The Gold Standard of Therapy Animals

The Working Animals Federation of Australia offers three levels of accreditation options whilst working with therapy animals. 

The Gold Standard for Personal Therapy Animal Handlers

This pathway is designed for individuals who currently own a prospect, a therapy animal in training, a preliminary or a fully qualified therapy animal, and who are not affiliated with a WAFA self-accrediting training organisation. This pathway is for individuals with a disability or mental health condition who require the comfort or support of an animal in their home. Personal Therapy Animals are not recognised under Australian legislation and as such do not have any public access rights. Personal therapy animals should not be confused with an assistance animal. 

We offer three levels of recognition that correspond to the stages of training. Please note, these levels do not replace the need for most handlers to work with a professional trainer:

  • Bronze – Prospect: For those who are in the early stages with a potential personal therapy animal.

     

  • Silver – In Training: For those who are actively training their personal therapy animal.

     

  • Gold – Qualified: For those whose personal therapy animal has completed training and is fully qualified.

Benefits of this pathway include independent third-party evidence of ability, continuing professional development opportunities, opportunities to mentor other handlers, and use of our personal therapy animal logo as proof of training and need. 

Requirements for each level include completion of minimum nationally recognised units of competency, completion of logbooks, quizzes, video submissions, and theory education on infectious disease, Australian law, and self-advocacy.

Accreditation Options for Professionals

The Working Animals Federation of Australia offers three levels of credentials, corresponding with the quantity of education and experience required to earn it whilst working with assistance animals. 

The Gold Standard for Therapy Animal Trainers


This option is available to students or current trainers in the industry. It is recommended for those who currently work or volunteer in the sector. Benefits include independent third-party evidence of ability, continuing professional development opportunities, opportunities to mentor other trainers, and use of our nationally recognised post-nominals and logos as evidence of ability. Trainers also have the ability to become a WAFA Holistic Therapy Animal Test (TAT) assessor. Requirements include completion of a minimum nationally recognised qualification, logbooks of experience, criminal history checks, submission of

The Gold Standard for Professional Animal Therapy Teams


This option is available to current allied health (e.g. OT, speech therapist, psychologist), mental health (e.g. social worker, counsellor, psychotherapist) or medical (e.g. psychiatrist) professionals who provide animal-assisted therapy within the scope of their work. Professionals must hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and be registered to practice in Australia. Students should consider registering as an ‘Animal Therapy Team’, and transfer their credential to the ‘Professional Animal Therapy Team’ credential upon graduation and registration.
Benefits include independent third-party evidence of ability, continuing professional development opportunities, opportunities to mentor other professionals, and use of our nationally recognised post-nominals and logos as evidence of ability. Requirements include completion of minimum nationally recognised units of competency, case studies, criminal history checks, submission of policy and procedure, and in-house training.

The Gold Standard for Animal Therapy Teams

This option is available to professionals offering services utilising animal-assisted learning. Here, a facilitator is uses animal to provide animal-assisted learning activities which may include equine-assisted learning, therapeutic horseback riding or canine-assisted therapy.
Professionals should hold a diploma in a relevant field, or be working towards completing a diploma or higher qualification.
Benefits include independent third-party evidence of ability, continuing professional development opportunities, opportunities to mentor other professionals, and use of our nationally recognised post-nominals and logos as evidence of ability. Requirements include completion of minimum nationally recognised units of competency, case studies, criminal history checks, submission of policy and procedure, and in-house training.

The Gold Standard for Therapy Animal Visitation Teams


This option is available to individuals offering animal-assisted activities as a Therapy Animal Visitation Teams. These individuals provide animal-assisted activities by taking their pet to visit a nursing home, hospital or other facility once or twice a fortnight.
Benefits include independent third-party evidence of ability, continuing professional development opportunities, opportunities to mentor others, and use of our nationally recognised post-nominals and logos as evidence of ability.
Requirements include completion of minimum nationally recognised units of competency, case studies, criminal history checks, submission of policy and procedure, and in-house training.

Accreditation Options for Organisations

The Gold Standard for  Facility Animals

This option is available to organisations who house one or more animals on-site for the benefit of offering animal-assisted activities their clients. This may include a chicken coop at a nursing home, a cat in a residential facility or a teacher’s dog who attends school each day to support students. Benefits include independent third-party evidence of ability, continuing professional development opportunities, opportunities to mentor others, and use of our nationally recognised logos as evidence of ability. Requirements include completion of minimum nationally recognised units of competency, case studies, criminal history checks, submission of policy and procedure, and in-house training.

The Gold Standard for  Facilities Welcoming Therapy Animal Visitation Teams

This option is available to organisations who welcome Therapy Animal Visitation Teams to their premises to offer animal-assisted activities to their clients. For example, a group of dogs visit a university each week to provide support to students, or a dog who visits a hospital ward or nursing home each fortnight to support residents. Benefits include independent third-party evidence of ability, continuing professional development opportunities, opportunities to mentor others, and use of our nationally recognised logos as evidence of ability. Requirements include completion of minimum nationally recognised units of competency, case studies, criminal history checks, submission of policy and procedure, and in-house training.

Accreditation Options for Accredited Training Organisations

The Gold Standard for Accredited Training Organisations

This option is available for organisations who wish to have their programs accredited. For example, organisations who train Therapy Animal Visitation Teams.This accreditation is for a program, not an individual. Benefits include independent third-party evidence of efficacy, continuing professional development opportunities, opportunities to participate in research and communicate with peers, and use of our nationally recognised logos as evidence of ability. Requirements include completion of minimum nationally recognised units of competency, case studies, criminal history checks, and in-house training for all staff. Submission of policy and procedure is required for the business as a whole. All staff receive individual access to the WAFA members-only website.

The Gold Standard for Self-Accrediting Training Organisation

This option is available for training organisations who wish to have their programs accredited. For example, organisations who train Therapy Animal Visitation Teams. This accreditation is for a program, not an individual. This accreditation allows the organisation to accredit their handlers as reaching WAFA standard. Benefits include independent third-party evidence of efficacy, continuing professional development opportunities, opportunities to participate in research and communicate with peers, and use of our nationally recognised logos as evidence of ability. All handlers trained by this organisation have the use of our nationally recognisable Therapy Access logo. Requirements include completion of minimum nationally recognised units of competency, case studies, criminal history checks, and in-house training for all staff. Submission of policy and procedure is required for the business as a whole. All staff and handlers receive individual access to the WAFA members-only website.

Other Accreditation Options for Individuals

The Gold Standard for Therapy Access Test Assessors (Holistic TAT)

If you are a WAFA-accredited therapy animal trainer, you can upgrade your accreditation to Holistic Therapy Access Test Assessor. It is recommended for those who currently work or volunteer in the sector. Benefits include independent third-party evidence of ability, continuing professional development opportunities, opportunities to mentor other TAT assessors, and use of our nationally recognised post-nominals and logos as evidence of ability. Assessors also have the ability to conduct the WAFA Holistic PAT.

The Gold Standard for  Working Animal Breeders

This option is available to students or current animal breeders in the industry. It is recommended for those who currently work or volunteer in the sector. Benefits include independent third-party evidence of ability, continuing professional development opportunities, opportunities to mentor other breeders, and use of our nationally recognised post-nominals and logos as evidence of ability. Requirements include completion of a minimum nationally recognised qualification, logbooks of experience, criminal history checks, submission of policy and procedure, and in-house training.