How do I Become a PAACO Certified Auditor?
Steps to become certified:
  1. Qualify for training. PAACO has a set of education and experience requirements all attendees must meet. You will be required to submit a resume when registering for training. We do not need a formal resume, we are simply looking for the education and experience qualifications.
  2. Attend onsite training. All those looking to become certified MUST attend an in-person training. Our online courses by themselves will not certify you.
  3. Passed the exam. At the end of training, attendees will take and pass an exam. Passing rate – 70%
  4. Perform shadow audits.
  5. Each training only certifies auditors for that species. For example, if you attendee Beef Feedlot training, you are on the path to become a Beef Feedlot Auditor
I completed training and passed my test, now what?

Congratulations! Once you’ve completed training and passed the exam, you have one year from the training to complete your shadow audits. Shadow audits may be completed and submitted anytime during that year deadline. You can submit your shadow audits all at once or when you’ve completed them all.

Attendees are responsible for setting up their shadow audits. Certified auditors are not obligated to conduct. Please allow yourself plenty of time to set up and conduct your shadow audits. DO NOT wait until the month they are due!

When performing the shadow audits, the trainee can either observe the audit or perform the audit. PAACO recommends one of each. During a shadow audit you need to be will the certified PAACO auditor at all times. It is not a divide and conquer task.

Completed shadow audits should be emailed to Lora –


What does each shadow need to cover and how many do I need to perfom?

Each shadow audit is completed by filling out the Performance Review Report, or the shadow audit form. All the information needs to be completed.

  • Meat Plant – 3 totally (ideally 2 species)
  • Poultry – any of the 2 below
    • 1=Hatchery, Farm, Loadout, Processing (Broiler or Turkey)
    • Layer Farm
  • On-Farm Swine – any 2 of below
    • 1=Sow Farm + Wean to Finish
    • 1+Sow Farm + Nursery + Grow Finish
  • Beef Feedlot – 2
  • Dairy – 2
How many people can shadow as once?

Up to three (3) people can shadow at one time. It is up to the PAACO Certified Auditor how many they wish to shadow at once.


Can you conduct more than one shadow audit in a day?

Yes. If it is feasible to thoroughly conduct more than one audit in a day, you may do so.


I was asked to perform a shadow audit, what do I do?

First, thank you for agreeing to perform a shadow audit. You and the person you’ll evaluate need to plan the audit. Prior to the audit, you both need to agree as to the roles you’ll have – is the trainee going to lead the audit with you assisting or are you going to perform the audit with the trainee shadowing you? Either way works, but make sure you have a plan prior to the audit. Once at the audit, you are evaluating that person and whether you believe they are ready to be a PAACO certified auditor.


How do I recertify?

Every year, auditor will need to recertify to maintain their certificate. Recertification can be done by online through your account or by filling the Recertification Form. Either way, you must list your 12 hours of Continuing Education and submit payment to recertify successfully.

The fastest way to recertify is through your account. To do so, log in and go to your account page. Once there, click the Certification tab and your certification(s) will be listed with the option to recertify. Follow the steps and submit payment to finish.


What counts as Continuing Education (CE)?

12 hours of Continuing Education (CE) CE requirements are as followed:

  • 12 totally hours of contact time of relevant classes, seminars or meetins
    • 4 hours can be auditing hours with a PAACO Certified Auditor or performing a shadow audit
    • 8 hours of CE (online or in person)
There are many opportunities that count towards the 12 hours of required CE. Hours spent learning or discussing animal welfare or enhancing your auditing skills and abilities count towards CE. These opportunities can be in-person, online courses, webinars, trainings, etc. All hours must be approved by PAACO. All topics MUST include animal welfare or auditing for the hours to count.


There is a list of CE opportunities on the website. Events listed are all approved, but not all inclusive. If there is an opportunity that is not listed contact Dakota –


I attended a class, conference, webinar, etc. How many hours of CE does it count for?

CE credits count as 1:1. If you attended an event that was 4 hours, you would list that event, description and count it as four hours. Remember, the topic needs to cover animal welfare or auditing for it to count. Some events, conferences for example, have sessions that cover animal welfare and then others that don’t. The sessions that cover the relative topics count. Trade shows or topics not relating to animal welfare or auditing DO NOT count towards the 12 hours.


I purchased one of PAACO online courses, now what?

Purchased online courses can be found on your account page. Click the My Account tab in the upper right corner. Once on the My Account page, click the My Online Trainings tab (fourth over) located below your picture. There you will be able to see any online trainings you have purchased. This is also where the scores of your online trainings will show.

Once a course is purchased (or a prerequisite), you have 180 days (6 months) to take and retake the course as many times as you’d like. Once the 180 days is up, you will be prompted to repay for the course.


My online trainings aren’t working. Why?

First, make sure you are using Chrome, Firefox, or Safari as your browser. Unfortunately, Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer do not work with our system. Also, check your internet speed – a good, fast connection is a must. If you tried these tips and still having issues, let Dakota know. She’ll be happy to help you troubleshoot.


I changed jobs, what do I need to do?

Once you have logged in, you are able to change all your information from the My Account page. The only thing you are not able to change is your email. If you need to update your email, contact Dakota. Please DO NOT create a new login – none of your previous training or certification information will be there.


I changed emails, do I create a new account?

NO! If you need your email updated, contact Dakota. Your training and certification information is tied to the email address. If you create a new profile you will not have access to that information and/or will not be notified or able to recertify. Instead of creating a new account, we will update your email for you. Once your email is updated, please login and update the rest of your information as needed.


I can’t login.

Try resetting your password. If that doesn’t work, contact Dakota to help troubleshoot.