Posted in Career Insights
Dog Trainer Salary: How Much Do They Make

If you’re a dog lover, you’ve probably considered being a pet trainer because it offers a great opportunity to work with your favorite pet.

But how much do dog trainers make? 

Before exploring a career as a trainer, it’s a good idea to learn more about a dog trainer’s salary.

Dog Trainer Salary: Overview

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for a dog trainer in 2017 was $34,760, while the top 10% made more than $56,000. Keep in mind that the actual salary will depend on a variety of factors, including experience, certifications, and level of education.

Dog Trainer Salary: Factors

How much you can make as a dog trainer depends on a number of things that can affect your value as a trainer.


One of the most important things that can set you apart is education. A well-educated dog trainer will have a higher salary.

While no formal license is required to be a dog trainer, someone who is knowledgeable about dog behavior, including how dogs learn and how best to handle them, will receive a higher salary than someone who is self-taught or without any training at all.

If you are interested in training professionally, official certification from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers is also a way to boost your salary. Unfortunately, getting certified takes a significant time commitment, as over 300 hours of training are required for the first level of certification. If you do put in the time, however, you can expect that your salary will be higher than someone who is not certified.

You can also receive a certification from the Association of Pet Dog Trainers. This is a good way to show potential clients you are serious and can boost your salary as a dog trainer.


One factor that may be harder to account for is location. Depending on where you are, how much dog trainers make may be lower or higher. Some data shows that bigger cities like those in California and New York may be better for dog trainer salaries, while other locations are worse. If you’re curious about the dog trainer salaries in your area, you can ask or do your own investigating to determine if there are too many, too few, or if the demand just isn’t there.

Additional Compensation

In addition to a regular salary, a dog trainer may also receive bonuses or commissions, depending on the kind of training they do and who it is for.

Remember, however, that this is based solely upon the employer—bonuses may not be offered everywhere, and they won’t be available (at least at first) if you start your own dog training business.

Want to Learn More About Dog Training?

Whether you’re just starting out or already have some experience under your belt and just want to refine your skills, it’s never a bad idea to get educated. The Stratford Career Institute offers a number of distance learning courses on a variety of topics to help you get started.

Enroll in our Canine Specialist course today!


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Considering a Career as a Dog Trainer?

Considering a Career as a Dog Trainer?

The Stratford Career Institute offers a number of online courses on a variety of topics to help you get started. Enroll in our Canine Specialist course today!