Becoming a qualified dog trainer requires an investment of time and money. The fees can be nearly as high as $10,000, depending upon the course you take and the institution with which you choose to study. Assistance is available through government programs, private loans or the study institutions, as long as you are studying through a recognized college with accredited certification programs.
Institution Financial Aid Programs
Several established dog training facilities offer their own in-house financial assistance, and others have teamed with lending institutions to provide a customized product for students. Both the Triple Crown Academy in Texas (schoolfordogtrainers.com) and the Animal Behavior College (animalbehaviorcollege.com), for example, partner with Sallie Mae Financial for a career training loan. The loan offers 100 percent of school costs and three repayment options – deferred payment, fixed repayment or interest-only repayment.
Study assistance for a career as a dog trainer is available from most banks, credit unions and other traditional lenders, many of whom offer private loans with no repayment requirements until after the completion of study. Some offer an additional grace period of up to 12 months, to give the student time to find work in his chosen field. Traditional study or personal loans may require a co-signer, especially if the student has no credit history or regular income. Private study loans may only be available for study through specific institutions, so students should choose their college before applying for a loan.
The federal government’s Higher Education Act of 1965 provides for a variety of forms of financial aid to students under the Title IV program. Pell Grants are needs-based grants available to eligible students that are determined by the cost of tuition and the family’s financial circumstances. Approximately 5,400 post-secondary institutions participate in the program. Some study organizations, such as the K-9 University in Tennessee (k9-university.com), choose not to participate in the Title IV program.
The government also offers several loan programs for students. Subsidized and unsubsidized loans are available. The subsidized loans are needs-based and not dependent on credit approval, and the interest is paid by the government until after the study period is completed. The unsubsidized loans are available regardless of financial need, and the interest accrues and is added to the loan amount when repayment begins. A federal loan usually has fixed interest rates lower than private institutions and attractive benefits, options and repayment terms. The loans can be used to cover room and board, books and other supplies and transportation, as well as tuition. Loan forgiveness and postponement are options for families on a low income. Loan limits for undergraduate students range from $5,500 to $12,500 per year, and students apply for the loans through the study institution of choice.
The Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training and Behavior (karenpryoracademy.com) offers 50 scholarships of $300 and three scholarships of $2,500 to students who want to take academy programs. The academy has training locations throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Tracey Sandilands has written professionally since 1990, covering business, home ownership and pets. She holds a professional business management qualification, a bachelor's degree in communications and a diploma in public relations and journalism. Sandilands is the former editor of an international property news portal and an experienced dog breeder and trainer.