Animal Massage


Small Animal Massage Practitioner (SAMP) Certification

Held in partnership with the Northwest School of Animal Massage.


Instructor: Lola Michelin, founder and director of education, Northwest School of Animal Massage (read more about this instructor)


November 2014-March 16, 2015

This is a foundation class for individuals wishing to enter the growing pet services industry or expand the services they already provide. Dog groomers, veterinary technicians, professional dog sitters, and walkers will also benefit by having this certification to expand their professional offerings. Instruction focuses on cats and dogs while other small animals are discussed.

The Small Animal Massage Practitioner (SAMP) Certification program is in two parts. Part One is a three/four month self-paced distance education program. Part Two is a week-long, hands-on instructor-led program at Brookdale (40 hours classroom; 10 hours home study).

Watch the video to see part of the classroom study:

Part One: Distance Learning (150 hours)
This portion is asynchronous, meaning it is self-paced and students complete the work whenever they want. You must complete Part One before the start of Part Two. Students have ample time to complete content, assignments, and assessments before the start of the instructor-led Part Two portion.

Part Two: Classroom (50 hours)
In addition to eight hours each day of classroom study, students are expected to complete two hours of homework each evening. Students do not bring their pets to the training class. Suitable pets for training are provided and may involve a field trip to an off-site facility.

The syllabus includes six sections:

  • Animal behavior and handling
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Kinesiology
  • Massage techniques and practices
  • First aid
  • Pathology

Each section includes a workbook chapter of 40-60 pages, with exercises and a quiz. Anatomy illustrations, flash cards, a 90-minute DVD, and access to activities and study aids are included. In each section, students perform exercises and submit an on-line quiz. A book report and hands-one practical final exam are also required.

Assessments: During the distant learning portion, students must complete six proficiency quizzes and submit one book report. On the final day of the classroom portion, students perform a hands-on proficiency exam. To receive SAMP Certification, students must pass all assessments with a score of 80 percent. For students who do not pass, retesting arrangements, (typically lasting between two and four hours) can be made with NWSAM for $60 per hour.

Attaining Certification: Individuals who successfully complete the 200-hours of training and all assignments and exercises, submit a book report, and score 80 percent on quizzes and the final exam are awarded the SAMP (Small Animal Massage Practitioner) Certificate of Achievement from the Northwest School of Animal Massage.

Materials: After students register and minimum class size is met, materials are shipped directly to students and include textbooks, assignments, DVD, and additional study tools.

Instructors: Each distance learning student is assigned a NWSAM faculty member who is available via email or phone as needed. Instructors respond quickly, usually within the same day. The five-day classroom session is led by Lola Michelin, founder and director of education for NWSAM.

Dates and Times:
Part One: (150 Hours) Distance learning, November 21, 2014-March 13, 2015
Part Two: (50 Hours) Classroom, Mon-Fri, March 16-March 20, 8:30 am-5:30 pm

Fee:  $2,020 (includes $20 for shipment of materials). XBUSS 081 W

What Customers Are Saying About Small Animal Massage

“I enjoyed the more relaxed environment of the class instruction. Everyone was encouraged to participate in review of the text, as well as hands-on. I am becoming very comfortable with the actual physical process of the massage. I was amazed at how much material we were able to cover in such a short period of time. The text was more difficult in certain sections like anatomy, but I don’t feel that was a negative issue. Quite the opposite. I feel confident that I can refer back to my text and be able to isolate certain muscles or areas that need attention.” -  Tara Elizabeth Pearson

“The amount of information on anatomy, muscular system as well as massage techniques is amazing – likened to a pre-vet program! Specific knowledge or skills gained: muscular, skeletal – ability to assess and give a massage based on pet’s needs. I am so impressed with the body of knowledge provided, the professionalism, and quality of the course. Lola Michelin was always available for calls and questions. She is a wonderful instructor able to impart her vast knowledge in a concise and understandable manner. I feel confidant to use the skills I learned to begin a massage career. I am more than satisfied with the course. I would highly recommend this course to anyone seeking to learn & practice small animal massage!!! Wonderful!!” – Lauren J. Licursi