Essentials of Animal Assisted Interventions

Carroll University is thrilled to offer the non-credit Essentials of Animal Assisted Interventions credential. Animal Assisted Interventions (AAI) have been successfully integrated into many health and human service fields including Physical and Occupational Therapy, Behavioral Health, Education, Nursing and more. Carroll University's strong Animal Behavior team will lead graduate students and professionals through critical, evidence-based practices emphasizing animal welfare and behavior, as well as professional theory in AAI across multiple professions. Participants in this credential will gain critical knowledge in the safe, legal, and beneficial use of AAI.

While the credential course is primarily asynchronous and online, there will be two in-person lab dates.

Approximate time commitment is 17 hours. 

Course runs February 1 to May 1. 
Two (2) lab dates:

Register now!

Credential Learning Outcomes

Students who earn the digital badge will be able to: 
  1. Define terms associated with the use of animals in service to humans, including Service Animals, Emotional Support Animals, and Therapy Animals and explain the legal implications of those terms
  2. Recognize and interpret the cognitive, emotional and communicative capacity of nonhuman animals as it relates to training and welfare in AAI
  3. Describe or define the unique relationships and roles between therapy animals and humans including AAI handlers, professionals and clients
  4. Describe the relevance of Animal-Assisted Interventions in today’s health care, mental health, educational, and other settings through a critique of demonstrations and evidence-based material.
  5. Recognize the suitability of live therapy animal candidates through objective assessment of key behaviors and temperament. Assess live AAI activities for efficacy, safety, handler and animal skill, and 'client' engagement. 

About the Facilitator

Laura Hey

Laura Hey is a Certified Animal-Assisted Intervention Specialist with a long career as an occupational therapist, primarily in neuro rehab. She has expertise in the field of Animal-Assisted Interventions and has established therapy animal programs for a wide variety of healthcare, mental health, and community organizations in SE Wisconsin. Laura created Wisconsin’s first program in which specially trained therapy dogs and handlers worked alongside therapists to help patients meet their rehabilitation goals. The results were profound and led her to found Health Heelers, Inc. in 2005. Fascinated by the rich cognitive and emotional lives of animals, Laura has participated in over five-hundred hours of classes, seminars, and workshops by some of the most renowned positive-reinforcement trainers in the world. She  has consulted for local universities in the development of therapy animal curriculum and is active in standardizing the field of Animal-Assisted Interventions on an international level. Laura also trains therapy animals, their handlers, and professionals in AAI and is an adjunct instructor in Carroll University’s Animal Behavior Program. At home, Laura enjoys the everyday blessings of a life surrounded by nature, one very big dog, and numerous cats.


Who should register for this credential?

This credential is intended for graduate students and practioners in fields who are interested in incorporating or including Animal Assisted Interventions into their practice. These interdisciplinary fields can include, but are not limited to:

What does this credential cost?

Registration for this credential is $500 for practicing professionals. Current Carroll University students are eligible for a discounted rate of $300. If you are a current Carroll student and would like to register, please contact Katy Coutley for your discount code.

Why a credential?

Carroll University's credentials are non-credit bearing opportunities that are designed to be flexible and respond to learners' needs. Upon completion of the Essentials of Animal Assisted Interventions module, you will receive a digital badge. These are issued to you digitally, and can be shared with employers, colleagues, and across social media platforms.

Who should I contact if I have additional questions?

Additional questions can be directed to Katy Coutley, Program Specialist for Compass Credentials:

More Information

Media Coverage

WUWM: Animal behavior program at Carroll University hands out dogs and life lessons
CBS-58: Carroll University students foster seven HAWS dogs during third annual animal behavior program
Fox-6: HAWS foster dog graduation held at Carroll University


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