According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA,) a service dog is trained to perform tasks or work for a person with a disability. Although it isn’t required, many people with disabilities choose to have their service dogs professionally trained. For their work, service dog trainers make between $23,500-$40,500 annually in 2023, according to ZipRecruiter.
Keep reading to learn which factors influence how much money service dog trainers make, the job growth you can expect for this profession, and how to become a service dog trainer.
What Factors Influence a Service Dog Trainer’s Salary?
In the United States, the average annual salary for a service dog trainer is $33,254 per year or about $16 per hour. The location is the most significant factor influencing how much a service dog trainer makes. For example, currently, service dog trainer salaries are highest in Nevada and lowest in Louisiana. Trainers in urban areas usually earn higher wages than those in less populated locations.
Training and experience are other factors that can help service dog trainers earn more money. There are no specific education requirements for service dog trainers (more on this later on), but there are courses and certificates you can take that may improve your salary. More experienced trainers are also likely to earn more money.
Is the Service Dog Trainer Profession Growing?
While there’s no specific category for service dog trainers, the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) classifies them as animal care and service workers. According to the BLS, the overall animal care and service worker profession is expected to grow faster than average from 2021–2031.
As awareness about service dogs and the support they provide their owners grows, demand for these working animals should rise as well. Training a service dog can take as long as 2 years, depending on the tasks they’re learning.
How to Become a Service Dog Trainer
As we mentioned earlier, service dog trainers have no formal education or training requirements.
Two of the first steps you can take to become a service dog trainer are to gain experience working with dogs and disabled people. Service dog trainers need to know how to handle dogs and be comfortable interacting with all types of people. Taking animal behavior and dog training courses can increase your knowledge and help you get a job as a service dog trainer. You can become a certified dog trainer through the Certification Council for Profession Dog Trainers (CCPDT.)
You may complete an apprenticeship with a professional dog trainer on your own or through one of these training courses. This allows you to receive hands-on education and experience what it takes to be a service dog trainer.
Being a service dog trainer may not be the highest-paying job you can find, but most people can earn a living doing it. Like many animal care jobs, the rewarding part of the career isn’t necessarily the money you make but the chance to help people and dogs. If you’re interested in becoming a service dog trainer, our helpful tips provide a path for getting started.
Featured Image Credit: 12019, Pixabay