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Laws, Ethics and Criteria for ESAs and Service Animals

Enroll in the Online Self-Study and complete the training on your own schedule.
1.5 Ethics CE Credits available for behavioral health clinicians completing the Online Self-Study.

The lines between Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) and Service Animals are often blurred, and the legal and ethical considerations are complex. Yet, as the demand for ESAs grows, clinicians must be well-versed in this field to provide their clients with the best possible care and advocacy.

This training course goes beyond surface-level definitions to equip clinicians with a better understanding of the legal, ethical, and practical nuances involved in working with ESAs and service animals.

Under the guidance of esteemed experts in the field, including renowned animal-assisted therapist Dr. Christina Strayer, participants will delve into the fundamental definitions and distinctions between Emotional Support Animals and Service Animals. They will explore the specific training and selection recommendations that ensure their optimal effectiveness, and gain insights into the latest Department of Transportation requirements, ensuring they're equipped to advise clients on travel and accommodation rights.

Participants will also gain an overview of the ethical and legal considerations that every mental health professional must weigh before writing an ESA letter. This knowledge will empower you to make informed decisions that prioritize the well-being of both your clients and the animals involved.

By the end of this training, participants will be equipped with the knowledge and confidence to accurately assess clients' needs and make informed recommendations regarding ESAs and service animals. They will be able to write effective ESA letters and effectively advocate for clients' rights, all while ensuring the well-being of both clients and animals. Whether you're a seasoned therapist or just starting your journey in animal-assisted therapy, this course will provide you with invaluable insights and practical tools to expand your expertise and elevate your practice.

Enroll today and unlock the transformative potential of ESAs and service animals for your clients and your practice.

Select each tab above to view specific details about this course

The lines between Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) and Service Animals are often blurred, and the legal and ethical considerations are complex. Yet, as the demand for ESAs grows, clinicians must be well-versed in this field to provide their clients with the best possible care and advocacy.

This training course goes beyond surface-level definitions to equip clinicians with a better understanding of the legal, ethical, and practical nuances involved in working with ESAs and service animals.

Under the guidance of esteemed experts in the field, including renowned animal-assisted therapist Dr. Christina Strayer, participants will delve into the fundamental definitions and distinctions between Emotional Support Animals and Service Animals. They will explore the specific training and selection recommendations that ensure their optimal effectiveness, and gain insights into the latest Department of Transportation requirements, ensuring they're equipped to advise clients on travel and accommodation rights.

Participants will also gain an overview of the ethical and legal considerations that every mental health professional must weigh before writing an ESA letter. This knowledge will empower you to make informed decisions that prioritize the well-being of both your clients and the animals involved.

By the end of this training, participants will be equipped with the knowledge and confidence to accurately assess clients' needs and make informed recommendations regarding ESAs and service animals. They will be able to write effective ESA letters and effectively advocate for clients' rights, all while ensuring the well-being of both clients and animals. Whether you're a seasoned therapist or just starting your journey in animal-assisted therapy, this course will provide you with invaluable insights and practical tools to expand your expertise and elevate your practice.

Enroll today and unlock the transformative potential of ESAs and service animals for your clients and your practice.

This course provides 1.5+ hours of video training, a post-test and an evaluation.
This course was recorded on May 6, 2022

Upon completion of this training, professionals will be able to do the following:

  • List the only two types of animals that can be a service animal. 
  • Explain the current Department of Transportation travel requirements for Service and Emotional Support Animals.  
  • Explain how to ethically write an ESA letter for mental health clients, when appropriate.

Dr. Christina Strayer, Ed.D, LCMHCS, LCAS-A, THTC, AAT-I, CYT-200

Dr. Christina works with a variety of animals in her private practice with clients.  She teaches an accredited AAT certification course and conducts AAT workshops for professionals annually.  She is a Pet Partners Evaluator. She is an advocate for rescue animals and lives with her rescue family in NC.
You can find Dr. Strayer here and here.

Mike Buonasorte

Mike has years of experience, helping hundreds of dog owners reach their goals and live happier lives with their dogs. Graduating at the top of his class from the prestigious Tom Rose School for Professional Dog Trainers, he studied under some of the best trainers in the industry, and learned through real-world experience, helping clients with a range of needs.

He continues to test and prove his skills by competing with his personal dogs in various dog sports, and continues to educate himself on the most up-to-date and effective methods, theories, and problem-solving techniques.

You can find Mike by clicking here.

Credit Hours: CEs provided with this course include 1.5 ethics continuing education hours of credit.

Counselors: Telehealth Certification Institute LLC has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6693. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. Telehealth Certification Institute LLC is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.

Telehealth Certification Institute LLC is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for Licensed Mental Health Counselors #MHC-0048.

Marriage and Family Therapists: Many MFT licensing boards accept our courses or one of the approvals which we have from professional associations. You can check with your board to determine if this course would be accepted by your licensing board.

Social Workers: Telehealth Certification Institute LLC, #1609, is approved as an ACE provider to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Regulatory boards are the final authority on courses accepted for continuing education credit. ACE provider approval period: 05/02/2024 – 05/02/2027. Social workers completing this course receive 1.5 ethics continuing education credits.

Telehealth Certification Institute LLC is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for Licensed Social Workers #SW-0435.

Addiction Professionals: This course has been approved by Telehealth Certification Institute LLC, as a NAADAC Approved Education Provider, for educational credits. NAADAC Provider #193104, Telehealth Certification Institute LLC is responsible for all aspects of the programing.

Psychologists: Telehealth Certification Institute LLC is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Telehealth Certification Institute LLC maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

Telehealth Certification Institute LLC is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Psychology as an approved provider of continuing education for Licensed Psychologists #PSY-0128.

Art Therapists: Telehealth Certification Institute LLC is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for Licensed Creative Arts Therapists #CAT-0093.

Other Professionals: This activity qualifies for 90 minutes of instructional content as required by many national, state and local licensing boards and professional organizations.  Retain your certificate of completion and contact your board or organization for specific filing requirements.

This is a non-interactive, self-study course.

To receive your certificate of completion you must complete the course in its entirety.

Online courses are completed by registering, logging in, navigating to your course using the menu (My Courses – the Course Title), completing all of the modules, completing and passing the post-test, and completing the course evaluation. Participants have 6 months from registration to access and complete online self-study courses.

Live Webinar courses are completed by registering, logging in to this website, navigating to your course using the menu (My Courses – the Course Title), attending the full course via webinar, submitting your attendance, and completing the post-test and course evaluation online.

Psychologists and other professionals seeking CE credit through our approval with the American Psychological Association are asked, but not required, to complete the course evaluation before obtaining their certificate of completion, however passing a post-test for online self-study courses and live webinars, and submitting one's attendance for live on-site and live webinars is required.

You can receive your certificate of completion by logging onto this website, navigating to the course using the menu (My Courses – the Course Title), scroll to the bottom of your course, and click on your certificate to either download it or print it.

Directions for completing a course can be found by clicking here.

Accommodations for Individuals with Disabilities

Click here to view our Accommodations for Individuals with Disabilities.

Cancellation Policy

Refunds are offered within the first 30 days for courses which have not been completed.  There is a 10% service fee for refunds.

Grievance Policy

Click here to view our Grievance Policy.

This course is intended for clinicians who provide behavioral health services.

Teaching methods for this course include recorded lectures, videos, a post-test, and a course evaluation.
This program was recorded May 6, 2022

You have six months to access online courses from the time of purchase.

Dr. Christina Strayer and Doolie

Dr. Christina Strayer
Ed.D, LCMHCS, LCAS-A,
THTC, AAT-I, CYT-200

Dr. Christina works with a variety of animals in her private practice with clients.  She teaches an accredited AAT certification course and conducts AAT workshops for professionals annually.  She is a Pet Partners Evaluator. She is an advocate for rescue animals and lives with her rescue family in NC.
You can find more about Dr. Strayer by clicking here.

Mike Buonasorte and Service Animals

Michael Buonasorte

Mike has years of experience, helping hundreds of dog owners reach their goals and live happier lives with their dogs. Graduating at the top of his class from the prestigious Tom Rose School for Professional Dog Trainers, he studied under some of the best trainers in the industry, and learned through real-world experience, helping clients with a range of needs.

He continues to test and prove his skills by competing with his personal dogs in various dog sports, and continues to educate himself on the most up-to-date and effective methods, theories, and problem-solving techniques.
You can read more about Mike by clicking here.