Colleges and Universities

Higher Education Membership FAQ

PATH-Intl-higher-ed-logo-smGeneral Information

1. Why is the higher education membership offered? What is its purpose?
• To encourage the acceptance of equine-assisted activities and therapies as a legitimate career choice.
• To encourage future students majoring in traditional programs, such as social work, psychology, education and physical therapy, to add another dimension to their current course work. By providing this training within a degree program, graduates will be prepared to introduce and incorporate this work within their future employment.
• Being part of a university degree program adds credibility to equine-assisted activities and therapies;
• The membership increases awareness of how equine-assisted activities and therapies interfaces with education, social work, psychology, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, recreational therapy, business, non-profit management, and many others.
• Improves the preparedness of instructors to better serve their clientele.
• Through careful coursework selection combined with therapeutic riding instruction, students can determine alternate career paths within the equine-assisted activities and therapies industry. Other careers include business management, accounting, non-profit management, marketing, and public relations.

2. What are the benefits to the higher education institution?
• Adding another dimension of learning and professional development opportunities to existing, established degrees.
• National recognition by a professional organization.
• New practicum opportunities for degree programs that require this component.
• Establishing a relationship with an organization providing services to the local community.
• Increasing the visibility of the higher education institution within the community.
• The creation of service learning opportunities for current students.

3. What are the benefits to the PATH International center?
• The partnership with a higher education institution provides a higher level of credibility to the center.
• The PATH International center will benefit from the diverse backgrounds of the students.
• Higher education institutions have high profiles within their community. This partnership will increase the visibility of the program.
• Opportunities for networking and support from faculty, staff, students, alumni, and donors from the higher education institution may be increased.
• Opportunity to increase volunteer numbers.

Higher Education Membership

1. What are the levels of PATH International Higher Education Membership?
There are three levels of membership. Click here for more information.

2. When is my higher education membership due to renew?
Higher education membership is renewed annually.

3. Who initiates the partnership between the PATH International center and the higher education institution?
The initial contact can come from either the PATH International center or the higher education institution.

4. Can PATH International assist us in starting a program?
PATH International staff and Higher Education Task Force members are available for mentorship.

5. What is an “MOU”? Is this required?
• This is the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the PATH International center and the higher education institution.
• The MOU explains and defines what is expected of both parties.
• The MOU is required at outset to define (a) who is responsible for which areas of performance, and (b) is mutually protective to both parties to minimize potential for misunderstandings.

Curriculum and Instructors

1. Does our curriculum have to be submitted to PATH International for approval?
Submission of the curriculum is not required for approval.

2. Will PATH International dictate how and what we teach?
Higher education institutions and PATH International centers will provide the necessary information and experiences for students to successfully complete certification.

3. Who determines the eligibility of the instructors?
• Higher education faculty and PATH International center instructor approval will be the responsibility of the university.
• Only Level Three/PATH International Premier Accredited Centers will offer the instructor certification. PATH International requires a certified instructor be part of the center in order to be a premier accredited center.

4. Does PATH International provide the curriculum?
• PATH International will provide for the faculty one copy of the Instructor Education Guide, the Registered Level Instructor Workshop Manual and PowerPoint presentations.
• One copy of the Instructor Education Guide, registration in PATH International online courses and Registered Level Instructor Workshop Manual will be sent for each student as part of the student fees paid.

5. Do we have to notify PATH International when we make changes to the curriculum?
• It is not necessary to notify PATH International of curriculum changes.
• Changes to curriculum should contribute to the learning opportunities and experiences needed by the student for successful completion of the PATH International Instructor Certification.

Higher Education Student Members

1. What membership benefits are included in the higher education student membership?
The higher education student membership includes all individual membership benefits including a subscription to PATH International Strides magazine and discounts on PATH International regional and national conferences.

2. What are the dues for a higher education student membership?
The higher education student membership is included in the student fees paid with a level II or level III higher education membership. The student is a student member as long as they remain at that higher education institution or until they become a PATH International Certified Instructor.

3. Will they be required to follow the same steps for certification as those who are taking the traditional route of workshop and certification?
Yes, students will be required to follow the same process, but will not have to attend and complete a workshop (for Level II and Level III Higher Education Members).

4. If we offer curricula for certification, what are the employment opportunities for students wishing to become PATH International Certified Instructors?
Instructors are positioned for multiple job opportunities within the equine-assisted activities and therapies industry, new centers looking to start a PATH International center need to have at least one TRI within a year to operate.

5. Can students get a refund it they drop the course?
Refunds will be given if a student drops the course and applies for a refund in writing to the PATH International office within two weeks of the student starting the program.


1. Who determines when a student is ready for certification?
• The higher education institution and faculty will determine when a student is eligible and prepared for PATH International certification.
• Some higher education institutions may consider the successful completion of certain courses, degrees, and/or certificates to be the determining factor in certification readiness.

2. Can other people participate in the certification?
Yes, other people who have completed the PATH International certification requirements and pay the certification fee may enroll in any remaining spots at a higher education certification. Preference will be given to higher education student members.

3. What happens when a student fails any or all of the instructor certification?
The student will follow the current process for appeals and re-application.

4. Can I become an advanced instructor right away?
If available, a few openings may be offered at certifications to those who qualify.

5. Do I need to become a registered level instructor before becoming an advanced instructor?
Students with the appropriate experience who satisfy the PATH International Advanced Instructor requirements can become an advanced instructor without becoming a registered level instructor first.

6. Can I pick the evaluators for the certification?
The PATH International office selects evaluators for consistency and objectivity.

7. Does the partnering center have to be a PATH International Premier Accredited Center to hold a certification?
The partnering center has one year from the time the higher education institution joins as a member to obtain PAC status.

PATH International Partnering Centers

Is the level three membership the same as being a PATH International Premier Accredited Center or do we have to go through that process?
All centers will have to go through the steps necessary to become a PATH International Premier Accredited Center.

What is the accreditation application fee for a higher education member?
The accreditation application fee is waived as part of the higher education membership benefit package.


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