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Learn how to use animal-assisted therapy to support human physical and psychological health.

Undergraduate Certificate in Animal-Assisted Therapy

Quick Facts

Total Credit Hours: 9
Tuition: $398 per credit hour*

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Undergraduate Certificate in Animal-Assisted Therapy

A dog sits with her ownerAnimal assisted therapy, and the study of human–animal interactions, is an exciting and growing field of scientific inquiry focusing on our relationship with animals. Through this Assisted-Animal Therapy Certificate program, you will learn to integrate companion animals safely and ethically into a variety of treatment settings. You’ll study how human–animal bonds have both emotional and health benefits, how to safely and ethically apply animal interactions as a therapeutic tool, and learn techniques for working with therapy animals.

Over your course of study, you’ll write a manual that is tailored to your professional needs and species of choice. The final manual will consist of three parts that mirror the certificate’s outcomes and will create a professional reference manual tailored for your use. 

Upon completion of this certificate program, you’ll have the knowledge and skills to:

  • Evaluate animal-assisted therapy standards of best practice.
  • Explain safe and effective animal assisted therapies.
  • Analyze the physiological and mental health benefits of the human-animal bond.
  • Interpret the legal, ethical, and beneficial aspects of animal-assisted therapies.
  • Identify the role of animal-assisted therapies as it pertains to different fields of practice.

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*All rates subject to change

2022 Start Dates

Summer
July 5

Fall, Term 1
September 5

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Highlighted Faculty

Emily Kieson PhD, MS, PgDip

Emily Kieson serves as Research Director and educator at MiMer Centre, a Swedish-based nonprofit focused on education and research in equine-human interactions and horse welfare. Her research centers on equine behavioral psychology, equine welfare, and horse-human interactions as they apply to both horse owners and equine-assisted activities and learning programs. She holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Psychology, an M.S. in Psychology, and a graduate degree in Equine Science. Kieson also holds multiple certifications in various models of equine-assisted activities and currently serves as Chair of the Equine Welfare Committee with the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH). Her current research focuses involve looking at equine affiliative behaviors to study how horses create and maintain social bonds and how those can overlap with human affiliative behaviors for application in management, horse ownership, and equine-assisted activities. She also has a passion for supporting sustainable systems of horse management and husbandry that promote physical and psychological welfare of the horse while simultaneously supporting sustainable ecosystem practices on small and large scales (for both feral and domestic equids).

Courses You Will Take

AB 110 The Human-Animal Bond: Animal Behavior, Evolution, and Therapeutic Applications

In this course students will study the evolution of human-animal relationships and the emotional and health benefits of the human-animal bond, animal behavior, and common methods of animal training. Students will explore human social and cultural factors relevant to Animal-Assisted Therapy to maximize safe interactions between clients and animals in professional settings.

 

AB 210 Emotional Support and Service Animals

The unique bond between people and animals is a powerful tool for healing. This course will examine the different ways animals can be used to support human health and explore the role of pets and other animals in the treatment and rehabilitation of persons with a variety of physical and psychological disabilities. Students will examine case studies such as correctional institutions and “cell dogs”, therapeutic riding, child development and pets, mental health canines, animal therapy with homeless populations, and animal therapy in substance abuse programs. Students will be encouraged to engage with a program within their own community, or connect with one online.

 

AB 310 Animal-Assisted Therapy: Understanding Techniques, Regulations, and Risks

Professional animal-assisted therapies demonstrate how the human-animal bond can create lasting social, emotional, cognitive, physical, spiritual and psychological changes. Animal-assisted therapeutic activities and learning are found in many settings.  It is important that psychology practitioners understand how to safely, legally, and ethically integrate animals into their practice. Students will study various techniques specific to animal-assisted therapy and understand best practices for working with animals during counseling sessions.