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.
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
- Trigger point therapy
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 285,600 non-farm animal caretakers employed across various fields as of May 2018 (www.bls.gov). The BLS predicted that job opportunities for animal care and service workers would grow by 16%, faster than the average for all occupations, from 2018-2028. Non-farm animal caretakers earned a median annual wage of $23,760 as of May 2018, 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.