Rehabilitation Training

The Wildlife Center offers a variety of educational opportunities for those interested in learning more about wildlife rehabilitation.

Wildlife Rehabilitation in Virginia

To rehabilitate wildlife in Virginia, individuals and organizations must have a permit. The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) is the agency that issues state wildlife rehabilitation permits; federal permits (for rehabilitating birds) are obtained from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

DWR’s wildlife rehabilitation permit conditions provide details on the permit application process and specific regulations pertaining to wildlife rehabilitation; the conditions also describe the different types of rehabilitation permits that are issued in the state.

Hands-on Training at the Wildlife Center

Two types of hands-on wildlife rehabilitation training are available at the Wildlife Center: rehabilitation externships and internships. Externships include 600 hours of training during a minimum of 12 weeks, while the internship offers advanced training in wildlife rehabilitation during a one-year program. Students in these programs work directly with patients and education animals at the Wildlife Center and learn about natural history, animal nutrition, husbandry, feeding techniques, capture and restraint methods, and release criteria. 

Continuing Education Opportunities

For those seeking continuing education credits for obtaining or renewing rehabilitation permits, or for those simply interested in learning more about how to get involved in helping wildlife, the Wildlife Care Academy is a "one-stop-shop" for both academic and practical instruction related to the care of wildlife in a variety of captive situations, with a focus on medical or management interventions. The Academy offers both online and traditional classroom courses in wildlife rehabilitation, ranging from the most basic introductory seminars to advanced medical management of injured and orphaned wildlife.

The Wildlife Center also provides continuing-education training for wildlife rehabilitators through our annual three-day Call of the Wild conference, which is specifically designed for rehabilitators and other wildlife “first responders”. Each year, nearly 400 participants from across the United States attend the Call of the Wild conference.

All classes and workshops offered by The Wildlife Center, including online classes, meet the educational requirements of The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources for obtaining and renewing wildlife rehabilitation permits.