arts Degree in Sociology at Bergen Community College*.
  • Access employer connections for internships and employment as a DSP.
  • Eligible DSP candidates receive a up to $5,000 stipend.
  • Establish a career pathway for professional growth in the human and social service industry.
*Students will earn six (6) credits applicable to an Associate of Arts Degree in Sociology at Bergen Community College if desired upon enrollment in the matriculated program.

Program Components

  • Complete DSP competency modules, including the DSP certificate course, CDS training, Mental Health, PersonAbility, and Basic Life Support.
  • Successfully finish two college-level courses.
  • Participate in required orientations and events.
  • Complete a minimum 80-hour internship: a minimum of eight (8) hours per week for 10 weeks.
  • Work as a DSP for at least one year, committing a minimum of 20 hours per week after completing the program.

Program Application

  • We are currently accepting applications for the Spring 2024 cohort starting from March 2024 to August 2024.
  • Fill out the application including your resume.
  • After the application is submitted, selected candidates will receive an invitation for an in-person interview.


The Direct Support Professionals Career Development Program is made possible by a grant from the New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education.



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