University of Florida offers online graduate certificate in animal shelter leadership


This dog was cared for at UF through the college’s Veterinary Community Outreach Program prior to its return to a local shelter for adoption. (File photo)

The University of Florida has expanded its educational offerings for animal welfare with a new graduate certificate in animal shelter leadership. This certificate will benefit veterinarians, veterinary technicians, animal control officers, shelter operations staff and many more professionals in the field, and will help professionals understand the unique responsibilities of leading animal welfare organizations.

“Leaders of animal shelters have responsibilities that are unique to the profession of animal welfare,” said Dr. Terry Spencer, director of the Online Shelter Medicine program. “For example, they might need to enforce and modify local animal-control ordinances, communicate with both elected officials and appointed boards, collaborate with state public health officials and maintain excellent community relations so that adequate funds, volunteers, and staff are always available to support the life-saving mission of the animal shelter.”

In this program, students will learn key skills that will help them effectively lead, manage, raise funds, market and coordinate a variety of shelter operations such as animal control, adoptions, fosters and infectious disease control.

“These are crucial practices for successful management of stray and rescue animal populations, which is vital to community public health,” Spencer said.

The graduate certificate is a part of the animal welfare and forensic studies provided by the William R. Maples Center for Forensic Medicine, which is an interdisciplinary partnership of UF’s Colleges of Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and Liberal Arts and Sciences. The certificate can be completed in as little as one year.

Complete details on the program, admission requirements, and tuition can be found at

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