Membership Levels of the APBC & What They Mean

pet dog The Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors was founded in 1989 to promote and develop the profession of pet behaviour counselling and standardise the service provided.

It promotes full members as those who have achieved the appropriate standards in order to provide assurance to the veterinary profession wishing to refer cases and to the pet owning public.

It offers a network of specialist counsellors throughout the UK and internationally, to whom veterinarians can confidently refer clients.

In order for veterinarians to feel confident about referrals, members of the APBC have to have the highest professional standards, knowledge and expertise.

Full Membership of the APBC is available to new applicants who have current Certification as a Clinical Animal Behaviourist (CCAB) by the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour (ASAB). This scheme has been developed for independent accreditation for pet behaviour counselling in the UK and is supported by the APBC.

Prior to March 2016, applications for full membership involved a rigorous selection procedure to ensure that they meet the APBC’s stringent criteria. The APBC has now closed all applications under this older system.

In light of the growing number of academic courses in the field of companion animal behaviour and other biological sciences, coupled with the ever-increasing establishment of pet behaviour counselling as a profession, the Association offers three other tiers of membership, Student, Provisional and Academic. Student and Provisional membership levels complement progression towards CCAB, so that the APBC can support individuals undertaking this career path.



Full members are practising behaviour counsellors who have achieved at least a higher degree level education in companion animal behaviour and related subjects, obtained relevant practical experience, and who have been in practice for a minimum of one year. Prior to the application system closing on the 31st March 2016, full membership was gained by the individual having had four referenced case studies scrutinized by the application selection committee, comprised of full members of the APBC. Since this date Full membership can only be gained by achieving accreditation as a Certificated Clinical Animal Behaviourist through the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour (ASAB). Many pet insurance companies cover, at least in part, fees charged by full members.



Provisional membership is available for those who have achieved relevant academic accreditation to degree level or higher (FHEC Level 6); sufficient to begin the pre-certification process for CCAB and continue on to the pathway for CCAB accreditation. Provisional members are also able to conduct behaviour consultations but have not yet achieved the requisite experience to become Full Members.



Student membership is available for those who are in the process of achieving qualifications in companion animal behaviour counselling or a relevant qualification starting at FHEQ level 4 (HNC) or above (eg. BSc, Hons Degree or equivalent). Students must note that to progress to Provisional and Full membership, where they will be supported by the APBC when seeing cases but not before, they will require accreditation at FHEQ Level 6 or above (BSc, Hons Degree or equivalent), as per the academic requirements identified by ASAB for progression towards CCAB.  In order to become a Full Member of the APBC, student and provisional members must first become a Certificated Clinical Animal Behaviourist with ASAB. This involves meeting the academic requirements and then completing supervised experience. The APBC can support you through this process, Student members can complete Level 1 Supervised Experience required for the CCAB certification, preparing them for a time when they have completed academic training to the required standard and have sufficient knowledge to ensure efficacy, animal welfare standards and due care of the owners and their pets seeking help. Student membership can be held for 8 years by which time they must progress to Provisional membership. 



Academic Membership is open for those not in practice, but who are involved in research in Companion Animal Behaviour. Entry level is a minimum of MSc. Individuals are required to submit a research paper they have published in a peer-reviewed journal or provide confirmation of their position in a research department with their application.


Retirement membership is available to all Full and Provisional members who have retired from clinical practice, but who wish to continue their support and remain involved with the APBC.