Animal Assisted Therapist Career
An Animal Assisted Therapist career incorporates animals (usually, but not limited to dogs or cats) into therapeutic intervention treatment plans. Animal assisted therapy is used to enhance and complement the benefits of traditional therapy in humans whether it be physical, emotional, mental, trauma, or addiction. If you work in the career subsector of animal assisted therapy, you could also have the job title of Animal Assisted Educator or Animal Assisted Activity Coordinator.
- Incorporate animals to help clients with a multitude of things such as improving self-esteem, help for anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, and developing social skills.
- Incorporate animals to help clients improve fine and gross motor skills and coordination.
- Consider integration of animals for the purpose of assessment, planning, organization, and participation in a client’s rehabilitative programs that improve mobility, relieve pain, increase strength, and improve or correct disabling conditions resulting from disease or injury.
- Observe and analyze patient results and data to determine patient needs or treatment goals.
Median Wage 2019: up to $90,000 annually
New job opportunities are very likely in the future as growth in this career subsector is expected to be much faster than average.
How to become an Animal Assisted Therapist
To become an animal assisted therapist, you should obtain a degree in counseling, psychology, or physical therapy (or a similarly related field of study) with an additional emphasis on animals. Licensing is required and varies by state.
For more information
- Animal Association of Animal Assisted Therapy
- American Counseling Association
- Parelli Foundation
- Pet Partners
- Eagala – For psychotherapy and personal development incorporating horses
Of special interest may be the ‘Find a Program’ menu link
- International Society for Animal Assisted Therapy
- America’s VetDogs
- American Disability Rights – Emotional Support Animals
- Alliance of Therapy Dogs
- Therapy Animals
- Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International
- USA Service Dog Registry
- Prison Puppies (America’s VetDogs sponsored)
- Emotional Support Animal Registration
- Guide Dog Foundation
- Endeavor Therapeutic Horsemanship
- American Kennel Club – Recognized Therapy Dog Organizations
- Pet Partners Magazine
- The Sentinel
- Guideway (publication of Guide Dog Foundation)
- Path International Strides Magazine
- Endeavors Newsletters
To find an institution of higher education that offers a program relative to your career aspirations as an Animal Assisted Therapist, the easiest place to start for most people is to perform a simple search by area of interest. Overall, there are certificate, minor, associate, bachelor, and advanced degree programs in public and private postsecondary colleges and universities across the country in the following areas:
- Human-Animal Relationships
- Equestrian Studies
- Equine Assisted Psychotherapy
- Equine Assisted Interventions
- Animal Assisted Therapy
- Recreational Therapy
- Therapeutic Horsemanship
- Animal Assisted Counseling
Use the link provided below and the ‘Browse for Program’ button to search by program area: