Ojai School of Canine Massage

Canine Massage Certification Online and Onsite


Frequently Asked Questions/Answers:                                                                                                                                    

What are the career opportunities for Canine Massage Therapists?  What is the salary and job outlook? 

Most animal massage therapists are independent contractors who travel to provide at-home services to their clients. Employment opportunities may be found with Vets, groomers, doggie daycare centers, or other animal-related businesses. Our business class helps you identify various ways to build your customer base. Most of your referrals will come from dog owners, groomers, dog sitters, walkers, and doggie daycare facilities. In the beginning, it is a good idea to combine massage services with other dog and animal-related businesses such as dog walking, daycare, agility training, swim therapy, and pet transport, to name a few.


An animal massage therapist’s salary can vary depending on their experience, professional certifications, and where they live. Therapists must also allow for travel costs if they visit clients at home. Certified canine massage therapists can earn $40 to $70 for a 35-50 minute session.


According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job opportunities for animal care and service workers are expected to grow by 16% from 2018-to 2028.

The popularity of animal massage therapy should continue to grow as owners become aware of the significant healing effects of animal massage. Animal massage can increase blood flow, alleviate stress, reduce pain, relax tight and sore muscles, and help with sprains and strains. Massage therapy strengthens the immune system, improves digestion, and lowers blood pressure in humans and animals.

How long will it take to complete the 250-hour online canine massage course?

Students generally complete the course in 3-6 months. To compute the amount of time to complete the online course, divide the total hours of the course (250) by the total hours you plan to study/practice each week. For example, if you plan to study/practice for 10 hours per week, the course will take 25 weeks. 250 /10 = 25 weeks.

Are there any prerequisites required for the 250-hour canine massage program?

All incoming students must have a love and respect for animals and previous experience in handling a dog. To be eligible for our certification courses, a student must:
-Be at least 18 years of age (prospective students under age 18 may be admitted with the approval of the student’s parent/guardian and with the submittal of a Parental Release form).
-Be socially and psychologically capable of performing massage.
-Be physically able to perform massage.
-Possess a high school diploma or its equivalent.
-Understand the English language (Ojai School of Canine Massage does not offer ESL instruction). All instruction will occur in the English language. Incoming students must be proficient in English, meaning 75% or greater proficiency in the English language.

Do I bring my own dog to the onsite class if attending onsite courses?

Yes, you are encouraged to bring your dog (or dogs) to the onsite class. Your dog(s) must get along with other dogs, be neutered or spayed, and treated for fleas. OSOCM will happily provide a dog for you if you do not plan on bringing a dog to class.

May I finance my education at OSOCM by making monthly payments?

Any student taking the online certification course may opt to finance their education by receiving weekly or monthly lessons. You can do this by purchasing lessons in pairs of two directly from our website or calling the school. If paying by check, please contact us to arrange a payment plan. Tuition is due in full by the first day of the onsite class.

Is there any coursework required before coming onsite?

We highly recommend and encourage all incoming onsite students to begin our online canine massage course before coming onsite. The onsite course is condensed with information and presented in an ‘intensive’ format. Proceeding through as much of the online course as possible will enhance your onsite learning experience by helping you to absorb the information presented much more efficiently. This will also assure the safety of the animal being massaged. The online course is included when purchasing the full onsite certification course.

Is Veterinarian supervision required when doing canine massage? Is it legal to practice canine massage?  It is legal to practice canine massage in California. There are no regulations requiring veterinary supervision in the state of California. It is legal to practice canine massage in California as long as you are not claiming to do rehabilitation therapy and are not claiming to treat any medical condition. The IAAMB link below shows state-by-state regulations in the field of Canine Massage.
Laws By State-   IAAMB State List

How long do I have to complete the online certification course?

There is no deadline to complete the online course material. Please allow for practice time when proceeding through the course.

When can I schedule a Skype visit with the instructor?

Your instructor is available, by appointment, via email, Skype, Facebook Messenger, FaceTime, etc., to assist students during the online portion of the course. Students are encouraged to maintain interaction with the instructor throughout the course to ensure they are performing the hands-on techniques correctly and to assure the safety of the animal being massaged. The final hands-on practicum is required only for students taking the online course certification and may be completed via Skype.

Are there any written quizzes in the online or onsite course?

Only the Anatomy & Physiology portion (required for both online and onsite students) of the online course requires students to take quizzes. The quizzes are taken online and are open book. The quizzes may be taken twice. There is no way to fail a quiz since they are taken twice.

Can I take only a portion of the onsite class? 

Although not required, any student completing the entire 250-hour Online Canine Massage certification program may take as much, or as little, of the five 1/2-day onsite class as they like. The cost is $150 per day when attending only a portion of the onsite class. Students who have purchased the entire online course will pay $750 additional to attend the entire onsite/hands-on class. For both the online and onsite courses, your total tuition paid will never exceed $2,500.

Do you help students find accommodations when coming onsite?

Yes, please email us, and we will be happy to provide you with our Student List of Accommodations.

If I take the 250-hour distance study/online Canine Massage course at Ojai School of Canine Massage, am I eligible to take the NBCAAM exam?

The NBCAAM exam is required in the state of Washington for licensure and the state of Tenessee in order to call yourself a “certified animal therapist” or “registered animal therapist” . You are eligible to take the NBCAAM exam if you take our distance learning/home study Canine Massage course. Still, you will also have to complete 50 hours of supervised in-class/hands-on study, covering assessment, execution of bodywork still being studied, benefits of massage/acupressure, and practice guidelines. The Ojai School of Canine Massage five 1/2-day onsite class does satisfy the above subject requirements, thus satisfying the 50 hours of supervised in-class/hands-on study required by the NBCAAM.

** The information below is taken directly from the NBCAAM website and provides additional information regarding the National Board Certification Examination for Animal Acupressure & Massage. (Please visit www.nbcaam.org for more details).

Certification Exam Requirements- Who can sit for the NBCAAM Exam?

The minimum standard for sitting for the NBCAAM exam is documented proof of attendance at a school or schools of either animal massage or animal acupressure resulting in an accumulated course of study equaling a minimum of 200 hours.

The curriculum contains at least:

 Fifty hours of training in anatomy & physiology, kinesiology (for bodywork), and pathologies.

 Minimum 50 hours of supervised in-class hands-on work, which would include assessment and execution of bodywork skill being studied, benefits of massage/acupressure, and practice guidelines.

** Please note: Veterinary rules may change from year to year. We highly recommend that you check the regulations in your state.

Is it necessary to become nationally certified through the NBCAAM?

The only state requiring national certification at this time is Washington State and Tennessee. 

The National Certification for Canine Massage is the test for dogs.

How is OSOCM different from other canine massage programs?

OSOCM has offered comprehensive instruction in Canine Massage for over 20 years. Students receive a well-rounded, thorough, and personalized education. Students leave the school fully prepared to enter the field of Canine Massage as well equipped professionals. Our graduates are available via email to share their experiences. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with the school for more information.

Upon graduating, who should I contact to acquire insurance for my canine massage business? Please contact the Hands on Trade Association by visiting their website at www.handsontrade.com.

Is the certificate of completion the same for both the online and onsite courses?

Yes, your certificate of completion is the same whether you complete the online or onsite course.