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Veterinary Mental Health Professional Certificate Program

Individuals who have a postgraduate degree (Masters or PhD) in mental health (Psychology, Counseling, Mental Health, Etc.) from an accredited university and are registered or licensed with the health related boards in their state of residence may apply to earn the Veterinary Mental Health Professional Certificate.

If you are a licensed postgraduate social worker, click here.
If you are not a postgraduate social worker or mental health professional, and are interested in obtaining your MSSW and VSW-CP from the University of Tennessee, click here.
Look at our Continuing Education options under the Education menu to access individual content areas without earning a certificate.


Program Requirements:

Participants purchase each certificate requirement as they move through the program. Paying for everything upfront is not required, but there is a 10% discount for those who choose to pay in advance. Participants have 5 years to complete all of the requirements.

First step: Social Work History, Ethics, Values, and Practices module $0 total
Four online modules

  1. Animal Related Grief and Bereavement
  2. Compassion Fatigue Management
  3. Animal Assisted Interventions
  4. The Link Between Human and Animal Violence

(9 to 21.5 contact hours each)

$250 $1000 Total
Animal Assisted Interventions (AAI) Workshop

(2 days hosted yearly in the spring)

$300 Total
Veterinary Social Work Intensive

(5 days hosted yearly in the spring)

$1500 Total
250 hour Keystone Project  No cost
8 two-hour long group supervision sessions $125 (two per VSW area) $1000 Total
International VSW Summit

Participants will present their final Keystone project and recite the veterinary social work oath. Last step in the certificate.

(3 days hosted biennially in the fall)

$350 Total
Total Cost = $4150

More Information on Each Requirement:


Admission Requirements:

  • Applicants must have graduated from an accredited university with a postgraduate mental health degree
  • Applicants must be registered with the health-related boards in their state of residence
  • If you do not have your state registration or licensure, click here for our waiving admission requirement policy.

Application Process:

Applications to the VMHP-CP are accepted year round. We review applications on a weekly basis. Since the VMHP Certificate is not a graduate school certificate, no graduate school admission fees or GRE test scores are required.

To apply, submit:

  • Letter of intent
  • Resume or curriculum vita
  • Official transcripts showing postgraduate mental health degree

To:  Rebecca Poplawski
UT College of Veterinary Medicine 
Department of Biomedical & Diagnostic Sciences
2407 River Drive, A205
Knoxville, TN 37996-4543

If you still have questions after reviewing the FAQ section below, please email questions to or call 865-696-1117.

To Purchase a Module, CLICK HERE

You will need to create an account in order to register for online modules, supervision, and face-to-face events if this is your first time using this system.


Frequently Asked Questions:

What if my postgraduate program wasn’t from an accredited university?

You may still complete the online trainings.

What do you mean by “registered with the health related boards in their state of residence”?

Licensure varies significantly by jurisdiction.  We do not require our applicants to be licensed to practice therapy/counseling independently, but we ask that you be registered or licensed in your state. For example: Licensed Professional Counselor.

What if I have a mental health degree, but am now a Licensed Veterinary Technician or Veterinarian?

Great!  Submit your applicable license with your other VSW application materials.

I’m a social worker, not a a counselor, psychologist, or therapist.  Can I earn the VMHPCertificate?

You can earn the Veterinary Social Work Certificate.

I’m an animal-related professional, but I don’t have a social work degree.  Can I earn the VSW Certificate?

You can currently take any of our online modules or face-to-face workshops for continuing education hours.  Or, check back in mid-late 2019, when we plan to offer a certificate for animal-related professionals.

What if I don’t have my mental health degree?

If you are considering options for graduate school, click here for information about the University of Tennessee’s Concurrent MSSW/VSW degree program.

If you are currently enrolled in another school’s MSW program, you may start the modules while finishing your degree, and complete your keystone project after graduation.

When can I apply to this program?

Applications are accepted year round! We review them on a weekly basis.

When is payment due for the certificate program?

Participants purchase each individuals step in the program as they move through the program. If you want to work on a module, then you purchase the module when you are ready. It is pay as you go. There is no need to pay for the entire program up front, though there is a 10% discount for those who choose to purchase everything upon acceptance into the program.

Is there a refund policy if I am no longer able to complete and online or face to face training?

Click here for our refund policy for our modules. Click here for our refund policy for face-to-face trainings.

When is the next face-to-face workshop?


The AAI workshop will be hosted March 16-17, 2019. The next VSW Intensive will be March 19-13, 2019.

Join our mailing list to be the first to know when we add a workshop to the calendar!

I still have questions; what do I do?

Please email any additional questions to!

Veterinary Social Work

UT College of Veterinary Medicine
UT College of Social Work
Helpline: 865-755-8839
VSW Services:
Education and Events: 865-696-1117
Education and Events:

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