Obtaining a certification at the successful completion of a credentialing process is very different than obtaining a “certificate of completion” after attending a training. Certification boards assess for broad competency and do not align with or assess for specific methodological knowledge gained from individual training organizations.

Credentialing is a process by which a third party validates the education, experience, qualifications, and broad competency of a professional. Credentialing requires a separation between the education source (i.e. a college degree program or a trade-specific certificate program) and the credentialing body in order to promote non-biased, ethical evaluation. Credentialing bodies do not provide training or education, nor do they dictate where a professional obtains their training.

In the equine-assisted therapy industry, two such certification boards exist to support the needs of licensed healthcare professionals who includes horses in their clinical practices.

The American Hippotherapy Certification Board

The AHCB was founded to evaluate and validate the skills and knowledge of physical, occupational, and speech therapists who are interested in providing equine-assisted therapy. Professionals who are interested in sitting for this exam must demonstrate their prior education, training, and experience in equine-assisted therapy as well as hold an existing licensure in their respective field. The test is held biannually, and provides both entry-level and advanced level certifications.

The Certification Board for Equine Interaction Professionals

The CBEIP was founded in hopes of establishing a universal body of knowledge which could be used to guide and assess professional practices within the scope of equine-assisted mental health and equine-assisted learning. Professionals who are interested in sitting for this exam must be able to verify their education and training.  Upon completing and passing the exam, professionals are awarded either a Certified Equine-Interaction Professional-MH or Certified Equine-Interaction Professional-ED, depending on their area of specialty.