Keeping PATH Intl. members updated about the accreditation of the
PATH Intl. Registered Therapeutic Riding Instructor  Certification
PATH Intl. CTRI or Registered Therapeutic Riding Instructor Certification: How Do I Choose? 
July 11, 2019
We recognize that each candidate has unique certification goals and, as a result, takes a unique pathway to certification. Today we present some considerations to help candidates determine which program might best match their background, experience and goals over the next year.
As a reminder, some key dates to keep in mind while reviewing the considerations are:
September 1, 2019: Finalized PATH Intl. CTRI application, instructions and instructor criteria released
October 1, 2019: PATH Intl. CTRI applications will be accepted
October 31, 2019: Last date PATH Intl. Registered Therapeutic Riding Instructor Certification applications will be accepted
January 2020: First PATH Intl. CTRI certification exams are administered at authorized testing centers around the globe
December 30, 2020: Last date PATH Intl. Registered Therapeutic Riding Instructor certifications will be held AND last date PATH Intl. Registered instructor resubmissions will be accepted
Candidate Background and Experience:
At this time, the PATH Intl. Registered Therapeutic Riding Instructor certification program prerequisite exams and workshop are designed to walk candidates through obtaining education and knowledge in the area of therapeutic riding. Therefore, candidates with minimal experience (with equines, therapeutic riding setting, individuals with disabilities and therapeutic riding instruction) may find it most beneficial to proceed with the PATH Intl. Registered Therapeutic Riding Instructor certification program to help establish solid understanding and knowledge of the job of a therapeutic riding instructor.
The new PATH Intl. CTRI certification puts the candidate in the driver's seat to customize their preparatory education as they see fit. As a result, the prerequisites require specific hours of experience (with equines, therapeutic riding, individuals with disabilities and therapeutic riding instruction) as evidence of competency. Regardless, PATH Intl. CTRI applicants are invited to participate in the PATH Intl. Registered Therapeutic Riding Instructor workshop to strengthen their knowledge. Applicants who already have substantial experience with individuals with disabilities and supporting therapeutic riding activities may find that they may capitalize on their experience and knowledge through the PATH Intl. CTRI certification prerequisites. Similarly, applicants who have completed higher education programs and PATH Intl. Approved Training Courses will likely find that their coursework and practicums fully satisfy the PATH Intl. CTRI certification prerequisites.
It might be helpful to review the two sets of instructor criteria side-by-side to understand the overall expectations of the two certification programs to help identify which program matches best with the applicant's experience. It is important to note that basic lungeing skills and instruction of able-bodied riders through the current registered instructor certification riding pattern are elements of the PATH Intl. CTRI criteria above and beyond the PATH Intl. Registered Therapeutic Riding Instructor criteria.
Candidate Certification Goals:
Candidates looking to be certified before the end of 2019 may be best served to proceed with PATH Intl. Registered Therapeutic Riding Instructor certification at this time. As a result of methodical implementation of the PATH Intl. CTRI credential and quarterly testing windows, applicants on a tight timeline may be most successful in achieving timely certification through the PATH Intl. Registered Therapeutic Riding Instructor certification program.
Teaching Hours:
PATH Intl. Registered Therapeutic Riding Instructor candidates may be supervised by any current and compliant PATH Intl. Registered, Advanced or Master instructor. This includes supervision of the required 25 hours of therapeutic riding lessons to groups of riders with disabilities. Only mounted lesson time should be counted.
PATH Intl. CTRI applicants can work with a variety of individuals to supervise and sign off on their prerequisites (see qualifications of supervisors and requirements for sign-offs here), but they must complete a minimum of 25 teaching hours under the supervision of an instructor holding the PATH Intl. CTRI credential. If the supervising instructor transitioned from a registered instructor to the CTRI, the supervising instructor must accrue 120 hours of teaching therapeutic riding lessons after their transition date and before supervising PATH Intl. CTRI applicant teaching hours. Applicants must document numerous details about their supervised teaching hours (see Part V of the CTRI application) and only mounted lesson time can be counted. Therefore, prior to starting any teaching hours, the applicant and supervising PATH Intl. CTRI should map out when and how all teaching hour requirements can realistically be met.
Preparing outside of therapeutic riding lessons and the barn:
Regardless of the path to certification, candidates should expect to spend time outside of the arena reinforcing their knowledge, skills and abilities. While the bulk of a therapeutic riding instructor's job is instruction of riding skills, invaluable preparation takes place outside of the arena and even the barn. To ensure well-rounded aptitude, candidates should:
1)      Review the instructor criteria: All PATH Intl. therapeutic riding instructor candidates should use the PATH Intl. instructor criteria to guide understanding of the scope of knowledge, skills and abilities expected and identify any areas of weakness they may need assistance strengthening. Candidates can then work with a mentor and/or supervising instructor to map out a plan for training and/or education to strengthen their skills. It should be noted that the PATH Intl. CTRI criteria includes additional knowledge, skills and abilities beyond the registered instructor criteria. Successful certification requires mastery of all the criteria defined for the certification being pursued.
2)      Get involved at a therapeutic riding center: All PATH Intl. instructor candidates are encouraged to participate/volunteer in EAAT sessions prior to beginning their certification journey to gain perspective that can enhance effectiveness of their instruction. Handling and observing equines outside of the arena can equip instructors with valuable techniques to manage equine behavior in the lesson setting. Being a volunteer in a class can be an eye-opening experience when it comes to hearing and interpreting directions from the instructor. Directions that might make perfect sense to the instructor can sometimes translate into vague or confusing direction for volunteers. Experiencing lessons from a different perspective can help instructors fill their toolbox with instrumental tips, tricks and techniques. PATH Intl. CTRI applicants who participate in the care of equines and volunteer in therapeutic riding lessons may count these hours toward their application requirements.
3)      Study key concepts: The PATH Intl. Instructor Self-Study course walks candidates through establishing foundational knowledge of therapeutic riding concepts. This course remains a requirement for PATH Intl. Registered Therapeutic Riding Instructor candidates, but is optional for PATH Intl. CTRI candidates. Beyond this course, there is much more to learn.
All PATH Intl. instructor candidates, regardless of the type of certification, must be knowledgeable about PATH Intl. Standards and how they apply to the activities instructors conduct. Both PATH Intl. CTRIs and Registered Therapeutic Riding Instructor candidates are required to complete an exam on the standards to ensure they are prepared to perform safe and ethical practices.
Candidates should take time to learn more about disabilities outside of the therapeutic riding lesson setting. The precaution and contraindications section of the standards manual can provide a jumping off point to establish knowledge about disabilities, disorders, syndromes, conditions, etc. Candidates should also take advantage of free online resources to build knowledge of disabilities-both before and after earning certification.
PATH Intl. will be launching a preparatory study guide in the next few months as well as educational clinics in 2020 to support PATH Intl. CTRI applicants. The study guide will be designed to help applicants identify and strengthen the relevant domains of knowledge, skills and abilities in order to be successful at certification. The clinics will provide supplementary hands-on education for applicants seeking additional mentoring and practical application of concepts in therapeutic riding.
I have already submitted a PATH Intl. Registered Therapeutic Riding Instructor application; can I switch to PATH Intl. CTRI certification?:
PATH Intl. Registered Therapeutic Riding Instructor applicants can abandon their application and submit a PATH Intl. CTRI application instead. Registered instructor application fees cannot be transferred to CTRI application fees. Registered instructor application fees will only be refunded if they meet the requirements of the instructor application refund policy.
It should be noted that, with the exception of standards exams scores less than one year old, no components of the PATH Intl. Registered Therapeutic Riding Instructor certification program can transfer over to the PATH Intl. CTRI certification program. This includes teaching hours that do not meet the requirements as dictated in the PATH Intl. CTRI application and instructions. Therefore, registered candidates who have already completed Phase I and their teaching hours will most likely find continuing with PATH Intl. Registered Therapeutic Riding Instructor certification to be the most economical option. PATH Intl. Certified Registered Therapeutic Riding Instructors can transition to the PATH Intl. CTRI credential at any time by following the steps on the CTRI credential transition form.

What's Next?
Sample PATH Intl. CTRI applications will be shared to provide examples of acceptable prerequisite experience, documentation of completed prerequisites and evidence of competency.

Do you have additional questions specific to your situation? Please contact Bret Maceyak.
PATH Intl. | (800) 369-7433 | |
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