Tracking Certifications

What certifications are available for tracking? What are the different levels? See below for Beartracker's experiences.


Beartracker's Certification

Track and sign specialist certificate

CyberTracker offers the only internationally-recognized certification for wildlife trackers. It is a rigorous two-day field test of your tracking knowledge. There are lower band evaluations, where you can score up to a level 4. On a specialist evaluation, which requires two evalulators, you can score a Track and Sign Specialist only if you get 100% of the questions correct. On Specialist evaluations, you will be asked only difficult questions. There will be no easy questions asked. On lower band evaluations, there are more easy questions. If you are just beginning, I recommend taking a lower band eval first, to see how you do. It's a fun process and everyone learns a lot. I highly recommend it. I earned my Track and Sign Specialist Certification in the redwood forests of northern California in 2016.

specialist certificate from desert biome March
I earned my second Track and Sign Specialist certificate in the desert of San Diego County, California, in March 2019. I am the second woman on the continent to earn two of these, and one of only three women on the continent to earn at least one.

trailing 2 certificate
Trailing is the fun part of tracking. In trailing, the goal is to catch up to the animal and observe it without the animal becoming aware of you. It is super fun and very challenging. I was tested on deer for the certificate above. I scored 88%, which is level 2. I needed 90% for level 3. You are graded on at least ten different factors that the evaluator observes as you follow your animal. I trailed three deer as they made their way from a water source into the brush, where they fed for a while before making their way to their sheltered beds for the day. They heard us coming and walked out of their bedding area, and we tried to follow. The deer saw us eventually, which you have to figure will happen. They are very wary and not easy to sneak up on!

tracker 2 certificate
If you have taken both a Track and Sign and a Trailing evaluation, you are eligible for a Tracker certificate. You can earn a Tracker certificate for the lowest certification level of the two evaluations. So, I have a Track and Sign Specialist, which is the highest you can get for track and sign identification. And I got a level 2 for Trailing. The highest you can get in Trailing is Specialist. Thus, I got a Tracker 2 certificate because my lower score was in trailing, where I have level 2. If I get better at trailing, I can get a Tracker 3 or 4, or even a Senior Tracker. Senior Tracker requires you to get Specialist in both Track and Sign and Trailing. So, I need more practice in trailing! I hope to get Specialist in Trailing someday! Wish me luck!
tracker 2 certificate
Universal Tracking Services offers certification in tracking people, which is very different from the CyberTracker certifications above. In UTS tracking, the goal is to teach Search-and-Rescue (SAR) personnel how to track lost people in the wilderness. There are four levels to this certification system. Novice, Tracker 1, Tracker 2, and Signcutter. I am currently at the third level - a Tracker 2 Certification.
Tracking people is fun to learn, but has a serious purpose. If someone is lost in the wilderness, they could be in danger of exposure to the elements. So, it is critical to find them as fast as possible. Tracking helps searchers narrow down the search area, and, if the trackers are put on the tracks right away, before others trample the tracks, those tracks can lead the searchers right to the lost person! If you are interesting in helping others and have good wilderness skills, I recommend you learn tracking skills. It might save your life, or that of someone else!

SAR tracking
I earned the certificate above for tracking people for SAR purposes. If someone gets lost in the woods, it's helpful to call in the trackers early, since they can at least give a direction of travel to other searchers. Trained tracking teams can also follow the trail to find the lost person, but the teams must be given a clear field without other searchers to trample the tracks, something which rarely happens, if ever.

Tracking takes a lot of time and patience to learn. You have to allow yourself to fail too. No one is born knowing how to track. Anyone can learn this skill. For more about how to earn your own tracking certificates, see the links below.
Track and Sign Specialist patch I earned twice
CyberTracker Certification in the USA -
Universal Tracking Services - Universal Tracking Services
I also highly recommend Rob's Speiden's Natural Awareness Tracking School. I have known Rob for many years and he is a well-rounded, and highly certified tracker. He is certified in both human and wildlife tracking. Rob is a Senior Tracker with CyberTracker. If you would like to attend his classes, here is his page: 
Natural Awareness Tracking School



Got a tracking story? E-mail me and tell me about it.

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Copyright 2018. Text and photos by Kim A. Cabrera


Copyright   2018. Kim A. Cabrera - Desert Moon Design

Page updated: April 3, 2019

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What else can you find in the nature store? Beartracker's T-shirts, sweatshirts, journals, book bags, toddler and infant apparel, mouse pads, posters, postcards, coffee mugs, travel mugs, clocks, Frisbees, bumper stickers, hats, stickers, and many more items. All with tracks or paw  prints, or nature scenes. Custom products are available. If you don't see the track you want on the product you want, email me and I can probably create it. Proceeds from all sales go to pay the monthly fees for this web site. You can help support this site as well as get great tracking products! Thank you!


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Also visit these fine stores for more products of interest:

NDN Pride shop - For Indian Pride items for all tribes. Custom items available on request.

ASL Signs of Love - For anyone who uses or is learning ASL, American Sign Language. Custom name items and more are available here.

Get Every Child Outdoors (Get E.C.O.) - My shop dedicated to nature and getting kids interested in nature and the outdoors.

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