Yes, the CECTH certification is accepted by PATH Intl. to apply for Registered Instructor status through "alternative credentials." Also, if you are interested in teaching overseas, Horses in Education and Therapy International (HETI) accepts the CECTH certification for the HETI Level I certification.
What is involved in becoming a CECTH certified Instructor?
To become a CECTH certified instructor, a candidate must successfully complete Phases I, II and III of the PQInstructor Training.
Phase I is a five-day seminar providing information about disabilities, team building, volunteer training, facility requirements, record keeping, precautions and contraindications, the therapeutic horse and much more. Phase I utilizes classroom lecture and practical application skill-building. Candidates will take both a written and a riding skill test (Instructor and Master Levels).
Phase II is a four-day seminar encompassing a short review of Phase I followed by collaborative hands-on experience and demonstration on the following subjects: goal setting, lesson planning, utilizing the horse in therapeutic activities, horse handling, mounts and dismounts, and teaching techniques. Through a role-play system, candidates are examined on their abilities to teach two lessons (cognitive and physical), mounts and dismounts, and horse handling skills.
Upon successful completion of Phases I and II and accumulation of the requisite number of teaching hours, Instructor and Master Level Instructor Candidates arrange for two CECTH PQI evaluators to come to their home program where they are evaluated on their teaching and management skills.
REMEMBER, YOU ARE NOT PQI CERTIFIED UNTIL YOU HAVE SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED PHASES I, II AND III.
Do I have to be experienced in therapeutic riding or other equine assisted activities to become certified through CECTH?
Yes, candidates at the Instructor and Master Levels need to have prior experience. It is not possible to learn everything you need to know to become a PQInstructor in nine days (Phases I and II). Many people attend Phases I and II at the Instructor-in-Training level to gain background information and then proceed through the process once they have gained the experience necessary to demonstrate their skills at the Instructor or Master Level.
How do I know what level I should pursue?
The Instructor-in-Training is often a volunteer, assistant instructor, health professional, or a person just starting out in equine assisted activities. The Instructor-in-Training receives a certificate of completion but is NOT a PQInstructor and, therefore, will not be teaching without supervision.
The Instructor is an individual with experiential knowledge in riding skills, teaching skills, and a well-rounded understanding of disabilities including precautions and contraindications, goal setting, lesson planning and safe practice. The Instructor is qualified to teach and mentor others.
The Master Instructor is an individual who would be able to "teach the teachers" showing depth of knowledge about: program design and administration; teaching techniques; horses and equitation; disabilities; goal-setting, lesson planning and evaluation; and, national and international standards of practice.
Why do I need to take a riding test?
As therapeutic riding instructors, we are utilizing the horse and riding skills to effect changes in our riders. If you do not know how to ride, you cannot know what skills and movements are appropriate for a rider or how to teach them to perform the skill.
Certification is not mandated by law, why should I spend the money and take the time to become CECTH certified?
As this profession has grown, so have the expectations for practitioners grown. There is so much more to participating in any equine assisted activity than having an individual with a disability sit on a horse and be led around - this is a pony ride, not a therapeutic ride. Through the certification process, you are letting your riders, their families and the public know that you are concerned about safety, methods, education and standards of practice. Insurance (liability) companies recognize and reward applicants for their certifications. Continuing education shows dedication to the field and your professionalism. Grant applications will require certification. An a worst-case scenario, should you have an accident, your certification will show that you know and adhere to state and national standards in your practice.
Once I become certified at a certain level, can I continue on to the next level?
Absolutely! The Instructor-in-Training is not a certified instructor, but once they have acquired experience and supervised teaching hours, they can return to Phases I and II and re-take the exams at the Instructor level and continue on to Phase III. The certified Instructor can return to Phases I and II and take the exams at the Master Instructor level and continue on to Phase III at the Master Instructor level. There are many benefits to continuing in the certification process: ability to teach more involved students; become a speaker/presenter at seminars and conferences; participate in research projects; become a mentor; be involved in your state council by becoming an evaluator; and, the knowledge that your professional peers have validated your commitment to, and knowledge of, the field of equine assisted activities.
What happens if I do not pass all of the exams?
CECTH understands that for many people, re-entering education and testing settings are very difficult and stressful. In order for CECTH to attest to your abilities and adherence to standards, there must be an evaluation process, but we try to help you reach your goals whenever possible.
For example, you attend Phase I at the instructor level and do not successfully complete your riding demonstration. The evaluators will provide you with suggestions for improving your riding skills during the the time between Phase I and Phase II and then when you register for Phase II, you notify the Executive Director that you would like to re-take the riding examination.
For example, you attend Phase II at the Instructor level and do not pass the practical examination on teaching for safety reasons (automatic failure). The evaluators will provide a written rationale, including suggestions for practice. You can then return to the next Phase II as an auditor and re-test.
Do I have to take all of the Phases in the same year?
We recognize that certification is a time commitment and not everyone can complete all three phases within one year. The magic number here is three. once you complete Phase I, you must complete Phase II within three years. Once you have completed Phase II, you must complete Phase III within three years. If you cannot complete Phase III within that timeframe, you will need to return and audit Phase II prior to applying for Phase III as the standards of knowledge in this profession are growing and changing so quickly.
Do I have to re-test periodically to maintain my certification?
No, once you are certified, you will maintain your certification as long as you are an Instructor member in good standing of CECTH (current Individual and Instructor membership) and submit documentation of your continuing education hours (8 hours every year). By acquiring continuing education hours, you show that you are staying abreast of the changes in this field. The best way to be sure you have your continuing education hours is to audit Phases I and/or II.