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Animal Assisted Therapy in Counseling

Graduate Certificate


This 9 credit Graduate Certificate in Animal Assisted Therapy in Counseling (AAT-C) provides specialized training and supervised practice in the ethical and humane inclusion of animals in the psychotherapeutic environment by credentialed mental health professionals. The curriculum is in alignment with the American Counseling Association (ACA) adopted AAT-C Competencies of Practice (2017). The AAT-C certificate is open to graduate degree seeking students and non-degree seeking post-graduates seeking further professional development in AAT-C practice. Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) students may use the available 9 credits of elective coursework in the CMHC program of study to complete the certificate. It is also open to Psychology, School Counseling, and Social Work graduate students pursuing a clinical learning track. Licensed, license eligible, registered interns, and provisionally licensed mental all disciplines (Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Clinical Social Work, Marriage & Family Therapy, Psychiatric Nurse-Practitioner, Psychology, and School Counseling) are also eligible for admission to this certificate program.


Students who complete the UNF Graduate Certificate in Animal Assisted Therapy in Counseling will be able to:

  • Interpret and apply the ACA AAT-C Competencies to practice in the CMHC setting
  • Articulate processes necessary to gain species-specific registrations needed for ethical practice
  • Classify animal welfare risks inherent in the utilization of animals in the counseling setting
  • Analyze attitudes, beliefs and acculturative experiences through experiential learning actives that foster student understanding of self, counselor identity and ethical practice especially with culturally diverse clients.
  • Demonstrate ethical AAT-C practice congruent with identified evidence-based theories of counseling for assessment and interventions for treatment, personal growth and wellness.

Admission to the Program

  • A baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution, or its equivalent from a foreign institution, with a GPA of 3.0 or higher in all work attempted in the last 60 credit hours of undergraduate study.
  • Application to the University of North Florida (See apply now button below)
  • Official transcripts, and foreign evaluations if applicable, from all post-secondary institutions attended.
  • Two letters of reference/professional recommendation
  • Animal Assisted Therapy in Counseling Certificate Application Essay (requirements listed below)
  • For UNF graduate students currently enrolled in CMHC, School Counseling, Clinical Social Work, and Psychology program only: one recommendation letter from an existing program faculty member or faculty advisor

Essay Requirements

  • Title page and 1 – 2 page double spaced, typed APA formatted paper that addresses the following:
    • Title Page with Student Name & Animal Assisted Therapy in Counseling Supplemental Application, Date of Submission
    • Student interest in the field of Animal Assisted Therapy in Counseling
    • Student experience in working with animals, human-animal bond and/or the inclusion of animals and/or nature in healthcare or education
    • Student expectation for professional use of Animal Assisted Therapy in Counseling Certificate if admitted to program of study and awarded

Application Deadlines

Fall Term: August 1

Spring Term: December 1

Summer Term: May 1


Approximate Enrollment: 20


Apply Now!   

Special Notes about the Program

  • Non-degree seeking students enrolled in certificate programs are NOT eligible for financial aid.
  • Anticipated costs include:
    • Graduate School Application Fee: $30
    • Course Tuition & Fees: $495 per credit hr ($1,485 per course)*
    • Books: $175
    • Estimated Total Certificate Cost $4,700*  

AAT in Counseling Certificate (Post-Baccalaureate Certificate)

Program Description for AAT in Counseling Certificate

Major: AAT in Counseling Certificate Degree: Post-Baccalaureate Certificate

Certificate Requirements (9 credits)

HSC6601 Animal Assist Int and Th in HC (3 Credits)

MHS5403 Exp Arts and Creativity in Cou (3 Credits)

MHS6444 AAT-C in Coun: T and P (3 Credits)


Dr. Carlene Taylor, Instructor

Integration of Creativity, Animals & Nature Initiative & 

Animal Assisted Therapy in Counseling Certificate


Brooks College of Health | Department of Public Health

University of North Florida

1 UNF Dr.

Jacksonville, FL 32224

(904) 620-5716