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Continuing Education Requirements

Continuing education is an important part of growing professionally and maintaining currency in the profession.

1) Continuing Education Requirements:

NBCAAM certified practitioner members shine through their dedication to complete the following:
  1. A minimum of twenty (20) hours of continuing education (CE) hours/units (every two (2) years. See below for details, including some options and exceptions.

  2.  Documented “client” hours. Skip to Client Hours.
Continuing Education courses do not have to be pre-approved, if they meet all our requirements. You can find a list of pre-approved courses here.

NOTE!: COVID exceptions to the skills assessment requirement will be ending December 31, 2022. Online classes started in 2023 will require a skills assessment. See below.

The 20 hours of continuing education will be split into two categories: Skills and Other (formerly Hands-on and Non-hands-on).

For your first renewal, you may take any combination of 20 hours. For subsequent renewals, 10 of the 20 hours must be Skills.

Skills Class Options

Option 1:

In Person 


A Practitioner (CE student) is physically present in a classroom or educational setting with practical touch-related experience.

The education provider supplies the student with a certificate or equivalent, which includes the number of hours of training, certifying attendance and participation, date the course was completed, skill or course content covered, and course provider contact information. These classes require live instructor contact, hands-on supervised time and the teaching of skill sets.

Examples: touch qualities, palpation skills, reading of body rhythms, and /or bodily responses, and application of touch technique(s).

Option 2:

Documented Assessment

In person classes are preferred for the hands-on requirement, but are not always available. To document the hands-on skill component from learning in other formats, a practitioner may submit for pre-approval either of the following:

A. Documentation from the education provider that the student’s application of hands-on skills taught have been reviewed and approved by that education provider.
(such as review of a video demonstration, or a case study, for example.)


B. If the education provider can’t or won’t review the application of hands on skills taught, a member may request a NBCAAM approved supervisor to review a case study, performed by the practitioner, using the skills learned in the documented training (online or other format). Minimum 3 sessions, or as many as needed for demonstration purposes, as determined during the approval process. An extra fee, payable to NBCAAM, may be charged for this service.

The provider supplies the student with a certificate or equivalent certifying completion of the training, including the educational hours achieved through the training, the date the course was completed, course content covered, and course provider contact information.
All online Skills classes over 1 hour must include a Skills assessment. Classes 1 hour and under may instead use proof of understanding, for instance submitting a takeaway or an answer to a discussion question.
Continuing Education may include workshops and coursework in variety of topics which support the individual needs and practices of our members, including any workshop, certification or continuing education course that has to do with animal health and wellness, and applicable to animal acupressure and/or massage, such as:
  • new or more advanced techniques in the NBCAAM certificated fields (massage or acupressure), or closely related fields of bodywork and/or energy work (such as Structural Integration, Myofascial Release, Kinesiology taping, Craniosacral Therapy, EFT/Tapping, Reiki, Therapeutic Touch, TTouch, animal communication, etc.)

  • courses on business and ethics related to a massage/acupressure practice.

  • animal hospice care/grief/end of life care

  • aromatherapy/essential oils/flower essences for use with animals

  • animal nutrition

  • animal behavior and handling

Exceptions and options to CE requirements:


1. First renewal Skills exception. For each member’s first two year renewal period, documented Skills (hands-on) hours are NOT required. All 20 hours may be online and/or non-skills based.

Another option for your first renewal only, is to use educational hours completed prior to NBCAAM certification, not already submitted for the certification requirement. That is, up to 20 hours of training in another modality relevant to animal massage or acupressure you received before completing your massage or acupressure certification with NBCAAM, that had not used as part of your 200 hours for certification can be used to meet all or part of your first renewal period CE requirement. SPECIAL NOTE for current members who are past their first renewal may use this option for their next upcoming renewal period only.

2. Roll-over option. Members are encouraged to continue learning in a variety of ways every year of practice. In order to also support members’ ability to make occasional significant investment in professional development, members may roll-over up to 20 hours to the following 2 year renewal period.

EXAMPLE: if a member takes a class of approved 40 hours credit or more, including at least 20 hours hands-on skill development, then 20 of the hours would satisfy the current renewal period, and another 20 of the hours may be rolled over to satisfy the following renewal period only. Hours from a single class may NOT be rolled over to a third renewal period even if it was longer than 40 hours total.

3. Human class option. Animal classes are encouraged. If not available, human classes may also be allowed, as long as the skills are transferable to animals. Pre-approval for human courses is recommended.

To submit your CE and Documented hours, go to the Practitioner Renewal page.

2) Documented Client Hours:

In order to promote practice of your craft and outreach to the community, members must also submit a log of 20 client hours every two years, up to 5 sessions maximum per animal client, using the provided file format.  Download the form by clicking here.

Headers for the log:  

Date / Time (in hours) / Animal Identifier / Species/Breed/ Modalities used / Key Concerns / Outcome
  • Volunteer sessions allowed, need not be paying clients
  • You may request approval to use your own animal for up to 5 sessions, for cases such as rehabilitation situations, working as part of a team with one or more other professionals.
  • Option: Presentations to the community (such as to shelters, clubs, veterinarians, or pet- owner workshops) can be substituted for client hours. May be paid presentations or volunteer. Teaching hours for a school of animal massage or acupressure should not be submitted.

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