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How to Become a Certified Pet Sitter

Updated February 21, 2017

Pet-sitting is a lucrative business opportunity for the passionate animal lover or empty-nester with a good head for business. Like any other profession, there are standards and an initial training period that sets apart the serious pet-sitter from the hobbyist who is hoping to find some clients willing to let them look in on their pets. There is a lot more to pet-sitting than simply placing an ad in the local paper, putting up a website and waiting for the calls to come in. Instead, becoming and staying competitive is crucial for the up and coming pet-sitting business and learning how to become a certified pet-sitter with the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS) or an accredited pet-sitting facility with the Pet Care Services Association (PCSA) is a key decision to make. Follow these easy steps and you learn not only how to become a certified pet-sitter—or accredited pet-sitting facility--but also bolster your marketability.

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  1. Start your pet-sitting business and choose a business name. Complete all the legal requirements that identify your business as a sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation.

  2. Boot up your computer and log on to the NAPPS website. From the home page, navigate to the “become a member” tab. Choose the option which works best for you. Usually this will be a company membership. The cost for joining NAPPS as a company is £104 and entitles you to all the benefits membership has to offer for one full year.

  3. Return to NAPPS’ home page once your membership has been approved. Scroll down and click on the “apply for certification” information option.

  4. Read through the requirements for anyone wishing to undergo certification. Even though hands-on experience is not required, it is helpful. If you feel that you are well versed in basic veterinary techniques and also have a good grasp of cat and dog management, you may try taking the certification test immediately. Otherwise it is strongly suggested that you purchase the home study course that comes with a video explaining the business aspects of pet-sitting and a cat owner’s and a dog owner’s home veterinary handbook. The cost for the home-study course and exam is £156. If you just want to take the exam without purchasing the home-study materials, the cost is £81.

  5. Review all of the materials you receive and be diligent in your study! When you are ready to show what you know, request the certification exam process to begin. You may now take a written quiz that will be graded and tallied by a NAPPS official.

  6. Score 70% or higher to pass the NAPPS exam and become a certified NAPPS pet sitter; this translates into earning at least 92 points of 131 possible points.

  7. Access the Internet with your computer and log on to the PSCA website. Scroll down the home page until you find on the left side the option entitled “join us!” Click on this link and you are taken to the membership section.

  8. Choose your membership level. If you wish to become an active member, you need to have your pet-sitting facility already operational, and you might also already be providing this service. If you are not yet active in the pet-sitting business, choose the auxiliary membership open to those who are still considering entering the business.

  9. Click on the “join us form” link after you make your membership level decision and fill out all the information required. Pay your membership fee—active and auxiliary members pay £146 per year—and your membership request is processed.

  10. Opt for the “accreditation” link next. Since the PCSA includes pet-care service providers like kennels, pet transporters, mobile groomers and others, it is important to remember that when the materials speak of facility accreditation, this actually refers to broad standards which will be specifically applied to your business. This accreditation is perfect for the pet-sitter who provides pet-sitting services at a location other than the client’s home. In some cases, this may be a dog day care facility, while at other times, it simply means that your home will serve as the primary care location for an animal in the absence of its owner.

  11. Click on the “enrol online” option to be included in the PCSA accreditation process and read through the standards required. You will be scheduled for an inspection by a PSCA officially, and upon successfully passing it, you will be offered accreditation. The cost for the process is £975.

  12. Tip

    Individual memberships to NAPPS are only open to employees currently working for a NAPPS member company. Accreditation through PSCA is not really necessary for the pet-sitter working at the client’s location. It is more important, however, when a pet-sitting service operates a designated site where pets may be taken to. If you function as a pet-sitter and a kennel, dog day care or pet-sitting facility, it is a good idea to receive both pet-sitter certification and facility accreditation.

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About the Author

Based in the Los Angeles area, Sylvia Cochran is a seasoned freelance writer focusing on home and garden, travel and parenting articles. Her work has appeared in "Families Online Magazine" and assorted print and Internet publications.

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