Courses and Education

AAAIP works with field leaders and subject matter experts to create educational content on the field's best practices and competencies. Professionals earn a certificate of completion for each course to demonstrate awareness of key knowledge in the field. Many professionals also utilize these courses to prepare for the Animal-Assisted Intervention Specialist Certification exam (though completion of coursework is not required to sit for the exam.)

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Course Summaries


Getting Started in your AAI Journey or Looking to Validate that your Practice Aligns with the Field’s Standards?

These courses are a great fit for you!


Getting Started in AAI: Planning and Documenting Best Practices through the Development of a Program Manual

Getting started as an AAI practitioner or looking to validate that your practice aligns with the field’s emerging competencies? This course will help you design your Program Manual and provides over a dozen downloadable templates that you can tailor to your programming. After reviewing the empirically validated professional competences associated with partnering with a therapy animal, learners will have the opportunity to take a self-assessment identifying areas of strength and growth. Learners will then walk through template documents reflecting the field’s best practices to ultimate create a AAI Program Manual that reflects competent AAI. Finally, a deep diving into the differences between the triangle and diamond models of AAI is provided alongside suggestions for recruiting, training, and maintain external therapy animal handlers. 
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Best Practices in Therapy Animal Handling: What it Means to Partner with a Therapy Animal

As a part of their professional competency in partnering with a therapy animal, practitioners are expected to know the field’s key terminology and the general skills and requirements of a therapy animal. How do relationship and teamwork impact the team dynamic, and how should therapy animals be appropriately directed through respectful and safe client interactions? If you are new to the field, this course is a great place to start! 
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Looking to Explore more AAI Topics aligned with the field’s best standards?

Participation in these courses will help demonstrate your ability to offer the highest level of professionalism in partnering with therapy animals.


Zoonotic Disease Prevention
Therapy animals can provide many benefits to clients. They can also create health risks. In this course, you'll learn about the risks of zoonosis and mitigation strategies as well as important considerations for your informed consent documentation.
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The Case for Animal-Related Engagement 
This course is designed to provide practical information about animal-related engagement (ARE) activities that can be implemented when face-to-face animal-assisted interventions (AAI) can’t or shouldn’t be conducted.
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Seeking Continued Education to Strengthen your work with your Therapy Animal?

Check out AAAIP’s coursework focused on therapy animal training and behavior. 


Training and Communication in AAI
Training is an important aspect of working with a therapy animal, but we must ensure that our training doesn't prevent the animal from communicating freely with their handler. Effective two-way communication is essential for safe interactions that protect animal welfare in AAI settings. This course, which consists of four modules and an assessment, will take you through foundational concepts about therapy animal behavior, training expectations for dogs and other species, training methodologies and their appropriateness for therapy animals, and illustrate the importance of a therapy animal communicating freely during AAI sessions.

View course details and pricing.


Animal Welfare and Well-being

This course is designed to prepare professionals to be advocates for any animal that assists them in their work, which by extension supports client safety. Content covered will focus on the well-being of the animal, help professionals determine suitability of animals and clients for AAI, provide practice for difficult situations that may arise, and explore considerations for how to end the intervention when necessary for the animal's welfare.

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Course Pricing
Significant savings on courses are available to AAAIP members.


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AAI Specialist Certification Exam
AAAIP provides the opportunity to show evidence of AAI professional competencies through the Animal-C-AAIS logoAssisted Intervention Specialist Certification (C-AAIS). This 125-question, three-hour-long, remotely proctored exam is a credentialing opportunity that demonstrates a professional’s knowledge of best practices in AAI, which include animal welfare and well-being; zoonosis and infection prevention; animal behavior awareness; and the foundations of AAI as outlined in the practice analysis. Passing this exam provides evidence of intervention-specific knowledge that promotes AAI as a complementary treatment modality within a professional’s existing scope of practice. This certification exam focuses on the core knowledge base and does not include an evaluation with an animal.

AAAIP All-Access members receive a $100 discount on the AAI Specialist certification exam. View pricing details.

Learn more about the exam.


View the Difference in Credentials Infographic.
View the Candidate Handbook.