Become Rehabilitator

Texas Wildlife Educators


Rehabilitators Association

How to Become a Wildlife


TWRA has established the following criteria for wildlife rehabilitators. A rehabilitation permit from TWRA allows you to accept orphaned, injured, ill or displaced mammals for rehabilitation and is required in order to obtain a USFWS permit to rehabilitate birds.


Two hundred hours (200) of experience in rehabilitating the species in which the person wishes to be permitted OR one year of full-time employment as a Veterinary Technician OR a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine and be Board Certified in the state of Tennessee OR possess a valid permit for wildlife rehabilitation from another state for the species in which person wants to be permitted.


Credit hours earned for college courses working in zoology, animal husbandry and veterinary medicine can be substituted for hours of experience, up to one hundred (100) hours.


Anyone who has been found in violation of any state or federal wildlife laws does not quality for a Wildlife Rehabilitation Permit


Anyone holding Captive Wildlife Permits or possessing non-native wildlife species are not eligible for a Wildlife Rehabilitation Permit


The possession of any wildlife must be in accordance with the city and/or county ordinances in which the wildlife is being held.


Issuance of a Wildlife Rehabilitation Permit will be done on an “as needed” basis in which need is determined by the TWRA.

Bettina Bowers-Schwan handles Olivia, an injured, non-releasable Virginia opossum, Diadelphis virginianus. Photo by Lisa Powers, Froghaven Farm.

USFWS outlines the following criteria for issuance of a rehabilitation permit:

  • Applicant must be at least 18 years of age

  • Applicant must have at least 100 hours of hands-on experience rehabilitating birds (or comparable experience)

  • Applicant must have enclosures suitable for the species of birds they will rehabilitate

  • Applicant must hold a valid state wildlife rehabilitation permit


 If you use mammals in educational programming or displays, you will need a Class C license form the USDA.

The regional USDA office contact info is:


Regional Director

920 Main Campus,Suite 200

Raleigh, NC 27606-5532


In addition to the qualifications listed above, both TWRA and USFWS also require letters of recommendation from a currently permitted rehabilitator, a letter from a licensed veterinarian who will be assisting you, and an inspection or photographs of your premises and caging.

There is currently no charge for a state wildlife rehabilitation permit. USFWS does charge a permit application fee to offset the costs of processing their application and monitoring permitted activities.