Gain Practitioner Certification as an Animal-Assisted Therapist, Animal-Assisted Educator or Animal-Assisted Activities Coordinator by completing Australia’s first Certificate in Animal-Assisted Interventions (Canine).

This flexible, self-paced programme includes 11 days of practical classes, 25 hours of home-study, 2 online exams, and 9 months of supervised practice.

 

The Certificate in AAI (Canine)* comprises successful completion of three practicums (Foundation, Advanced, and minimum one Masterclass), home-study and online-assessments, and supervised practice. There are two pre-requisite levels of certification, leading to a Certificate in Animal-Assisted Interventions (Canine) and certification as a practitioner (therapist/educator/activities co-ordinator).

* Please note: There are no AAI courses in Australia accredited by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA). This course is therefore not a Nationally Recognised Training Course or VET course under Australian law.

Certificate Course Overview

Lead the Way Visiting Therapy Dog badge
Visiting Therapy Dog and Handler Certification

6-day intensive Visiting Therapy Dog & Handler Certification course (Foundation)

Lead the Way Advanced Therapy Dog badge
Advanced Therapy Dog and Handler Certification

4-day intensive Advanced Therapy Dog  & Handler Certification (Advanced)

Lead the Way Multi-Dog Handler badge
Multi-Dog and Handler Certification (optional)

Advanced Handlers are eligible to certify multiple dogs to work independently, or together in a group

Lead the Way AAI Masterclass
AAI Masterclass

Discipline specific one-day masterclasses.
Select from;

  • Mental health
  • Trauma treatment
  • Education settings
  • Animal-Assisted Activities Co-ordination (inc volunteering)
  • Allied health and rehabilitation
Lead the Way Certified Practitioner badge
Certified Practitioner (Therapist, Educator or Activities Coordinator)

Foundation Practicum plus;

  • Minimum 3 hours supervision in 3 months supervised practice
  • 15 hours homestudy and online exam

Advanced Practicum plus;

  • Minimum 6 hours supervision in 6 months supervised practice
  • 10 hours homestudy and online exam

Attendance at at least one Masterclass

Location: Online plus residential practicums in Macclesfield, Victoria Australia

Dates: The online component of the Certificate is self-paced. To register for one or more practicums, please see upcoming course dates on our Training Calendar, and Application Form

Cost: Pay as you go (online component only) $750
Pay upfront early-bird discount plus additional 10% bundle discount (includes all 3 practicums at the early bird price, and online course) $3811.50
FINANCE AVAILABLE

Note: A 20% NON-REFUNDABLE deposit is required to secure your place in the course. Fees must be paid in full 28 days prior to course commencement.

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Practitioner certification

Graduates of the Certificate in Animal-Assisted Therapy (Canine)* will become Certified Practitioners in either animal-assisted therapy, animal-assisted education, or animal-assisted activities, depending on their existing qualifications. Successful completion of the Certificate program does not make the graduate a registered mental health practitioner or educator, and graduates of the Certificate program will only be certified to work within their existing scope of practice. Existing qualifications will be listed on the Certified Practitioner’s Directory listing, and certificate; For example
Certified Practitioner in Animal-Assisted Therapy (Psychologist) or Certified Practitioner in Animal-Assisted Therapy (General Medical Practitioner) or Certified Practitioner in Animal-Assisted Education (Secondary Teaching) or Certified Practitioner in Animal-Assisted Activities Co-ordination (Youth Work)

* Please note: There are no AAI courses in Australia accredited by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA). This course is therefore not a Nationally Recognised Training Course or VET course under Australian law.

Certified Animal-Assisted Therapist

Handlers must meet the following criteria for certification as an animal-assisted therapist;

  • Registration with AHPRA as a regulated health or allied health professional under Australian law, or
  • Hold full (clinical) membership to a professional body (e.g. AASW, ACA, PACFA etc.) that outlines all of the following
    • Minimum standards for education & training
    • Ongoing professional development, and
    • Ethical and professional codes of conduct
Certified Animal-Assisted Educator

Handlers must meet the following criteria for certification as an animal-assisted educator;

  • Registration as a teacher with the relevant state or territory authority, or
  • Teaching or educational qualifications, plus a demonstrated commitment to ethical and professional conduct, ongoing professional development, and employment in one of the following areas;
    • Working as a qualified TAFE or Vocational teacher
    • Working as a qualified tertiary lecturer or tutor
    • Working as a qualified primary or secondary teacher or tutor
    • Using teaching qualifications to deliver education programs in schools or community organisations
Certified Animal-Assisted Activities Co-ordinator

Handlers who do not meet the criteria for certification as a therapist or educator will be certified as an animal-assisted activities co-ordinator. These handlers can work independently in a range of settings, delivering interventions focused on recreation, wellbeing, or engagement. Alternatively, animal-assisted activities co-ordinators can work in collaboration with therapists or educators to provide specialised interventions.

Course Details

Supervised practice requirements

Participants must be able to secure workplace experience. This will most commonly be achieved via the participant’s current workplace, but can also be achieved by offering visiting services to organisations. Participants will be provided with the contact details of approved supervisors, and may select a supervisor who meets their needs and preferences. Supervision can be completed on-line where necessary. There may be some variability in the fees or charges for each individual supervisor.

After successful completion of the Foundation Practicum;

  • A minimum of 36 hours supervised practice in Animal-Assisted Interventions, completed over a period of at least 3 months (3 hours per week of direct delivery of interventions/client contact). At the foundation level, the interventions need not be discipline-specific, and may include informal visiting; however, there is an expectation that the practice is relevant to the practitioner’s future work goals, for example similar populations or settings.
  • A minimum of 3 hours of supervision during the practice period. Supervision will focus on safe interactions, managing the Visiting Therapy Dog’s behaviour and welfare; engaging clients; establishing appropriate procedures, insurances, or equipment; and appropriate professional practices.
  • One session can be delivered via group supervision, and the remaining two must be individual supervision.

After successful completion of the Advanced Practicum;

  • A minimum of 192 hours of supervised practice in Animal-Assisted Interventions, completed over a period of at least 6 months (8 hours per week of direct delivery of interventions/client contact). The work practice must be discipline-specific, and relevant to the practitioner’s area of practice, i.e. therapy, education or activities.
  • A minimum of 6 hours of supervision during the practice period. Supervision will focus on enhancing the working partnership; development of treatment, curriculum or activity plans; managing complex settings; and application of the NB-AAT model and other theoretical models and concepts to client or student presentations.
  • Up to three of the supervision sessions can be delivered via group supervision, and the remaining three must be individual supervision.
    Completion of a discipline-specific Masterclass should ideally occur during this period, however the Masterclass can be completed at a later date if required.

 

Ongoing professional development

To maintain certification as a practitioner, all graduates are required to attend 12 hours every 2 years ongoing professional development. in Animal-Assisted Interventions relevant to their workplace applications. Approved activities include courses, conferences, masterclasses, training or supervision. Ongoing maintenance or classes in canine obedience and manners (whilst important and necessary) do not count towards PD hours, however specialist canine training may be sufficient if directly related to work practices. Practitioners must demonstrate how the chosen training contributes to their effective work as an animal-assisted practitioner.

If the certified practitioner no longer has a certified therapy dog with whom they are working, they are able to work in the diamond model with other handler-dog teams. Practitioners are not certified to work with other species of animal, and should seek out additional training and supervision in this domain if required.

If the certified practitioner wishes to maintain their therapy dog’s certification, annual recertification of the dog and handler team (or group) must be completed, and may be counted towards ongoing professional development requirements. Practitioners with certified therapy dogs will have the dog’s details included in their practitioner listing on the Lead The Way Institute Directory.

 

Recognition of Prior Learning

Graduates of previous Foundation and Advanced courses will be given RPL for those components of the Certificate course. Any course fees paid previously will be discounted from the cost of the Certificate.

Those graduates who’ve completed the 5-day Foundation course (superseded in 2016) and have current certification, will need to attend the Saturday workplace visits (day 6 of the current Foundation course).

Graduates who have completed the 3-day Advanced course (superseded in 2019), will need to attend the fourth day (Saturday) Advanced assessment day.

Please note: All dogs must have current Certification to be eligible to attend the additional course dates listed above. Dogs without current certification must attend a (Re)Certification day, and a (Re)Assessment Day for Drives if required, prior to attendance.