Exams and Certification

The AHCB Hippotherapy Certification Exam, an entry level examination, was first administered in 2014 after AHA and AHCB determined the need to develop an entry level test of competency to recognize those individuals who have met the eligibility requirements and basic educational standards of the profession.

The first Hippotherapy Clinical Specialist Exam was rolled out in 1999.  In 2006 the AHCB celebrated a new achievement when a therapist from British Columbia, Canada, became the first therapist outside the US to pass the exam.  In 2012 a therapist from Seoul, South Korea became the first therapist outside of North America to pass the exam thereby acknowledging AHCB’s attainment of worldwide recognition.

Important update for 2020 exams – Please read

Notice to AHCB Certification and HPCS candidates regarding 2020 exam cost increase.

Professional Testing Corporation (PTC) is the firm that administers the HPCS and AHCB Certification Examinations.

Beginning in 2020, PTC will be changing their exam delivery vendor to Prometric.  The reason for this change stems from a variety of complaints about the current vendor, including poor staffing and thus reduced satisfaction by those taking exams.

Prometric has an excellent reputation and is used by many national organizations, including the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy and American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties.  The change to Prometric will provide more testing centers, easier online registration, and quiet testing areas with headphones at each desk.

AHCB has attempted to keep the cost of taking the exams as reasonable as possible.  As a result of this policy,  AHCB is not in a financial position to completely absorb the increased cost that is being passed on to us due to the move to Prometric Testing Centers.  Therefore, at this time the cost of both exams, beginning with the February, 2020 HPCS exam, will increase by $50.  This increase only covers 50% of the increased cost being charged to AHCB and still maintains the cost of our exams at a very comparable level.

It is our hope that you will have an overall improved testing experience as a result of these changes!

The AHCB

Comparison of the Certifications in Hippotherapy

AHCB Hippotherapy Certified

Formal recognition of basic knowledge in the use of equine movement in therapy practice. May acknowledge themselves as “AHCB Hippotherapy Certified.”


Rationale

  • Promote personal & professional growth in the industry
  • Provides a measurable standard of knowledge for hippotherapy provides
  • Supports communication & justification with the public, third-party payers & other professionals

Eligibility Requirements

  • Be currently licensed or certified to practice as a therapist or assistant in the fields of physical therapy, occupational therapy, or speech and language pathology, in the United States or the equivalent in other countries.
  • At least 1 year of full-time (2,000 hours) experience in the practice of respective discipline.
  • Completed AHA Level I/Part I & Level II/Part II Equine Skills and Treatment Principles courses or equivalent graduate courses.
  • Minimum of 25 hours of 1:1 direct treatment in hippotherapy prior to the application deadline (not including treatment experience that is part of an educational course or mentoring process).
  • Experienced and comfortable working with horses and can ride safely and independently at the walk and trot.

Exam Length

150 multiple choice questions – 3 hours


Visit our AHCB Hippotherapy Certified exam page for current dates and fees.

Hippotherapy Clinical Specialist (HPCS®)

Formal recognition of advanced knowledge in the use of equine movement in therapy practice. May use “HPCS” in professional title to indicate advanced clinical certification.


Rationale

  • Offers a higher level of certification for those with more advanced experience and in-depth knowledge in the principles and application of hippotherapy
  • Specialty certification indicating expertise in hippotherapy
  • Same as AHCB Hippotherapy Certified

Eligibility Requirements

  • Be currently licensed or certified to practice as a therapist or assistant in the fields of physical therapy, occupational therapy, or speech and language pathology, in the United States or the equivalent in other countries.
  • At least 3 years of full-time (6,000 hours) experience in the practice of respective discipline.
  • Minimum of 100 hours for 1:1 direct treatment in hippotherapy practice in the 3 years prior to application deadline (not including treatment experience that is part of an educational course or mentoring process).
  • Experienced and comfortable working with horses. Independent and skilled riding ability.

Exam Length

250 multiple choice questions – 4 hours


Visit our Hippotherapy Clinical Specialist exam page for current dates and fees.