If you’re serious about a career in the dog industry, a dog training certification is a must. But with so many different certifications out there, how do you know which one to pursue? Our guide to what to look for in a certification program will help you choose the best dog training course for you.
Neither the United States nor most other countries have a national certifying board for dog trainers. So while you’ll find various different certifications available, none of them can claim to be the “official” certification. Any individual dog training certification simply assures potential clients or employers that you have gone through a training program or passed a dog training test, and know your stuff. To decide which dog training certification best fits your needs, you should think about several different aspects:
Does the Curriculum Reflect Your Needs?
What dog-related skills and knowledge would you like to brush up on or learn? Any reputable dog training school will have a detailed course outline available. Of course you’ll want to make sure that it covers an extensive range of dog training skills. It should of course include basic dog obedience and correcting behavioral problems. But it would be nice to also cover giving puppy classes, special techniques for helping rescue dogs, tricks, and advanced behaviors. A really quality course should also give you an understanding of dog psychology, as well as education in the theoretical underpinnings of dog training.
Maybe you have an interest in expanding out from dog training to other dog-related services like doggie daycare, pet photography, or dog walking. In that case, you’ll want to look for a dog training course that includes additional modules. These might include canine health care, nutrition, first aid, running a doggie daycare or pet sitting operation, or help with setting up and running other kinds of dog businesses. Watch out for dog training schools that offer many different types of “add-on” courses. Separating off all the elements you need can be just a way to nickel and dime you, significantly adding to the overall cost of a certification. Taking a more well-rounded dog training certification course from the beginning will give you more options. You’ll be able to pursue different types of dog careers without having to take a whole new course.
Individualized Attention and Mentoring
How much individualized help and attention will you get during the course? Are you expected to follow it all on your own, or will there be a tutor or mentor available at any time to answer questions you might have? Will you have access to your instructor only during specific class times, or does he or she welcome questions and contact outside of class hours?
Individualized attention and mentoring is important when you are learning the practical skills required to train dogs. But it can be even more crucial as you go out and try to get a job in the dog industry. And you will definitely want a mentor if you plan to start up your own dog business.
Cost of a Dog Training Certification
Most of us don’t have unlimited funds when we’re looking to start a new career. Dog training certifications come with an assortment of price-tags, not all of which will likely fit your budget. How much do you have to spend? A thousand dollars? Ten thousand dollars? If you’ve found a couple of different programs with curricula that appeal to you, go ahead and compare them based on price.
Payment options also matter. Maybe you can’t come up with a thousand dollars all at once, but does the certification course you are considering offer payment plans? Spreading it out over a few months can make things much more doable. Do your homework and decide what fits your budget.
Convenience of the Dog Training Course for You
How will studying for your dog training certification fit into your schedule? Is there a brick-and-mortar dog training school located near your house? If not, an online course might be a good option for you. If you are working around your work or school schedule, or want to complete a certification course while caring for children at home, you may want to look into evening classes or an online certification.
How long will your certification take to get? Some last as little as twelve weeks, while others may take up to a year. Online dog training schools are often self-paced, so you can finish quickly if you need to or take a little more time if you are juggling other responsibilities. With an online school, you also have the advantage of being able to take time off in an emergency, rather than simply dropping out.
Whatever certification you choose, make sure your school offers mentoring or tutoring to give you individual help and keep you on track with your career goals.
Does Your Dog Training Course Offer Career Help?
Don’t forget that your goal in getting a dog training certification is to actually become a dog trainer. Are you aiming to find a job as a dog trainer after graduating from the course? Look for schools that provide career counseling and help with resumes, interviews, and job hunting. Would you rather start your own dog training business? Then it’s important to find a school that will help you with the business side. A comprehensive set of business modules should include many different skills you need to run a successful business. Some examples would be learning how to set your fees, market your services, deal with taxes and financials, and keep your customers happy.
Some dog training schools will even start you off with help designing a website for your dog business. Take them up on this offer! A good website is easily one of the best marketing tools you could have to promote your services. Some courses also provide you with personalized marketing materials like business cards, door hangers, and posters. Even better if they also give you all the client forms you need to run a business.
A good rule of thumb is to first think about where you want your career to go after you receive your dog training certification. Then look for a certification course that will help you reach your goals.
Which Dog Training Certification is for you?
Consider each dog training certification course from the standpoint of curriculum, cost, convenience, and career help. A little time spent reflecting like this will allow you to make your decision based on which dog training school will fit best with your life and your career goals. If you have a more specific question about your personal situation, we’d be happy to talk with you about your options and help you make a decision. Contact our career adviser at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find out more about the CanineClub Academy’s Certification Course in Dog Training on our website, CanineClubAcademy.com.