Animal-Assisted Therapy Degrees
Are you an animal person? Do you like to care for sick people? Animal-assisted therapy may be your calling. Continue reading to find out how you and your domestic animal can help others when they need it the most. Schools offering Occupational Therapy Assistant degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
Are Degree Programs in Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) Available?
Degrees in animal-assisted therapy are rare, but they can be found as an associate's degree. Most of these programs will be equine-based. If you find a program that is equine-based, expect courses that include horse training, horsemanship, biology, horse anatomy and therapeutics.
Equine-based programs will teach you how to train, understand, take care of and react to your horse. You'll learn how to keep your horse under control when conducting therapy and how to react to any emergency situation. Some of these programs work closely with the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association.
If you don't want to train horses, there are other general animal-assisted therapy courses available. These courses deal more with psychology, communication and counseling.
Are There Any Other Programs Available?
Certificate programs in animal-assisted therapy are more common than degree programs. Certificate programs can be taken on-campus or online. These programs focus on animal selection, establishing a relationship, training, safety testing and therapeutic techniques. If you don't have a pet, some programs will accommodate you. If you plan on using your own animal, some on-campus courses require you to provide proof of insurance and your animal's Certificate of Good Health.
All college programs will require you to observe and participate in local therapy sessions. These local sessions may be in nursing homes, rehabilitation centers or hospitals. If you're taking the program online and can't find an AAT program in your area for your hands-on training, your program may help you find one.
What Can I Do With My Certificate or Degree?
After completing your certificate program, you'll be able to join a local organization that provides animal-assisted therapy. Some college programs have courses on establishing your own AAT organization, which you may want to focus on assisting addicts, elderly, the sick and those in prison.
Most college programs will not certify your animal for use outside of class or training, but they'll guide you to a professional organization that does. Some institutions that allow AAT services may require your pet to be certified through an animal-assisted therapy organization.
To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below: