Frequently Asked Questions


Animal Massage & Acupressure Education

Do I need to attend an NBCAAM approved school?

No. If your animal massage school, or collection of courses from various schools, meets our requirements, you can sit for the exam.

What documentation do I need to provide?

If you school is an NBCAAM Certification Level School Member, you only need to provide a certificate of completion, as we are familiar with their programs. For all other schools, please provide a transcript.

Will my human massage school hours count?

You can apply up to 50 hours from human massage or acupressure training toward the 200 hour total. These hours will apply to the "other" category, and you will still need to take 50 hours in the Anatomy/ Physiology/ Pathology/ Kinesiology of horses or canines, and 50 hours of hands-on training in animal massage or acupressure, and well as 50 additional hours. Please provide a transcript from your human massage or acupressure school.

Legal Issues

How can I tell if animal massage is legal in my area?

We recommend that you check with any possible governing boards in your state to get the actual legal interpretation for practice in your state. This usually involves either your State Board of Veterinary Governors/Medicine, but could also fall under other professional boards (such as the Chiropractic and Massage Board in Maryland or the Department of Health in Washington for example). Because each state has its own position on the practice of non-veterinary animal therapies, and because these positions are often changing, it may not possible for us to advise you on your own state's current position. We also advise you to check with an animal massage or animal acupressure program in your state, which may have the most recent information for your area. Be aware that most states are still non-regulated in regards to animal therapies. For your own protection, if you practice you should include some statement on your documentation (brochures, websites, session charts) indicating that you do not practice veterinary medicine and that you cannot diagnose, prescribe treatment or provide prognosis as part of your scope of practice.

Certification Exams

Is hands-on testing a component of the test?

NBCAAM cannot realistically administer a hands-on examination and was designed to primarily recognize the academic standard appropriate for practice. However, we do recognize and appreciate the concern that academic knowledge does not by itself guarantee good practice. We follow the precedent established by human massage, acupressure, and other bodywork modalities allowing the training programs to be responsible for ensuring the adequate demonstration of hands-on technique. You need to have 50 hours of hands-on training in massage or acupressure to take the exam.

May I have special accomodations during the test?

Please email us at to request specific accomodations.

May I take a blank piece of paper into the test?

Please arrange this with our testing coordinator,, before we contact your proctor, so that we can notify them. If they aren't notified, they will not let you take anything into the test.

Is the test open book?


If I take a second test, do I pay full price?

Depending on where you are in your two year cycle, we may pro-rate your fee. Please contact us at

What is the actual accrediting body behind the NBCAAM test and what is the benefit of taking the examination?

Hocking College has partnered with NBCAAM. Hocking College is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and as such, will administer the examination for NBCAAM. Several members of its faculty are founding members of NBCAAM. As the examinations evolve, NBCAAM will work to provide additional benefits to the membership. A successful record of examination administration and the building of resources over the next year or two will allow NBCAAM to pursue other accreditations. Initially, the examination is a voluntary effort to raise awareness among animal health care professionals and to recognize those practitioners who have demonstrated a high standard of practice in our profession. Until now, there has not been a precedent for any national accreditation for animal massage or acupressure. It is up to us, as professionals in these disciplines, to develop and maintain nationally recognized standards so that we attain legitimacy within the public and veterinary communities. This is the mission of NBCAAM. By participating in NBCAAM, we are all taking an important stand for our professions.


How long is the membership term?

Certified Practitioner Membership is renewed every two years. School, Student, and Business Supporting Membership is renewed yearly.

How long can I be a Student Member?

You may renew your Student Membership as long as you are still a student of animal massage or acupressure. Once you graduate, you will need to pass the exam to continue membership, or become a Business Supporting Member.

Do Certified Practitioner Members lose their certification if they do not renew?

No, if you passed an exam, you retain that credential. Lapsed members will lose their expanded profile on our site (including link to their website), as well as access to the member site and other member benefits. You can rejoin at any time. Continuing Education requirements will apply.

Is the 2-year membership from the time of original certification, or based on calendar year for everyone?

Your membership renewal date is from the time of original certification. Your initial 2 years of membership (for new members as of September 1, 2013 exams and after) is included in the cost of sitting for the exam. Existing members have been emailed a new membership date to ensure two full years for completion of CE units.

Continuing Education

Can CEUs in the area of animal health and wellness taken for LVT CEU licensing maintenance be submitted to fulfill NBCAAM requirements as well?

You can submit the same CEU courses required to maintain other certifications to also fulfill NBCAAM requirements as long as the content of the CEUs falls within the NBCAAM guidelines.

Do I need to get preapproval of a course that I intend to use as CEU credit?

Answer is no, as long as the class meets the requirements. If you are unsure or unclear of the applicability of a course, and would like to inquire in advance about a particular course, please e-mail with your specific question regarding an opportunity you are considering. We will review and respond to your inquiry, plus log the discussion in your membership record that a contact in advance occurred.

What happens if I have extenuating circumstances and cannot complete the required CEU or client session requirements by my membership renewal date?

Exception requests for extenuating circumstances must be submitted to the Continuing Education Review Committee coordinator at at least 30 days in advance of your renewal date. You will be requested to share the specific plans that you have to complete the renewal requirements, and submit the completions within 60 days of your renewal date to maintain active/listed membership. If there is more than a 60 day delay from your renewal date, your contact info listing on the NBCAAM site will be reduced and your membership benefits suspended until your CEUs required for renewal are submitted and confirmed.

I have dual certification in both small animal and equine acupressure (or massage). Is one set of 20 CEUs, and 25 logged client hours applicable, or do I need two sets?

In cases of multiple certifications, simply one set of 20 CEUs and 25 logged client hours is needed.

I volunteer at my local shelter each month providing hands-on sessions with the animals. Would I be able to use those sessions to submit the 25 required client hours?

Sessions with shelter and rescue animals can be included in your client session logs for membership renewal in conjunction with the CEU requirements. Thank you for reaching out to your local organizations benefiting the animals.

Do the 25 logged client hours every two years need to be 25 separate clients, or can we log multiple sessions with the same animal client?

We would like to encourage members to broaden their client connections and experience with these sessions. Up to five sessions with a particular animal client can be included. Each session must be logged separately.