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professional certificates: PROGRAM DESCRIPTIONS

In order to make its educational offerings available to professionals and others interested in furthering their knowledge or job skills through related human-dog studies, the University offers professional certificate programs in addition to its Associate of Science, Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degree programs.

Professional Certificate Programs

The University issues a “Certificate of Completion” to students successfully completing one of its seminars and training programs. This certificate indicates that the student has demonstrated the knowledge and abilities required by the coursework.

Continuing Education Credit

University coursework may be taken for Continuing Education Credits. Continuing Education Credits for professional and job skill development may be needed when employers, re-licensure agencies, school districts and other authorities require a specified number of hours of study for career advancement or development. Continuing Education Credits are not generally accepted for academic credit. Acceptance of any University coursework for Continuing Education Credits by any business, school district or re-licensure agency should be verified through your place of employment.

Program Descriptions

Assistance Dog-Client Training is a two-week program in which individuals with disabilities are paired with an assistance dog to be their partner and helpmate, or professionals teaching or working with individuals with disabilities are paired with a dog that will help the client population with whom they work. The course concentrates on teaching dog management skills to those seeking pre-trained service, facility, home helpmate and social/therapy dogs.


To provide an environment

1. Whereby students in the Assistance Dog Education degree program can, as student-teachers, place the service dogs they or others have trained with individuals with disabilities;

2. To provide assistance dogs to individuals with disabilities allowing them more physical independence thus expanding the scope of their lives, including offering them more potential for employment.

3. To provide professionals teaching or working with individuals with disabilities a dog that will help the client population with whom they work.

At the conclusion of each assistance dog’s training, its soon-to-be human partner is required to attend a two-week training camp to learn the necessary handling techniques to get the best out of his/her canine helpmate. Ninety commands are taught to the human partner along with their ”how to” application, dog management skills and canine health care.

Certificate Courses

High Schooled Assistance Dog Instructor

Assistance Dog Education 2.5 credits

This optional fee based course is offered as part of Associate of Science in Assistance Dog Education degree program and the Service Dog Training seminar, is focused on teaching individuals interested in working with teens at-risk the skills to teach the kids how to train assistance dogs. The first third of the class is lecture, the rest of the class focuses on observation and student teaching of the teens themselves. Graduates start or go to work in similar programs.


1. To provide the knowledge and develop the enthusiasm in the students to set up needed programs whereby teens in juvenile hall or special programs are given the opportunity to train service dogs for people with disabilities in that community.

2. To provide a learning environment whereby individuals interested in working with teens at-risk learn management skills related to teaching teens at-risk. The skills learned in this course are fundamental for any entry-level teaching assistant role in middle schools and high schools, and in teen programs and centers including special schools, camps and other sites to which teens at-risk are remanded.

The Instructor course covers the use of the HS A-Dog curriculum while providing student-teaching experience with at-risk teens. Requirements for HS A-Dog Instructor certification include a high school diploma or equivalent, and successful completion of 60 hours of instruction in HS A-Dog curriculum and methodologies including a minimum of 20 hours of student-teaching experience. Students taking concurrent assistance dog coursework, receive certification upon completion of 30 hours of HS A-Dog instruction and student-teaching experience.

Social/Therapy Team Training

Assistance Dog Education 1 credit

This 17 hour course educates a handler/dog team in the techniques, essential dog skills and the health and interaction protocols required to visit various health care facilities, schools and other institutions to share some much-needed cheer and love.


1. Health care workers, psychologists and educators learn to expand their employment outreach by developing the skills to partner with a dog in their employment setting, utilizing the unique nature of the dog to further reach out to the individuals whom they are serving in that capacity;

2. Graduates of this class may start their own program to teach people to use dogs as social conduits with less able, hospitalized or convalescing individuals;

Students completing this course have opportunities for entry-level positions in health and social care centers with people with physical and mental disorders, aging and alone.

Service Dog Training Seminar

Assistance Dog Education

This is an intensive seven-week service dog training course designed to teach individuals to train and place service dogs with individuals with mobility limitations. Hands-on training and an opportunity to student-teach an actual client training are part of the curriculum.


1. Prepares individuals to become beginning assistance dog trainers, start their own assistance dog program, work as entry-level client placement specialists, fundraisers or managers of assistance dog programs;

2. Other entry-level job availabilities include kennel workers, dog daycare workers, dog walkers, dog trainers, dog sitters and dog product sales people.

Using the most up-to-date methodologies, the seminar expands upon the knowledge of existing service dog programs, helps other assistance dog programs begin service dog training and provides trained employees to existing programs.