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Certified Wildlife Rehabilitator™

A mark of excellence you carry wherever you go.


Download the CWR™ Applicant's Handbook for more information including exam topics and a study guide.

What is Professional Certification?

Professional certification is a designation given to an individual who has demonstrated the knowledge and/or skills needed to perform a specific job.  Certification is generally a voluntary process created by representatives of a specific vocation to establish and promote high standards among its practitioners.  

Why does wildlife rehabilitation need a professional certification program?

Many vocations require a specific degree from an accredited educational institution. These educational pre-requisites are established in an attempt to insure that everyone involved has demonstrated a level of competency in related areas of study.  In the care-giving vocations, these requirements are an attempt to ensure a minimum standard of care.

Because the field of wildlife rehabilitation is a fairly new vocation, the requirements for becoming a legal practitioner are in constant flux and vary widely around the world. Depending on geographic area, one individual may be required to undergo a lengthy apprenticeship followed by a challenging qualifier exam prior to being allowed to practice rehabilitation, while in other areas the individual may not need to demonstrate any knowledge or skill at all.  This challenges the credibility of our field and our work.

Professional certification provides a reliable validation of training and experience that accelerates professional development and enhances credibility.  Becoming a Certified Wildlife Rehabilitator shows permitting agency personnel, veterinarians, grant organizations, members of the public, and your fellow rehabilitators that you are committed to professionalism and providing the highest quality care.

How do I become a Certified Wildlife Rehabilitor?

Wildlife rehabilitator certification is exam-based. The only requirement to become a Certified Wildlife Rehabilitator (CWR) is to take and pass the CWR exam.

The Certified Wildlife Rehabilitator program is available to all that apply--there are no eligibility requirements. 

Although IWRC will act as the certification body, CWR applicants are not required to be a member of IWRC or any other organization, nor is there a requirement to take classes or purchase publications from any organization, permitting agency, community college, or university.  The only requirement to become certified is to take and pass the CWR exam.

To encourage the highest level of knowledge, skill and competence, certification renewal is required every two years. Renewal is based on the accrual of continuing education units (CEU's). CEU's are available from a wide variety of sources.

Download the CWR™ Applicant's Handbook for more information including exam topics and a study guide.


Apply Online

  CWR™ Applicant's Handbook

  CWR™ Application

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Looking for a Certified Wildlife Rehabilitator™?

Check the CWR Registry


Certification Renewal

Approved Continuing Education Units (CEU)

CEU Approval Request

© 2006 International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council