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ASPCA - American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is hiring a

Director, Shelter Behavior Training

Director, Shelter Behavior Training


The ASPCA strives to maintain a COVID-free workplace. To that end, being fully vaccinated is a condition of employment for all ASPCA employees, including new hires. The ASPCA makes reasonable accommodations for qualified applicants with disabilities or sincerely held religious beliefs that prohibit a person from being vaccinated.

The Learning Lab is a professional education and partnership program whose mission is to promote increased national capacity for advanced behavioral healthcare in shelters, and to facilitate a national network of partner shelters dedicated to providing such care. We collaborate with ASPCA behavior experts to create and deliver intensive workshops and trainings, online education, resource sharing, active networking, and ongoing support. The Shelter Behavior Training program, a new initiative in 2021, will be the only program in the country providing the critical combination of knowledge, skill, and experience necessary to successfully launch a career as a shelter behavior specialist.

The Director of Shelter Behavior Training is responsible for the creation and administration of all aspects of the training program, including developing the curriculum; hiring, training, and supervising the program’s Instructors, collaborating with subject matter experts to develop and deliver leading-edge educational content and experiences; marketing the program and recruiting learners; and assisting the Senior Director with strategic planning and impact tracking for the program. The Director works closely with staff at the Behavioral Rehabilitation Center (BRC) and other ASPCA sheltering facilities, and interacts with external shelter partners to ensure the program’s graduates meet or exceed their expectations for new behavior specialists.

This is a remote role with regular work in Weaverville NC, Columbus OH, New York State, and field shelter facilities around the country. This remote-based position is open to all candidates based within the United States. Candidates located in or around North Carolina (particularly near Asheville) or Ohio (particularly near Columbus) strongly preferred.


Responsibilities will include, but are not limited to:

Curriculum Development (25%)

  • Assist the Senior Director to define overall learning objectives and scope of the educational curriculum to deliver focused content that meets the current and future needs of shelter behavior programs
  • With direction from the Senior Director, develop a multi-month, multi-modal curriculum, combining classroom and online learning with hands-on coaching with animals
  • Collaborate with subject matter experts, Instructors, and staff coaches to develop learning modules, activities, and experiences that incorporate adult learning principles
  • Collaborate with managers to develop teaching opportunities at their shelters and weave the program into their daily operations and staff culture
  • Oversee development of all program materials and documentation, including online learning resources, to ensure they are engaging, informative, visually appealing, and brand-consistent
  • Gain and maintain understanding of the knowledge, skill, and experience requirements for new behavior specialists by liaising with ASPCA and Learning Lab Partner Shelters’ hiring managers
  • Gain familiarity with and apply takeaways from other behavior training programs and behavior credentialling programs.
  • Stay abreast of innovative behavior techniques, equipment, educational resources, and research to inform the program and keep it continually up to date
  • Hone the curriculum and educational experience by incorporating instructors’, learners’ and hiring managers’ feedback in a thoughtful and timely manner
  • Ensure program content and materials are in harmony with ASPCA protocols, position statements, and branding

Educational Delivery (25%)

  • Deliver classroom-based educational content and experiences that are engaging, informative, and interactive
  • Provide select hands-on educational sessions with animals, including filling in when an Instructor is unavailable.
  • Oversee all instruction and coaching by Instructors and staff coaches
  • Travel to other ASPCA facilities and deployment locations to arrange learning opportunities and supervise conduct of educational activities
  • Foster a sense of community based on respect, safety, and bravery among learners.
  • Instill the guiding principle that everyone can—and should—actively support the animals’ behavioral and mental health in everything they do

Program Vision, Strategy, and Administration (20%)

  • Work closely with the Senior Director, VP of Rehabilitation Services, and VP of the Behavioral Sciences Team to develop a short and long-term program vision that cultivates a robust and innovative program delivering best-in-class learning opportunities
  • Alongside the Senior Director, craft the program’s annual and multi-year strategy.
  • Collaborate with the Strategy and Research team to create an impact assessment and analysis plan
  • Based on impact assessment, continually hone the program to ensure graduates are highly employable and impactful in their new roles
  • Manage the planning and scheduling of content, personnel, facilities, equipment, coaches and animals for learning sessions
  • Collaborate with shelter managers to ensure smooth operations at the facility and coordination of staff responsibilities
  • Oversee learners’ dormitory housing at the BRC and travel and housing arrangements at other locations

People Management (20%)

  • With direction from the Senior Director, recruit, onboard and train new Instructors and keep Instructor job descriptions updated.
  • Espouse positive, people-centric management approaches that are in line with team and organizational core values
  • Manage and foster the intellectual and professional growth of direct reports.
  • Ensure that all team members have received training and mastered the skills to provide a low stress experience and that they provide a low stress experience on a consistent basis and in a variety of environments, for all animals in care.”
  • Provide constructive feedback to Instructors and staff coaches and conduct regular 1:1 meetings with direct reports
  • Consistently utilize ASPCA developmental tools and conduct quarterly assessments and yearly reviews of direct reports to measure progress
  • Oversee continuing education and professional development for direct reports
  • Cultivate a cohesive program team with a culture based on ASPCA Core Values and behavioral competencies

Marketing the Program and Recruiting Learners (10%)

  • With direction from the Senior Director, create and manage the strategy for learner recruitment and program roll out
  • Collaborate with the ASPCA People Team, Legal, the Finance team, and the Grants team on hiring processes, contracts or agreements, and arrangements for any compensation provided to learners and consultants
  • Along with the Senior Director, serve as a program ambassador to recruit learners, encourage shelter behavior managers to hire graduates, and represent the program in a compelling and accurate way
  • Communicate program goals, timelines, milestones, hurdles and outcomes clearly up, down and across departments
  • Provide informational presentations to internal & external audiences, enhancing program participation and support

Exemplifies the ASPCA’s Core Values:

  • Has Commitment and dedication to improving the lives of animals
  • Demonstrates Ownership and feels responsible for outcomes
  • Believes in Team – that we are stronger together
  • Seeks to Elevate others and reimagine what is possible
  • Focuses on Impact , specifically making change for animals

Additional Information:

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience
  • Advanced degree preferred
  • Minimum of 4 years of professional work experience in a shelter behavior role
  • Minimum of 3 years of work experience performing hands-on behavior modification training with dogs and/or cats in an animal shelter setting
  • Minimum of 1 year of educational design & execution experience in an in-person, hands-on educational setting for adult learners
  • 2 years of administrative or operations experience
  • Experiencing managing a team remotely
  • Experience preparing & leading presentations for professional audiences
  • Education or experience in applying adult learning principles
  • Animal Behavior Society, CCPDT, or IAABC certification, or ability to obtain such certification within one year of hire.
  • Low Stress Handling ™ or Fear Free certification preferred, or obtained within one year of hire.
  • Must provide a valid driver’s license upon hire and pass a motor vehicle history check demonstrating a safe driving history.
  • Must be able to travel (up to 30% depending on candidate’s home location)


Ability to communicate respectfully with people who have contrasting philosophies, Ability to comprehend and distill large concepts and multiple information sources into manageable concepts and actionable objectives, Ability to thrive in a fast-paced, potentially stressful environment; must be flexible and easily accept frequent changes to plans/protocols, Ability to work under pressure and prioritize workloads with multiple deadlines, Displays care and concern for the safety and well-being of self, animals and others, especially during stressful situations, Excellent command of educational design and adult learning principles, Excellent project management skills, Exceptional behavior modification and animal handling skills, Extensive understanding of the operation of a comprehensive animal behavior and enrichment program in a full-service shelter setting., Flexibility to occasionally work after standard business hours and on weekends, Good team player; a “people person” who enjoys collaboration and teaching, Must be ability to work closely with behaviorally compromised animals and feel comfortable working in an environment where euthanasia is performed on a regular basis, Must be able to work in a stationary position for 8+ hours per day and to work for 4+ hours at a time moving about an animal shelter facility to meet the physical requirements of this position, Must be self-motivated, extremely organized, and able to prioritize effectively, while recognizing when to ask for help, Must provide a valid driver’s license upon hire and pass a motor vehicle history check demonstrating a safe driving history, Strong problem-solving abilities; likes to troubleshoot and find solutions when facing challenges, Strong written, oral, interpersonal, & electronic communication skills


English (Required)

Education and Work Experience:

Bachelors, High School Diploma (Required)