How can I know that CASI provides a useful educational experience? How can I be assured of the credibility of the school?
The first way is by our clarity. The course objectives are clearly stated on each course and program page so that you will know exactly what is covered in that course or program. This clarity and detail offer less room for surprises. A school that does not identify exactly what is instructed may not end up teaching you what you want to know.
The second way is to check out the testimonials that grads, students, and guest speakers have provided us.
The third way is that our Advisory Board and faculty are made up of well-known and well-respected trainers and behavior professionals. They are industry-leading, practicing behavior technologists and behaviorologists. They literally put their name on the line for our quality. They know the programs well and stake their reputations on them.
Fourth, my professional bio is here: www.jamesoheare.com. Have a look at my credentials. They can all be verified. I am a respected behaviorologist and author of many books, many of which have been translated into other languages to be sold throughout the world. Search my name at www.dogwise.com or go to our books page to find my books. If you have read any of my current books, my work speaks for itself and gives an idea of the kind of instruction you will receive.
Fifth, please feel free to email me, James O'Heare, and ask me any questions you might have about the programs. I would be pleased to answer them.
Sixth, our students, former students, graduates, and faculty are active in their fields. Lynn Hoover became a co-founder (along with myself, James O'Heare) and president of the International Association for Animal Behavior Consultants, Kellyann Conway has been the president of the Association for Pet Dog Trainers, Mychelle Blake was editor of the Chronicle of the Dog, published by the APDT and Animal Behavior Consulting: Theory and Practice, published by the IAABC and is the Executive Director of the APDT. Parvene Farhoody has been president of the Certification Council for Pet Dog Trainers, and Lisa Clifton-Bumpass was the secretary and chair of the Certification Council for Pet Dog Trainers Exam Development Committee. Niki Tudge runs the Pet Professional Guild, and Angelica Steinker and Marilyn Wolf also work with the PPG. Susan G. Friedman has been the chair of the IAABC Parrot Division. The list goes on. Check out our testimonials page. A CASI Graduate putting her education to work. We are very proud of the fact that our students are very pleased with their experience with CASI.
Seventh, and certainly not least, we have made the details of our programs of study available to professional associations and certifying bodies for scrutiny, and they have been approved for credit toward certification or recertification educational requirements. Check the CEU and Certification page for details.
Of what value is a CASI certificate or diploma?
CASI certificates and diplomas tell clients that they have been formally educated in what they do; that they are serious about their profession, and that their knowledge has been formally tested. Credentials are an important sign of a serious professional. CASI also provides continuing education credits for recertification through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers, the primary certifying body for dog trainers, and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. CASI is an approved education provider by the Association of Animal Behavior Professionals. CASI has developed a strong reputation among professional trainers and behavior technologists, and the credential is a significant one. Instructors are practicing industry-leading professionals here to help you develop your knowledge and further your career. And, of course, you come out much more knowledgeable/skilled than you came in.
Can I earn my certificates and diplomas by distance?
Yes. There are NO residency requirements for any of the CASI courses or programs of study. All of your assignments, including any hands-on components, can be done where you are. We have students completing their studies from all over the world. It is completely distance oriented.
How does it work? How do I work toward my graduation?
Here is how it works to take a course or program of study through CASI:
Step #1. Explore the diploma and certificate programs and decide what would be best for your goals.
Step #2. Click the ENROLL link to complete the enrollment application. You will be notified whether you are accepted or not and if you are accepted, you will receive the enrollment agreement to complete and send in.
Step #3. Pay the tuition fee from the enroll page.
Step #4. Receive your first coursework document and handbook from CASI. Start studying the required materials and working on your assignments.
Step #5. When you hand in your assignments, your work will be graded, and if a passing grade is earned a certificate will be awarded.
Do you provide a payment plan option if the full tuition is too much to handle?
Where can I find the tuition fees, and are there any other fees?
The tuition fees can be found on each program page. When you click on the title of a program, it will bring you to the program page. Canadian residents pay applicable taxes. There are no other fees (e.g. enrollment or graduation fees etc.).
What is CASI's refund policy?
CASI does not provide refunds. Potential students are urged to decide before enrolling whether they want to work through the program of study. This policy reflects the fact that the program of study is self-paced, and the student gains unreturnable access to the course notes upon enrollment.
Can I take individual courses rather than the program as a whole?
Currently, the programs of study are available only as a whole and not on a course-by-course basis.
Can I enroll in a smaller program (Diploma of Professional Dog Training) of study and then pick up the remaining courses to achieve a larger diploma program (Diploma of Canine, Feline, Parrot, Equine, or Animal Behavior Science and Technology). Also, what if I take one large diploma program and want to pick up another of the large program?
Yes, what we would do is get you through the Dip.PDT program, and then we would get you enrolled in the larger diploma program of study after you graduate. We would transfer credit for the courses in common that you have already completed. The tuition would be the tuition for the larger program minus the tuition you paid already, plus a $300 CDN (approx. $250 USD) administrative fee.
If you are taking one of the single-species programs and wish to upgrade to the Dip.ABST, this same policy applies. If you really ultimately just want the larger program, it would be less expensive to just start with that program rather than starting with a smaller program. But if you really do want both as your ultimate goal, then this option definitely is available.
If you have taken one of the larger diploma programs and want to earn one of the others as well or tack on more species, that is just a matter of taking the remaining courses required (usually just the remaining clump of species courses) to complete the other program. The tuition fee for the remaining courses is $150 CDN (approx. $120 USD) per course plus a 150 CDN administrative fee. Students will be allowed an extra 2 weeks for each cluster of species courses they enroll in. This will be tacked onto the original due date or, if taken after the original due date has passed, the weeks will start once the courses are provided.
Are there exams or assignments to complete?
Most assignments involve the completion of brief essays (some based on hands-on training, consulting, or practical career development tasks). Some assignments are hands-on. Some require training a dog, coaching a human volunteer, or video recording in some instances. The course or program page will state whether you will be required to do any of these though so that you know up-front.
How will I be graded, and what method of instruction is used?
CASI utilizes the Personalized System of Instruction (PSI) method, derived from the natural science of behavior that we study. This system is characterized by knowing upfront what will be covered and how evaluation takes place, gradually accumulating levels of depth, frequent assessment, requiring mastery at each stage before moving on, having multiple opportunities to improve comprehension and grades, working at your own pace, having ready access to instructor guidance.
If an assignment demonstrates a complete and accurate response to the assignment question or directive, the assignment is graded with a letter grade ranging from B- through to A+ to indicate the level of proficiency demonstrated in the assignment. This indicates that the student has satisfactorily demonstrated that they have responded proficiently to the assignment and may proceed without revision or resubmission. If an assignment does not demonstrate proficiency, is incomplete, or is inaccurate in some way, the student is provided an opportunity to review the content, ask questions, consider the provided guidance and resubmit the work. Multiple opportunities for resubmission are provided. CASI places an emphasis on helping students achieve strong comprehension of the content, which is why we utilize the PSI approach. rather than simply receiving a failing grade or being allowed to proceed with a barely acceptable comprehension and then getting i over their head with more advanced work, CASI emphasizes the PPI approach, which is far less stressful on students and far more successful in generating successful graduates. The purpose of this system is to allow for shaping an accurate and complete reaction to the assignment. It means that the student is not at risk of failing easily, and it also means that graduates will have responded to each and every single assignment with proficiency (as opposed to the more common approach, in which graduates could have actually failed and are not proficient in a great deal of the actual coursework).
In each course, every single assignment must ultimately achieve a B- through A+ (pass), with or without resubmission attempts, in order for the course to pass. This ensures that students will become proficient in every single course topic and meet each course objective. In a conventional course with letter grading, a student may graduate but still respond incorrectly or deficiently to as much as 20–30% of the content. In the system CASI uses, graduates will have demonstrated proficiency in every single course topic/objective either in their first or up to two follow-up drafts. Your conditioning is far more important than merely slapping a grade on something.
For those interested in reading more about this approach, click here.
Are textbooks or other required materials included in the tuition?
Most course materials are in the form of course notes, which are provided without further fee. Unless otherwise stated on the course or program page, the student is responsible to attain the required materials at their own expense.
Can I get an extension if I am unable to complete my coursework on time?
The time frames provided should allow most students to complete their coursework within the allotted timeframes stipulated on the program page and also in the coursework documents received by students when they enroll. However, we appreciate that “life happens” sometimes, and extensions may be required. Nor do we want students to feel rushed with hard and fast deadlines.
Therefore, extensions are available for diploma programs (and not the certificate programs, see below) for $100 CDN/month from the enroll page. This is far less expensive than re-enrolling. Extensions are granted/approved at the sole discretion of CASI. Extension requests must be made via the button on the enroll page BEFORE the student’s deadline date.
For certificate programs, students will be allowed to re-enroll, at the sole discretion of CASI, with a 50% discount, which would allow them another year to complete the remainder of their coursework. Re-enrollment must be arranged (using the button on the enroll page BEFORE the original due date to secure the discount.
Can I transfer credit from other post-secondary educational institutions?
The following are the only allowable credit transfers:
If you have graduated the Certificate IV in Companion Animal Services course through the Australian Delta Society, you may transfer that credit to Animal Training Technology I and II. Program tuition fees are not adjusted, but you will have the same amount of time and will not have to complete the coursework for the transferred course.
There is no other transfer of credit options.
Can I take advantage of federal grants and loans or otherwise apply for government financial assistance for my education with CASI?
Not many of these kinds of assistance programs in all countries or states/provinces are applicable for the kind of school CASI is (professional development). You may look into it, but they are rarely available. Furthermore, the student must arrange this on their end. Applying for these kinds of things is a major time commitment on our part, and this is not something we can afford to do on a piecemeal basis.
Will I receive Canadian tax deduction forms for my taxes?
No, CASI does not issue such forms. These forms are for "career colleges" and “universities" and not for the kind of school, CASI is (professional development).
What are CASI's associations with professional associations and certifying bodies in the field?
CASI has sought and achieved course approvals and institutional approvals from the field's most prominent and credible professional associations and certifying bodies. This has involved varying degrees of scrutiny. CASI is pleased to be able to provide graduates with credits toward certification and recertification with these organizations. CASI is associated with the various associations and certifying bodies above in various other ways as well, which is important to address with transparency. James O'Heare, the owner of CASI, was also a co-founder and Board of Directors member of the IAABC and was the founder of the AABP. CASI and AABP share some Board members. Some CASI faculty, Advisory Board members, students, and graduates are, or have been, Board Members, Directors, or otherwise affiliated with each of the organizations listed above. The professional community is small, and the interrelated affiliations are an indication of CASI's extensive interaction/participation in the professional community. CASI is obliged to meet the same standards and criteria as any other school. Where any possible conflicts of interest may arise, CASI will work to avoid or address them carefully and ethically.
What is the theoretical orientation of CASI?
CASI is a natural science-based school. CASI instructs in the natural science of behavior referred to as behaviorology (which is similar to "behavior analysis" except that it is not a branch of psychology but rather a completely independent and comprehensive discipline).
What is the history of CASI?
James O'Heare, DLBC, CABC, founded CASI in 1999. James had been the author of many well-received books which have been published around the world in several languages, and there was a great demand for James to teach others dog training and behavior consulting. At the time, there was no professional association for behavior consultants or certifying body for dog training and the only other school focussing on animal-friendly methods was Jean Donaldson's Academy for Dog Trainers, which was in San Francisco (Jean Donaldson no longer works for the SFSPCA in this capacity) and was an in-person program, so a distance program seemed to satisfy the demand. James started with a single course, which was soon expanded and then split into 3 courses. Soon after, as demand grew, James formed an advisory board of industry-leading professional colleagues to help guide the progress of the school. The courses grew in number and programs of study were designed, and course approvals were sought from newly developing associations and certifying bodies. New instructors have been brought in, and with the advent of certifying bodies and professional associations, CASI has sought and achieved course approvals through them.
Is a Certificate or Diploma a degree?
A certificate or diploma is not a degree. It is a document certifying the completion of a course of study involving multiple courses. CASI does not issue university degrees. We award certificates or diplomas to represent graduation from our programs of study.
Related to "Accreditation" and Recognition
Is CASI "Accredited"?
Not being a degree-issuing university or vocational private career college, CASI does not require any form of "accreditation" at all. As a private professional skills development institution, we have voluntarily sought our course approvals, continuing education credits, and memberships in order to help ensure that we meet appropriate standards specifically related to our field and to help assure potential students of that. Please see our CEUs page for details. Our CEU pre-approvals and memberships demonstrate that we meet a high standard of service, and we have subjected ourselves to this outside independent scrutiny in order to be sure we are providing high-caliber services.
Does CASI provide vocational programs?
No. Although the CASI programs are designed to be in-depth and comprehensive, the behaviorology department programs do not provide the supervised hands-on skills development that would be appropriate to practice professionally. The programs are designed to help trainers, behavior consultants, or other animal-field professionals upgrade and develop their skills and knowledge. These programs do, however, provide instruction well beyond the industry standard, allowing animal-industry professionals to advance their knowledge and skill. CASI has undertaken the Ontario Ministry of Colleges and Universities pre-screening, which determined that "registration" was not applicable or required, and CASI has attained permission to use the word "institute" in its name.
Is CASI a Degree issuing University or a Private Career College, and are the programs intended to be vocational?
No. While CASI provides challenging and advanced coursework and programs of study, and the credentials are respected and meaningful, CASI is not a degree-issuing university or a private career college. CASI is a nonvocational, non-registered private institution offering certificate and diploma courses and programs for recognition of graduation from challenging programs of study. CASI is not a university or private career college.