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Animal Massage Therapy Training Program Overviews

Animal massage education programs provide students with the knowledge and hands-on experience needed to prepare sports animals for events and aid injured animals during rehabilitation.

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Essential Information

Animal massage therapy is also called equine or small animal massage, depending on the type of animal involved. Though crossover between human and animal massage, specifically equine massage, is common, animal massage education programs do more than teach students to scale down techniques used in human massage. Certificate programs are available for both practicing veterinarians and non-veterinary professionals alike. There are no prerequisites expected of applicants to equine massage programs. Programs in equine and small animal massage take as little as one semester to complete. State requirements vary regarding certification and/or supervision by a veterinarian.


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Certificate in Animal Massage Therapy Training

Animal lovers and veterinarians study animal massage to aid pet rehabilitation or prepare professional sports animals, like polo horses, for upcoming matches. Small animal massage is somewhat uncommon, but integrative pain management centers offer coursework geared towards practicing clinicians who are interested in earning continuing education credits. Some schools offer coursework in small animal massage for non-veterinary medicine professionals. Topics of study include:

  • Fascial (soft tissue) release
  • Musculoskeletal anatomy
  • Pre-event massage
  • Stretching
  • Trigger point therapy

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 174,060 non-farm animal caretakers employed across various fields as of May 2015 (www.bls.gov). The BLS predicted that job opportunities for animal care and service workers would grow by 11%, faster than the average for all occupations, from 2014-2024. Non-farm animal caretakers earned a median annual wage of $21,010 as of May 2015, according to the BLS.

Continuing Education Information

Animal massage programs run through schools certified by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) offer continuing education credits for animal massage courses (www.ncbtmb.org). Certified NCBTMB human massage practitioners are required to complete 48 continuing education hours every four years.

Students interested in animal massage therapy can earn a certificate through programs certified by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. Graduates can earn continuing education credits and work as various kinds of animal caretakers.

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