PATH Intl. Center Accreditation

Benefits of Accreditation

Just as other professions use accreditation and licensing systems to improve the well-being of their industries, professionals in the field of equine-assisted activities have a distinction of their own through the Premier Accredited Center Program. The Premier Accredited Center (PAC) Program give centers the chance to demonstrate their excellence in providing quality equine-assisted activities.

This voluntary process recognizes Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.) Centers that have met established industry standards. The accreditation process is a peer review system in which trained volunteers visit and review centers in accordance with PATH Intl. standards. A center that meets the accreditation requirements based on the administrative, facility, program and applicable special interest standards becomes a Premier Accredited Center for a period of five years. As a leading representative of the EAAT industry, PATH Intl. PACs receive a lot of benefits with being accredited.

Quality Assurance

  • Prospective donors, volunteers and riders are more willing to establish relationships with organizations that have attained this respected benchmark. Likewise, staff and volunteers can take pride in knowing that they represent a center that meets the national standards.
  • Accreditation provides an advantage when raising funds — especially when approaching private donors and state organizations that require proof that a center meets industry standards before distributing funds.
  • When directors or other key staff members change at a PAC, riders can be assured that they will continue to receive consistent, therapeutically valid services that meet safety standards.


  • Premier Accredited Centers are listed separately and prominently from member centers in all of PATH Intl.’s published listings. This includes the PATH Intl. Membership Directory, state lists that are mailed to hundreds of prospective donors, riders and others requesting information, as well as the PATH Intl. website that is accessible to millions of people daily.
  • Industry recognition of PACs is demonstrated through announcements at the PATH Intl. Annual Meeting & Conference.
  • Only PACs are referred to print and broadcast reporters who call PATH Intl. asking to speak to centers. These centers are known to have met safety standards and will make good sources for news stories.


  • Only PACs have the right to use the PATH Intl. logo and “Premier Accredited Center” tagline on printed materials.
  • PACs receive template press releases to customize and send to local media.


  • Through the PATH Intl. Standards of Certification and Accreditation Manual, personnel have a thorough resource to evaluate their centers.
  • To keep the standards current, the PATH Intl. Board of Directors and Accreditation Committee routinely research and review the legality of the accreditation process.
  • The Center Accreditation Training (CAT) course is designed to guide the center through the accreditation process, from application to the day of the site visit. It is required for centers that intend to apply for accreditation.

Site Visitors

PATH Intl. individual members can get involved with the accreditation process by becoming site visitors. This experience offers networking opportunities, travel to other PATH Intl. programs, excellent educational opportunities and first-hand participation in the growth and professional development of our industry.

1.    Potential site visitors must have:

a.    An in depth knowledge of PATH Intl. standards, including the compliance demonstration of all standards, in order to conduct the visit with minimal use of the standards manual
b.    Must know the intent of all standards in order to score correctly

2.    Potential site visitors must know accreditation process and procedure:

a.    The visit process as documented in the standards manual
b.    Visitor responsibilities as documented in the standards manual

3.    Have worked in the day-to-day operations at a PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center for a minimum of one year or have equivalent experience

4.    Successful completion of the CAT course within one year prior to attending the Associate Visitor Training Course

5.    Successful completion of the Associate Visitor Training Course

6.    Current PATH Intl. membership

7.    Availability to attend a visitor update annually

8.    Availability to volunteer time to conduct site visits and to participate in continuing education

9.    Availability to travel

a.    From 2 to 3 times per year
b.    For 1 to 3 days at a time

10.    Willingness to be reimbursed for travel expenses (when arrangements are made through the PATH Intl. travel agent, most travel expenses will be paid up front by PATH Intl.)

11.    Personal skills required:

a.    Attention to detail
b.    Clear and concise communication
c.    Time management
d.    Ability to work well with a team
e.    Ability to handle conflict professionally
f.    Professionally and objectively represent PATH Intl.

The Center Accreditation Training (CAT) Course

This course is designed to guide the center through the accreditation process, from application to the day of the site visit. It is required for centers that intend to apply for accreditation. Centers seeking Premier Accreditation status for the first time are strongly encouraged to attend an in-person CAT. The designated center representative needs to attend this training course and be present the day of the site visit. It is recommended that an alternate representative also attend the CAT. The CAT course can be a useful tool for programs that are starting up as it provides insight into complying with standards, which makes the entire accreditation process much smoother for the program in the future.

PATH Intl. standards are not only important to centers who go through accreditation, but also very important to the ongoing work and daily activities of instructors. Standards were initially developed and tested during instructor certification. The Center Accreditation Training (CAT) and test is presently a part of the Instructor certification process to insure that instructors are aware of and know where to find the latest standards. Standards aren't just for centers. Standards provide guidance to instructors to strive towards best practices.

The CAT course is offered free to PATH Intl. members at PATH Intl. regional conferences and the PATH Intl. conference. It can also be purchased in the PATH Intl. online store for $10.


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