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Ten Questions People Ask About Becoming a Humane Educator

ASPCA Humane Education

Ten Questions People Ask About
Becoming a Humane Educator

Do I need a degree in education? Do I need experience?
Different organizations have different job requirements. Certainly a degree will help you understand education, instruction, curriculum development and how to teach to different audiences. In addition, professional educators will take you and your program more seriously if you have a degree.

I have a degree in education. Is that enough?
No. The education world is constantly changing. New ideas and methods are continually being developed. Education is a life-long process: keep reading, networking and taking classes. Keep active and up-to-date.

Do I need to be a “people person”?
If you’re not, this is not the job for you. Humane educators must be friendly, approachable and outgoing. They must truly enjoy working with people.

How much do I need to know about kids?
You need to understand child development. More specifically, you need to understand how children learn at different stages in their lives. Programs must be age appropriate to be effective.

Do I need to know a lot about animals and animal issues?
Yes. You need to know a great deal about both animals and animal issues. If you haven’t already, you should gain experience working or volunteering at a humane organization. It also is important to keep up with the latest trade publications.

Will I be working with many different audiences?
Yes. Humane education is not just for kids. It is important to remember that people learn in different ways. Some learn by hearing, some by seeing and others by doing. In order to reach the members of your audience, you need to understand who they are and how they learn.

Do I have to speak in front of crowds?
Yes. Humane educators need to be comfortable with speaking in front of audiences. They must be organized, interesting and interactive, and have good presentation and classroom management skills. In addition, they must be ready to modify their program at a moment’s notice.

Can I be a humane educator from my office?
Organization and development are a large part of the education process, but educators must be willing to roll up their sleeves and become more directly involved. They must be energetic and flexible, and be able to work on many projects at the same time.

Do I need to be a good writer?
Yes. Good writing and computer skills are a must. You will need to write letters and articles, and create programs.

What exactly will I be doing?
Humane educators do many different things. They are teachers, volunteer coordinators, public relations specialists, animal behavior counselors and community outreach representatives. They give presentations, develop programs and materials, and work with members of the community to help them better understand how to treat animals.

You don’t have to have the title of “humane educator” to be one. Everyone can help spread the message of respect.

© 2001 ASPCA

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