Equine Physical Therapy Schools and Certification Programs

Although there is only one program devoted to equine physical therapy in the U.S., you could also study equine physical therapy through a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree program and post-graduate veterinarian internship. Continue reading for more information about training options. Schools offering Animal Care degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Equine physical therapy courses are mainly found within related programs of study, like veterinary sciences. Internship and mentorship programs also exist to help students develop the skills necessary for equine physical therapy. Various certifications are also available through professional organizations.

Degree Equine physical therapists should possess a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree
Certification Students can be certified through the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation
Licensing A license is required to work in animal medicine

Where Can I Pursue an Equine Physical Therapy Program?

There are a number of opportunities to develop the specialized skill set you'll need to become an equine physical therapist. Equine physical therapy is largely contained within schools already devoted to veterinary and equine practice. For instance, while in veterinary school, you might seek out a track devoted specifically to equine sports medicine and rehabilitation. To gain practical experience working with horses, you also might consider completing equine internship and mentorship programs before and/or after you graduate from veterinary school.

Veterinary schools that offer focuses on equine studies include:

  • North Carolina State University
  • University of Georgia
  • Michigan State University
  • Ohio State University
  • Purdue University

How Can I Begin a Career in Equine Physical Therapy?

You must first become a veterinarian in order to begin working in equine physical therapy. To become a licensed veterinarian, you must hold a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.). As of 2018, there are 30 schools of veterinary medicine in the U.S. accredited by the Council on Education of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). You can find courses in equine health in several of these programs.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), to apply to these schools, you must possess a bachelor's degree. Many undergraduate students major in such areas as biology, biochemistry or zoology before entering a veterinary school. You also will need to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), the Veterinary College Admission Test (VCAT) or the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). Entry into veterinary school is very competitive.

How Can I Become a Certified Equine Rehabilitation Practitioner?

The equine physical rehabilitation certificate program at the University of Tennessee's College of Veterinary Medicine is the only university-based program for equine physical rehabilitation in the nation that is offered at an AVMA-accredited school. This postgraduate program can teach you about scientifically-based equine rehabilitation therapies through sequential courses that incorporate case studies, clinical application and equine rehabilitation theory.

The program is broken into three parts that progress from an introductory review of equine anatomy and confirmation, gait analysis and treatment modalities to a case study where you design your own rehabilitation program for common conditions in the horse. You must pass a cumulative exam to complete the program and be awarded the designation of a Certified Equine Rehabilitation Practitioner. To be admitted to this program, you must be a veterinarian, veterinary technician, physical therapist or a physical therapy assistant. The program also admits students who have completed one year of courses in one of these programs. You will need to demonstrate your equine handling abilities prior to beginning the program.

Is Additional Certification Available?

The American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation (ACVSMR) offers board certification in equine sports medicine and rehabilitation. To become certified, the ACVSMR requires that you are qualified to practice veterinary medicine. You additionally must meet the requirements of one of two pathways to certification. These pathways allow you to gain experience and expertise in the field in a variety of settings, including private practice and a residency program. Once you fulfill these requirements, you can submit your credentials for the written certification exams.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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