Rehab Education Through Wake Technical Community College

Raptor Education Lab: A class coordinated with Wake Technical Community College

Since 2009, we have offered a wildlife rehabilitation class through Wake Technical Community College. The class is an intensive study class with 5 night classes, once per week, and 3 Sunday afternoon live animal workshops, and is usable as experience towards getting your Raptor rehab license. It is also certified by the NC Veterinary Board for Veterinary Continuing Education.

For information on the 5 week class, call us or visit the WTCC website: 


 and in the “Find A Class” search box type in “raptor” it will show you to the upcoming course offered.

This course does not give you a license, it gives you some of the experience and knowledge required to apply for federal and state raptor rehab licenses.  That means it gives a portion of the needed credits, not all of them.  The requirements for the federal license are 100 hours experience within a 1 year time.  The course provides 12.5 hours class time and 6 hours of hands on experience.  To get your license you will need to work with a licensed rehabber for the rest of the hours needed within 1 year for the course to apply towards licensing.  At this time the course is only available 2 times per year.

As to what the class covers, it is quite a bit.  The first class lays out the "things you should know by the end of class" as the following:

-Realities of rehab (survival rates, feeding and medicating, etc)

-Time commitments (what is necessary and possible)

-Rehab politics (dealing with other rehabbers and government,and people in general)

-Identifying raptors (understanding the birds and learning their behavior)

-Capturing raptors (what you need to catch the birds without hurting them further)

-Basic First Aid (what to do on site and how to know if it needs a vet)

-Contacts for vet and rehab care (people in the area who know what they are doing)

-Licensing requirements (how to get licensed)

-Basic Maintenance and care of injured birds (how to care for birds once they are in your hospital)

These are general topics, specifics include how to equip your wildlife hospital, where to get the things you need, specific treatments and emergency measures, euthanasia and the laws, how to make your own raptor control equipment and more.  

There are 3 labs with practice of the procedures on live birds.  labs include holding and restraining the birds, examining the birds, how equipment works, and more.

This class has been approved by the NC Veterinary Board for vet and vet tech Continuing Education Credits.

Outline of study:

Section 1 - Basic introduction

  1. Introductions of instructor and other students
  2. Class goals and things you will know..
  3. Realities of rehab
  4. Time commitment
  5. Rehab Politics
  6. What is rehab?
  7. What are raptors / what makes a bird a raptor?
  8. Raptor Identification
  9. Learning Rehab
  10. Calls you will get
  11. Capturing Injured Raptors
  12. Do you need to catch it?
  13. your basic “toolkit”
  14. trapping and controlling the birds
  15. on site emergency triage
  16. securing for transport
  17. What to expect from the birds
  18. What you will see

Section 2 - What to do with the bird

  1. Review of previous week.
  2. Restraining  the raptor
  3. How to hold the bird - different methods and holds
  4. Pre lift  checks
  5. what to watch for when holding
  6. Bird wraps and casting
  7. Taping
  8. Basic Triage
  9. First aid
  10. Supportive care
  11. Health indicators and behaviors
  12. Drugs and supplies 
  13. Setting up your rehab area
  14. animal restraint and safety while in your care
  15. Exercise - making  simple  leashes

Section 3 - Medical Management

  1. Review of  previous classes
  2. Area resources
  3. Local vets
  4. Local rehabbers
  5. Nonlocal rehabbers
  6. Government office
  7. Vet dos and don’ts
  8. Reputation and abilities
  9. cost and availability
  10. Reality checks
  11. “Field medicine”
  12. On site care
  13. Weekend and overnight care
  14. Blood management
  15. Wound care
  16. Bone care
  17. Treatment for shock
  18. Exercise - Splinting, ball bandage

Section 4 - Cages and holding facilities

  1. Review to date
  2. Cage banks
  3. Pet carriers
  4. Holding cages
  5. Flight cages
  6. Feeding captive birds
  7. Medicating captive
  8. Signs of problems and healing indicators
  9. logging animal care
  10. Your personal organization
  11. Federal record keeping 
  12. Money Matters
  13. Exercise - crate  building

Section 5 - Licensing and review

  1. Permits
  2. Rules - Federal and state laws
  3. Year end reports
  4. Facilties cage sizes
  5. Facilities food prep
  6. Facilties animal disposal
  7. Review - What you should have learned 
  8. Self tests and in class answers (4 - 5 questions  you try yourself then we go over in class)
  9. The basics
  10. Statistics
  11. Prep and catch
  12. Triage
  13. Animal behavior
  14. Medical care
  15. Facilities
  16. Final questions and discussion (class asks)

There are 6 hours of lab with the course in which students actually gain experience handling the different types of raptors.

Lab 1 Identifying

What raptors look like close up


Basic field diagnosis and triage

Holding and restraining

Holding for exams

Specific part recognition

Lab 3 Rehab

tongue barbs and glottus

Keel measurements on hawks and owls

Giving fluids

Giving food water and medication


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