I have a background as a teacher, and I love working with kids and animals, even though I haven't done as much of it as I would like. My end goal, ideally, would be to become a dog training instructor at a vocational high school.
To do that, though, I would first need to become a certified dog trainer myself. I was trying to get trained as a professional dog trainer and get paid for doing something I love (working with animals), but I'm not really sure how to go about it. I've inquired about a few top rated programs by the BBB, but they flatly told me that the certification I would receive isn't exactly a license to train dogs, because the dog training certifications are not regulated; there's no standard license to certify a trainer.
If that's so, how do you become a certified trainer? Please don't give me the "being a dog trainer takes years of experience" spiel. If you can't get experience training dogs professionally without training dogs professionally, how does anyone who doesn't have close personal connections to a dog trainer become a trainer? It sounded like an exciting field that could lead to other careers, such as vet tech and maybe service dog trainer, but if I can't figure out how to get past step one, I can't really do anything.
The last thing I want to do is pay $5,000 for a cute little piece of paper from a glorified pet store that will vouch for my dog training abilities and mean nothing to people further on the rungs.
Now, the programs I checked out both provide access to an established dog trainer as a mentor, but I'm not sure that's enough. I would think that I would need to "student dog train" or something to have real verifiable experience.