Quick Answer

It depends on who you train and certify with!

The average time to complete all training and certification requirements with EFW Canada is two or more years, and there is currently no time limit. EFW Canada encourage you to take your time and allow you to work, under supervision, and earn money in the EFW field while completing the latter parts of your training.

The cost question is a little harder to answer as there are so many different programs, approaches and locations to choose from, even within EFW Canada. Registration fees for core training courses which meet the EFW Canada certification requirements usually add up to between $4,000 and $5,000 (for four training courses) depending on who you train with.

There are many other options, some with a lower time and $ commitment, others more expensive. It may be tempting to go with the quickest and/ or cheapest program you can find but, as in most things in life, this is not usually the recommended long-term strategy if you are looking for quality and credibility. 

Longer Answer

The EFW Canada process comprises several steps that are described on the certification section of their website. A popular timeline which allows you to complete the core training within about 18 months would be for you to complete the Exploration Training (15 hours distance education plus two days on-site workshop) plus the two weeks of on-site Focus training during the first year, usually within a May to October timeline. The following year you would complete the internship, supervision and personal growth requirements and attend the final week of training, the one week Integration Training.

But there is lots of flexibility!

Some people spread out these training requirements over three or more years. It is possible, but usually not recommended, to take all the trainings in one year.

You are eligible for insurance with BFL Canada, accessing special rates negotiated by EFW Canada for their members, as soon as you have completed your first week of Focus training. This means you can start working (under supervision) and earning in the EFW field while still working towards certification.

You are required to have two hours of supervision, 15 hours of EFW work experience (part of your practicum requirement) and to have applied for the EFW Canada certification program before attending the Integration training. 

Equine Facilitated Wellness-Canada believe that your learning in EFW is most beneficial when it happens gradually and is allowed to deepen over time. This is something we at Healing Hooves observe in our trainees every year. It is always such an honour to witness and support the growth and increasing depth of insight that our trainees demonstrate over their training journey. This process is greatly enhanced when we build time – to integrate and reflect – in to the process. This also allows you to gain experience, both in EFW through an internship, and in any other areas where you may need a little more experience.

Cost

The core training courses required by EFW Canada cost, on average, between $4,000 – $5,000 in total (four courses which together provide a minimum of 135 hours of training) to complete depending on who you train with. As noted this is usually completed over two or more years, and some of the programs offer payment plans.

There are likely to be additional costs which will vary between trainees and programs, including travel to the training site, accommodation if required, and supervision. EFW Canada require you to gain 85 hours of work experience. In most cases we recommend that you do not pay to gain these hours and that ideally you be paid for at least some of them!  For more ideas on how to make that happen, see our blog post: How to gain EFW experience

Fees payable directly to EFW Canada include your $40 annual membership fee, your one time certification fee (varies between $200 to $450 depending on whether you are applying for single, double or tri certification, with half payable upon application and the rest upon completion). Once you are certified you pay annual fees to maintain your certification which vary from $40 to $80, again depending on you level of certification.

Other Approaches (non EFW-Canada)

If you choose a certification program other than EFW Canada there are many more potential answers to both of the above questions. If this applies to you I recommend checking with the website for your chosen certification body (many of these were provided for you as links in our last blog post: Who Should I Certify With in Equine Therapy) to find the most up to date requirements and fees. I have done some initial research to get you started and to give you a feel for some of your options.

Some examples (training costs only):

Eponaquest Apprenticeship 

The Eponaquest apprenticeship program runs from February to October with three or four weeks of training in Arizona. The tuition is $9,990 (USD) ($12,990 with the tuition for the 4th optional week included) for program training, core materials, and program day lunch and snacks. Apprentices must provide their own transportation, room, and Integration Day meals.

Equine Connections

This program consists of of a five day training course in Equine Assisted Learning with a standard marketing package and ‘business pack’ also provided. Listed cost of $5,497 plus GST. 

EAGALA

From the website it looks like their ‘Fundamentals’ five day training course costs USD 2,500. They also have had a second ‘advanced’ training week but that information does not now seem to be available on their website until you sign up. EAGALA are based in the US but offer training courses worldwide.

Other Costs and Commitments

Usually Included: All of the above programs appear to include your course materials, snacks and lunches during the onsite training days. Some (including EFW Canada) also include distance education components, advance reading and online or phone support in between training weeks, where the program comprises several weeks of training. These would be details to clarify with the specific organisation and trainer before signing up.

Accommodation and Travel: For all of the examples above you will need to factor in the cost of travelling to the training site, and accommodation costs during training programs, unless you are fortunate enough to live within commuting distance of a training site. EFW Canada currently have training options in BC, Alberta and Ontario to choose between and most of the trainers take steps to connect trainees in advance of training workshops to allow for car pooling and shared accommodation if desired. At Healing Hooves we have an arrangement with a nearby B&B – Serenity Hillside –  which offers discounted lodging to our workshop attendees.

Certification and Renewal Fees: In most cases there will be additional fees to apply for and maintain your certification and membership within the certifying organisation. These costs have been detailed above for EFW Canada, but were not readily available for the other organisations.  

Pre-requisite Requirements:  Most organisations have minimum education and experience pre-requisite requirements which need to be met, including experience working with horses and people which fits your intended scope of practice in the EFW field. Trainees often already have these in place before starting the training process, but there is sometimes a need to expand upon these. EFW Canada allow you to work upon these requirements and your EFW training concurrently.

Continuing Education: You are usually required to show ongoing education and training in your field to maintain your certification.  Most organisations are reasonably flexible in how and where you gain these hours.

Practicum and Mentorship:  Most programs require you to gain some hands on work experience, working under supervision, as a part of your training. There are certainly programs that will provide you with this experience for an additional fee. At Healing Hooves and other EFW Canada programs we aim to help you find this work experience at no additional cost to you or, even better, to be paid while gaining these hours of experience. 

Conclusion

Cost and time commitment are certainly going to be relevant factors as you consider different training and certification options, hence this article! But we hope they are not the only ones driving your decision. For more information on factors to consider (other than cost) in selecting a certification program, please refer to our previous articles: Who Should I Certify With?  and The Certification Conundrum.

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Next Question in this Series: Do Clients Always Ride Horses in Equine Therapy?

What about you? If you have any questions you’d like us to answer in this series, or questions on any of the above material, please use the comments section below!

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