FAQ

Got questions? We got answers!

Who should become certified?

If you are a veterinary professional who would like to create a calming experience for your patients, enhance the quality of medicine in your practice, increase compliance, and improve safety for your team, the Fear Free Certification Program is for you. Although the course is geared towards clinical settings, any pet professional could benefit from becoming certified.

Why should I become certified?

As a veterinary and pet professional, you have joined this profession to look after the well-being of pets. Fear Free will give you the opportunity to not only look after the physical, but the emotional well-being of your patients. Your clients will realize what a difference in experience a Fear Free visit is, and will start looking for Fear Free certified professionals. Pet owners can find Fear Free certified professionals in our online directory and you will want to make sure you are part of that listing!

Can practices become Fear Free certified?

The Fear Free Practice Certification launched in April 2018. For more information on practice certification, click here.

Can I purchase my renewal/Level 2/Level 3 course before my current membership expires?

Yes you can! If you want immediate access to either the Level 2 course, or the brand new Level 3 course, you can renew at any time. Your Fear Free membership will simply be extended for an additional 12 months. Note that completion of the Fear Free Certification program is a prerequisite for starting with Level 2, and that the completion of the Fear Free Certification Program and Level 2 is a prerequisite for starting with Level 3.

Who created the Fear Free certification program?

The Fear Free Certification Program modules were created by members of the Fear Free Executive Committee and highly regarded experts in the field, including board-certified veterinary behaviorists, veterinary technician behavior specialists, board certified veterinary anesthetists, well-known veterinary practice management experts, and boarded veterinary practitioners experienced in Fear Free methods.

What else will I get with Fear Free certification?

Fear Free certified professionals will have access to additional Fear Free online courses, a Fear Free Toolbox with downloadable resources for education and marketing, an educational library, and access to join our closed Facebook group.

Once certified, how can I let my community know I am Fear Free certified?

Fear Free certified professionals will be allowed to use the Fear Free certification logo on lab coats, business cards, and on the practice’s website. A RACE approved certificate of completion can also be printed and used for display. In addition, Fear Free will provide practices with poster artwork, a press template, and other Fear Free design items to use at the practice’s disposal.

How is Fear Free different from Cat Friendly and Low Stress?

The Cat Friendly Practice Program is a collaboration of mostly feline experts in practice who provide guidelines and recommendations specifically for cats. Developed by the late Sophia Yin, DVM, MS, low-stress handling applies to both cats and dogs, but is primarily focused on restraint techniques. Fear Free is a multifaceted, multispecies, and multi-focused movement developed by experts inside and outside of veterinary medicine. The Fear Free certification program expands on Cat Friendly and Low Stress in techniques and action plans beyond the exam room.

What happens if a veterinarian, technician, practice, or speaker uses Fear Free without being certified or without permission?

We take our Fear Free certification very seriously. If the Fear Free marks are being used without permission, legal action will be taken.

I’m interested in practice certification, but I’d like to know more. Can I see the standards before I apply?

Yes! When you are logged in, you can download the standards from the practice certification page.  You can also download the Practice Certification Supporting Examples & Resources PDF and view the Terms & Conditions.  If you do not have an active Fear Free membership, please email your request to wags@fearfreepets.com.

Do you have to be an AAHA member to become Fear Free certified?

You do not have to be an AAHA member to become Fear Free certified. Fear Free is a standalone program and certification.

Why should I renew my certification?

VETERINARY PROFESSIONALS
It’s the right thing to do.  Fear Free helps professionals deliver better care to their patients by looking after the physical and emotional well-being of their patients.  For only $99 per person, you will continue to attract an increased number of new clients, increase your client compliance and frequency of visits (as per the Fear Free study completed in December 2017).  Your renewal not only provides you with additional levels of Fear Free certification, but also the ability to use the certified professional designation in your marketing, be listed as one in our directory, gain continued access to complimentary courses, toolbox items, our closed Facebook group, preferred products, and more.  It’s your opportunity to be at the forefront of veterinary medicine and to help shape the future of the profession.  To find out more about renewals, please click here.

TRAINERS
It’s the right thing to do. Fear Free helps professionals deliver better care to their client’s pets by looking after their emotional well-being. For only $39, you will continue to attract an increased number of new clients and build lasting relationships with veterinary team members and work alongside them as a respectable referral. Your renewal provides you with the ability to use the certified professionals designation in your marketing, be listed as one in our directory, and gives you access to exceptional trainer specific educational courses as well as continued access to complimentary courses, toolbox items, our closed Facebook group, preferred products, and more. It’s your opportunity to be a leader in the training industry and help shape the future of the profession.

I am a certified professional, and a trainer. What are my options to renew?

As a certified professional and animal trainer, you have two options for renewals:
1) Renew under the veterinary professional course with Level 2, or
2) Renew by registering for the Animal Trainer Certification Course.

Each course is priced at $99 for already certified professionals. And if you would like, you can of course take both courses!

Is the Fear Free Certification Program RACE approved?

Yes! It is RACE approved for 9 hours of CE.

Where do I find options for attaining the required annual four (4) hours of Fear Free CE?

We provide additional Fear Free CE online that is either complimentary or at a discounted rate. Alternatively, in-person attendance at a Fear Free workshop or Fear Free track at any of the annual conferences counts towards the required Fear Free CE as well. Note that we are working on providing more complimentary CE and that individuals renewing between March 31 and May 1 are eligible for an extension to submit the required CE hours by May 31. You can find the additional online courses here.

I have not taken any Fear Free courses before. Can I take the Fear Free Animal Trainer Certification Program?

Yes! This course is designed for trainers without any previous Fear Free experience. You do need to, however, be certified/accredited or a diplomate of one of the organizations listed on our website in order to qualify for the course.

I already took the veterinary Fear Free Certification program, can I also complete the Fear Free Animal Trainer Certification Program?

Absolutely! This course is designed for animal trainers and will provide trainers with invaluable education and resources as it relates to working with Fear Free certified veterinary professionals. As an existing member, you will be able to take advantage of preferred pricing for this course of $99.

Can I take this course instead of the Level 2 course?

Yes, animal trainers are encouraged to take the Animal Trainer Certification Course rather than the Level 2 course, as it is written for trainers. To renew, simply purchase this course and email wags@fearfreepets.com so we can set it up as your renewal.

Help! I just renewed and would rather have the animal trainer course than the Level 2 course, can I swap them out?

Yes! Please email wags@fearfreepets.com and we will be happy to assist.

Will the animal trainer program offer a new course every year?

Yes, the Fear Free Animal Trainer Certification Program will offer a variety of courses throughout the year, which are available to our members. Some of those courses will be offered for free, others for a fee.

Who should be the person purchasing a group?

Groups are set up in a way that the person that creates the account and purchases the group is assigned a group leader role. A group leader is the only person on a team that is able to purchase registrations, assign courses to group members and edit group member information. A group leader is also automatically assigned whichever course you purchase – so one slot of each course you purchase will go to the group leader to take.

I am a student – how do I register for the Certification Program?

Fear Free values the veterinary student community and is pleased to offer a complimentary membership to Fear Free, including the Fear Free Certification Program, for one year. If you are an active student and are interested in becoming Fear Free certified, please visit the Student Page.

What are the requirements for renewing my trainer certification?

1. Fear Free requires two (2) hours of Fear Free specific CEU’s that will be available to you through your membership on the website as well as two (2) hours of additional CEU’s of your choice annually.
2. A renewal fee of $39 is due annually from the date you initially register and pay for the Fear Free Animal Trainer Program.

*These guidelines are mandatory to keep your certification active whether your specific credentials, license, or educational background requires it or not.

Who should take the Fear Free Animal Trainer Certification Course?

The Fear Free Animal Trainer Certification Course is written for experienced, and accredited/certified animal trainers. It is not suitable for professionals looking to become animal trainers; rather the Fear Free course is designed to be a way for existing trainers to increase their knowledge and skills. The course is designed to teach animal trainers with the knowledge, tools and skills to work alongside the veterinary team as a Fear Free professional.

How do I purchase additional registrations for my group?

To purchase additional registrations, simply click here. It will send you to the cart where you can select the number of registrations you would like to add. It will apply the appropriate per person cost for you.

How do I purchase renewals for Level 2 or Level 3 for my team?

Only group leaders and individuals are able to purchase renewals. If you are a group member, please connect with your group leader to receive your renewal.
Group leaders and individuals – To purchase renewals for either Level 2 or Level 3, click here. It will direct you to the individual certification page where you select your level of renewal and click on the hyperlink. It will send you to the appropriate course page, where you click on the button “Add Level 2/Add Level 3 to cart”. It will send you to the cart, where you can select the number of renewals you wish to purchase. Once purchased, you can go back to “Manage My Team” and assign the renewals to your team members.

How do I remove and replace team members?

We understand that teams change, so we want to make sure you have the ability to remove team members when they are no longer affiliated with your group, and fill their slots with new members. To do so, simply click on “remove” next to the team member. You will be allotted this option for up to 3 months after you initially register an individual into this slot. If you remove an individual within that first 3 months, a new spot will be opened back up for you to add a different team member. After 3 months of registering an individual, you will no longer have the option to remove them and will be prompted to purchase an additional registration slot for any new team members.

Why is there an option to edit my team members contact information?

The option to edit your team members’ contact information should ONLY be used if they are not working in the same practice you are. All of your team members will automatically inherit the address of your practice, which will be used for their mailings and their directory listing.

What does it take to become certified?

Fear Free certification requires professionals to successfully complete the online certification program. The online certification program is eight modules long with a twenty-question quiz at the end of each module that a professional must receive an 80% or better on in order to move forward.

How much does Fear Free Certification cost and how long is it valid?

Individual registration starts at $279 per person. Group registration starts at $1,399 for up to 10 individuals. Price breaks are offered to groups with more than 20 individuals. To learn more about larger group pricing, refer to the pricing grid here.

Fear Free Certification is valid for three years, but in order to keep your certification active and be eligible for renewal, the following criteria must be met:
• An annual renewal fee of $99 per person or what you paid at initial registration, whichever is lower. This applies to individuals as well as groups.
• Four (4) hours of Fear Free continuing education each year. Please note: The 9 CE hours earned from the Certification Program do not count toward the additional 4 CE hours you must earn annually to keep your certification active. This can be completed by taking some of the additional Fear Free courses online or in-person by attending a Fear Free workshop or Fear Free track at any of the annual conferences.

My practice wants to become certified, but we have not yet signed up any team members for certification. Can we go straight into the practice certification process?

No.  To be eligible for practice certification, a minimum of 25% of your team must be certified and have an active membership.  The 25% must include 100% of your managers/leadership team and 50%+1 of your FTE veterinarians.  An FTE employee is defined as working an average of > 35 hrs. per week.

How many team members have to be Fear Free Certified® before we can call ourselves a certified practice?

Having a minimum of 25% of your team (which must include 100% of your managers/leadership team and 50%+1 of your FTE veterinarians) is just the first step to becoming a Fear Free Certified Practice.  Practices are required to implement ~50 standards and successfully complete an onsite visit with a Practice Certification Veterinarian to earn practice certification. For additional details about eligibility requirements, click HERE.

To be eligible for practice certification, it says we have to have a minimum of 25% of our team Fear Free Certified® and have an active membership. What level of certification is required?

Team members are considered to be Fear Free Certified® when they have completed the  8-module Fear Free Certification Course, aka ‘Level 1’.  Your team is strongly encouraged to take advantage of the complimentary CE courses, such as Module 8: An Implementation Guide for Leaders, webinars and podcasts included in their individual memberships.

What does it mean to have an ‘active membership’?

An active membership is not expired.  If you can not access the website, you do not have an active membership.  Group Leaders can check their team members’ expiration dates via the ‘EXP DATE’ column in their ‘manage my team’ page.

To be eligible for practice certification, it says we need to have a minimum of 25% of our team Fear Free Certified® and have active memberships. We have 15 team members: do we need to have a minimum of 3 or 4?

Fear Free will round up any non-whole numbers. A practice with 15 team members would need a minimum of 4 team members to be  Fear Free Certified® and have active memberships.

15/4= 3.75, round up to 4.

If a practice has a large leadership team (e.g. multiple owners, multiple managers, multiple heads of departments etc.)  they could end up with more than 25% total people needing to be Fear Free Certified® and have active memberships to be eligible for practice certification.

To be eligible for practice certification, it says we need to have 50% +1 of our FTE veterinarians Fear Free Certified® and have active memberships. We have 5 FTE vets: do we need to have 3 or 4 to be Fear Free Certified® and have an active membership?

Fear Free will round up non-whole numbers.  A practice with 5 FTE veterinarians would need a minimum of 4 to be  Fear Free Certified® and have active memberships.

5/2= 2.5 +1= 3.5, round up to 4.

We have 2 practices, but they are owned by the same people. Do I have to pay separately to get each location certified?

Yes, each physical location must go through the process independently.  They must each meet the eligibility requirements, pay the $500 non-refundable deposit and successfully complete the onsite visit.

Once we start practice certification, how long do we have to complete it?

Your Group Leader will have access to the online self-assessment via his or her Practice Certification Dashboard for one (1) year.  HOWEVER, if your self-assessment is submitted more than 90 days after your application is approved, you may be required to renew some individual memberships to remain eligible for practice certification.  For additional information, click HERE.

After my application for practice certification is approved, how long will it take to get my onsite visit scheduled?

It will depend in part how far along you are in implementing the standards when you apply.  The further along you are, the faster you will be able to complete and submit your online self-assessment.   Once your self-assessment is approved by Fear Free, you will be given a minimum of three (3) dates to choose from to schedule your onsite visit.  At least one (1) of those dates will be within a  sixty (60) day window from when your self-assessment is approved.

We are in the process of getting our practice certified. Why do I keep getting reminders to renew my teams’ memberships?

If an individual’s membership expires, s/he will receive renewal notifications via email.   If you are in your 90-day Grace Period, you do not need to renew anyone to remain eligible for practice certification.  Expired members will not have access to the website.

What happens if I submit my self-assessment, but it’s not approved?

Clicking that submit button is a big step!  Not to worry, if any information needs clarification or is missing, the Practice Certification Manager will schedule a consultation with you and together you will create a plan to keep you moving forward.

What happens if we don’t pass our onsite visit?

In the unfortunate event a practice does not successfully complete the onsite visit, Fear Free is committed to working with the practice until they are able to implement all the standards and achieve practice certification. If a second onsite visit is required, an additional $500 fee will apply.

How much does practice certification cost?

The annual practice certification fee is $500 + $200 per FTE veterinarian.  An FTE veterinarian is defined as working an average of >35 hrs. per week.  If you have multiple PT veterinarians, their average weekly hours will be added up and divided by 35 to determine how many FTE they equal.  The annual fee is capped at $3500.

How do I pay for practice certification?

When you register for practice certification, you pay a non-refundable $500 deposit via credit card.  Once a practice achieves certification, the Group Leader will receive an invoice for the remaining balance of $200 per FTE veterinarian.  An FTE veterinarian is defined as working an average of >35 hrs. per week.  If you have multiple PT veterinarians, their average weekly hours will be added up and divided by 35 to determine how many FTE they equal. The annual fee is capped at $3,500.

Is there an annual renewal fee for practice certification?

Yes.  The annual renewal fee is $500 + $200 per FTE veterinarian.  An FTE veterinarian is defined as working an average of >35 hrs. per week.  If you have multiple PT veterinarians, their average weekly hours will be added up and divided by 35 to determine how many FTE they equal. The annual fee is capped at $3500.

Once our practice achieves certification, how much do we have to pay for any new team members to get certified?

Nothing! One of the best benefits of achieving Practice Certification is that all your team members receive a Fear Free membership.  As long as you maintain your Practice Certification status, you no longer need to purchase or renew individual memberships.