CAWA Recertification Requirements
Share |

Completing your Recertification Application? Click here to access the Certification Portal

Barring certification suspension or revocation, CAWA certification is valid for three (3) years and may be renewed by meeting all recertification requirements within the published timeframes for completion.

Certification is valid from the date the certification exam was passed through 31 December three years after the 31 December immediately following the initial certification date.

To recertify for subsequent three-year periods, a total of 60 “points” of continuing professional development (CPD) must be earned within the three-year certification period--with at least one (1) CPD point earned per calendar year during a certificant’s recertification period, except in exigent circumstances—and the recertification fee must be paid.

The points can be earned through a combination of the following educational and experiential activities; of the 60 CPD points required, at least 50% (30 CPD points) must be in either Continuing Education or Teaching and Training.

NEW: How to How to Add Activities towards Recertification

NEW: The Association Learning Center

NEW: Past SAWA/The Association Conference Brochures for reference when adding CEs for recertification:

2016:  Management     Annual
2017:  Management     Annual
2018:  Management     Annual

Continuing Education

Examples include:  Seminars and workshops at national and state animal welfare conferences; asynchronous, synchronous, and blended internet-based courses and webinars; The Association conferences; college or university courses; etc. (if consistent with further development of relevant professional knowledge, to be determined at The Association’s discretion).

  • Points are earned at the rate of one (1) point per clock hour of instructional time. Please note that breaks, meals, and networking segments do not count as instructional time. Instructional time is rounded down to the nearest quarter-hour. Fractions of a point smaller than 0.25 cannot be earned.

  • See the section below, entitled “What Specifically Qualifies for Continuing Education (CE) Points Towards CAWA Recertification,” for further details.

  • Continuing education may be pre-approved by The Association upon application by the education provider. Continuing education that is not pre-approved will be reviewed for approval during the recertification process.

  • For courses from an accredited college or university: Ten (10) CAWA CPD points are earned per successfully completed semester credit hour, seven (7) points are earned per trimester credit hour, and five (5) points are earned per quarter credit hour.
    • The college or university must be accredited by an accrediting body that is recognized by either the United States Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (or authorized / accredited by an appropriate national or regional authority or global accrediting organization).

What Specifically Qualifies for Continuing Education (CE) Points Towards CAWA Recertification?

  1. The course, class, seminar, webinar, or presentation ("CE Activity") must be at least thirty (30) minutes long.
  2. Any CE Activity that has been pre-approved by The Association as eligible for CAWA recertification points.
  3. Any CE Activity that is already approved for continuing education credits by the following professional certification or licensing programs:
    • Veterinary Technician or Veterinarian licensing
    • CPA (accounting)
    • PHR/SPHR (human resources)
    • CFRE/AFP  (fundraising)
    • PRSA/APR (public relations)
    • State Bar Associations (legal)
  4. CPD activities completed during a CAWA’s current recertification period cannot be counted towards that CAWA’s next recertification period.
  5. The CE Activity must be verifiable. CAWAs must provide the CE Activity title, session date and location, instructor’s name, sponsoring institution’s or provider’s name and contact information, and the number of clock hours of actual instructional time (not counting breaks, meals, or networking segments).
  6. CAWAs are strongly encouraged to keep records, receipts, registration forms, and certificates associated with the CE Activity for one year after the CAWA’s next recertification date, in case the CE Activity provider’s records are compromised.
  7. Acceptable topical content for CE Activity (i.e., topics that enhance the professional competence of CAWAs) is content that aligns with the CAWA Exam Specifications / Topical Blueprint, as identified in the Applicant Guide.

Teaching and Training

Teaching training courses or presenting educational content at professional conferences.

  • For teaching, two (2) CAWA CPD points are earned per clock hour of instruction. Please note that breaks, meals, and networking segments do not count as instructional time. Instructional time is rounded down to the nearest quarter-hour. Fractions of a point smaller than 0.25 cannot be earned.

Leadership and Professional Involvement

  • Actively serving on a board, council, or committee directly aligned with the topics in the CAWA exam specifications.
    For board or committee service, three (3) CAWA CPD points are earned per year of service for any portion of the year.


Authoring published content in a book or peer-reviewed professional journal, on a topic aligned with the CAWA exam specifications.

  • For authoring, requests for three (3) CAWA CPD points per publication may be submitted to the SAWA Certification Council for final determination. Please include a copy of the published content with your request.

CAWAs are encouraged to submit all CPD activities, to accurately reflect CAWAs’ commitment to the animal welfare, care, and control community.

Quality Control

A random sample of recertification applicants is selected each year for verification of self-reported recertification activity; failure to provide verification documentation may result in a denial of recertification or other sanctions, as appropriate.

Failure to Recertify

If the requirements for renewing certification are not met and submitted (with the recertification application and fee) by the certification expiration date, certification will expire; former certificants may no longer describe themselves as CAWAs and may not use the CAWA certification mark.  Individuals who are not currently certified as CAWAs who misuse the CAWA certification mark will be subject to legal action.  

The CAWA reinstatement policy enables expired credentials to be reinstated within 12 months of expiration by earning additional CPD points outside of the three-year recertification period.  Thereafter, certification may only be regained by applying for initial certification, meeting the eligibility requirements in effect at the time of the new application, and taking and passing the CAWA certification exam.

CAWA Recertification Fees (every three years)

To take advantage of the Member rate, applicants must be a Member of The Association in good standing when the recertification application is submitted; the difference between the Member and nonmember rate will not be refunded if a membership is subsequently purchased by an applicant who was a nonmember at the time of application. For more information regarding membership in The Association, please visit the membership page.

Recertification fees may increase over time; CAWAs are subject to the recertification fee in effect at the time the recertification application is submitted.

To submit your continuing professional development, log onto the CAWA certification program portal. Any questions, let us know at


  • 15508 W. Bell Rd

  • Suite 101-613, Surprise, AZ 85374

  • Phone: (888) 600-3648

  • Fax: (866) 299-1311