Certification Programs

Our mission is to ensure the highest quality of professional practice of this approach.

Certification in Animal Assisted Play Therapy®

The International Institute for Animal Assisted Play Therapy was developed to advance the development of Animal Assisted Play Therapy (AAPT) through training, supervision, standards, and credentialing. The mission is to ensure the highest quality of professional practice of this approach.

The IIAAPT supports the use of theoretically grounded and empirically supported methods. The welfare of human clients as well as nonhuman animal assistants is of critical importance, and the certification program described herein is designed to ensure that all participants benefit from involvement in this approach.

The certification program is rigorous and requires substantial work and dedication on the part of professional practitioners to achieve. The IIAAPT believes that stringent credentialing based on demonstrated competence is more meaningful as a statement of the professional’s commitment and achievement in the highest quality practice of AAPT with clients while preserving the humane treatment of the animals involved.

If you have any questions about this certification, please contact us:


Risë VanFleet, PhD, RPT-S, CAEBI
PO Box 613, Boiling Springs, PA 17007 USA

United Kingdom

Tracie Faa-Thompson, MA, AASW, CAEBI, PGdipNDPT
Lowick, Northumberland, UK


In 2020, the AAPT Certification Program was moved from IIAAPT to the separate organization, the Animal Assisted Play Therapy® International Certification Board. This Board is comprised of up to 12 members as well as at least one of the Co-Creators of AAPT. Six (6) members must be fully certified at the Supervisor and/or Instructor levels. Four to six (4-6) members-at-large must be certified at the Professional/Therapist and/or the Animal Ethology and Behavior Specialist levels. While training and supervisory input is provided to the Board, candidate applications are not reviewed by individuals or organizations that have played a role in the candidate’s training and supervision. This is to ensure independent evaluation and to avoid conflicts of interest. Candidates have access to the application form and the Board Manual that details Board operations in the Members Only section of this website.

The Path to Animal Assisted Play Therapy® Certification

AAPT Certification Flyer

Information about AAPT Certification.

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Professional Certification Overview

AAPT Certification Process.

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Therapist/Practitioner Certification

Manual for Therapist/Practitioner Certification.

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Supervisor Certification

Manual for Supervisor Certification.

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Instructor Certification

Manual for Instructor Certification.

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Animal Ethology and Behavior Specialists

Manual for Animal Ethology and Behavior Specialists.

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