The field of human-animal interactions is growing rapidly, with innovative practice applications and research developments emerging regularly. Our Orientation to Human-Animal Interactions professional development course is a great starting place for students to gain an introduction to the variety of applications and research in this field. By examining how human-animal interactions can be incorporated into micro, mezzo, and macro career fields, students gain a deeper understanding of the power of the human-animal bond and how these concepts can be incorporated into professional practice.

Animal-assisted intervention with a horse in a grassy field

Course Format

Students will gain practical knowledge about the power of the human-animal bond across lifespans and communities, in a self-paced, asynchronous online course model. Through an overview of micro or clinical applications, students will become familiar with the concept of human-animal interactions, terminology and implications for different working animals, and considerations for the welfare of working companion animals. Through a mezzo and macro lens, students gain education on the roles of animals in communities and in policy.

This course is self-paced and can easily be completed by busy working professionals who need to learn on a flexible schedule and timeframe. Students have up to three months to access the course and complete five modules of content. This class is open to people from any experience or education level. We welcome anyone who is interested in this topic to register for this introductory class.


The course earns 5 continuing education units documented on a University of Denver transcript.


Students have up to 3 months to complete the coursework on their own schedule.


This asynchronous, self-paced course is available to anyone around the world (all 7 continents).

Animal-assisted activity at a hospital with a therapy dog

Course Outcomes

The Orientation to Human-Animal Interactions course provides an overview of the field of human-animal interactions. Students will enjoy and benefit from an introduction to this expansive field, and upon completion will feel prepared to pursue their specific area of interest through further education and training. 

Learn more about IHAC’s professional development certificate programs.

This course is for animal lovers at any stage in life who are contemplating a career, or volunteer work, that incorporates animals. I wish this course existed when I was first learning about the possibilities of working in human-animal interactions!

Arielle Giddens, LMSW
Arielle Giddens at an animal shelter holding kittens
Young woman with therapy dog in a classroom

Course Overview

The course content is divided into five modules. Students progress through the course in a sequential manner starting with Module 1. Each module contains a recorded lecture, readings, videos, and supplemental resources. There are content checks and brief self assessments built into the course to demonstrate learning and application to personal goals.

  • Module 1: The Human-Animal Bond and Redefining Our Relationship with Animals
  • Module 2: Animal-Assisted Interactions: Terminology and Applications
  • Module 3: Considering Animals in Helping Roles and Animal-Assisted Interactions
  • Module 4: Community-Based Applications of Human-Animal Interactions
  • Module 5: Future Opportunities in Human-Animal Interactions

Cost and Registration Information

This class is open to people from any experience or education level. We welcome anyone who is interested in this topic to register for this introductory class. This is an asynchronous, self-paced learning course. When you register, you will be sent course login details within 3 business days so you can get started learning quickly! Students earn 5 continuing education units.

Cost: $300 (includes all course materials)

Lisa Daigle holding hands under nose of black horse.
Providing mindfulness, advocacy, and wellness for equines

Lisa Daigle is the founder of Savannah's Place, a sanctuary providing mindfulness, advocacy, and wellness for equines and a 2015 graduate of the Institute for Human-Animal Connection's (IHAC) Animals and Human Health (AHH) Certificate program. Lisa has enrolled in the Humane Education Practitioner Certificate through IHAC this year because of her desire to utilize additional education to the benefit her local community and the animals at the sanctuary.

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Woman smiling kneeling next to Charles the therapy dog.
Animal-Assisted Therapy in Child Welfare

Rachel Pletcher completed Animals and Human Health in 2018 which has allowed her to develop and implement an animal-assisted therapy program for her child welfare organization.

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Maria and her therapy dog
Dog-Assisted Reading Program in Mexico

Maria Espinosa de los Monteros didn’t grow up with dogs, but quickly opened up her heart and home to the many stray dogs in need of care in her community once she was able to. She is now the director of the R.E.A.D. (Reading Education Assistant Dogs) program in Mexico City where she serves a diverse population and is elevating the role of dogs in her community.

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