How to Become a K9 Officer: Everything You Need to Know

There are many reasons to want to become a K9 officer. Not only will you get to work with dogs, but you can also expect a higher salary. The average K9 officer’s salary is $56,562 per year, which is more than a normal police officer.

But before you can start earning the big bucks, you need to obtain a diploma, pass a physical examination, and complete a K9 officer training program. That’s not all, though.

So, what are the steps you need to take to start your career as a K9 officer? Keep reading this post to find out.

Get a High School Diploma

Aspiring K9 officers must have a high school diploma to qualify. If you did not graduate high school, you can apply to take your GED. A passing GED score can replace the need for a high school diploma.

Be 21 Years or Older

All US states require police officers to be 21 years of age. K9 officers are no different. You must be at least 19 when you take your original exam and at least 21 to receive an official appointment.

Pass a Physical Fitness Test

K9 officers must undergo a physical exam and be physically fit. States and even cities define “fit” differently. As an example, you may have to run 1.5 miles in 116 minutes and do 25 consecutive pushups and sit-ups.

Pass a Background Check

All aspiring police offers, including K9 officers, must undergo a full background check. These checks will look at your credit history, education records, criminal background, a social media activity. You also have to pass a drug test.

Pass a Psychological Evaluation

Being a K9 officer is a stressful job. That’s why applicants have to undergo psychological evaluations. The goal of a psychological exam is to evaluate whether or not you can handle the stress of the job.

Complete a Police Academy K9 Training Program

Completing a police academy training program is one of the most time-consuming K9 officer requirements. The program usually takes 12 to 14 weeks to complete. During the program, you will learn:

  • Dog behavior
  • Obedience training
  • Dog first aid

You can also specialize further in fields like explosive detection. Specializing will take more time but can be highly rewarding. Learn more about explosive detection dogs training at the link.

Pass a K9 Training Exam

To graduate from K9 training school, you must pass an examination. The exam will test your knowledge of the subjects you learned during the training program. You will also have an opportunity to show off your skills.

Gain On-the-Job Experience

Most states require aspiring K9 officers to complete two or three years of regular police officer experience. After that, you can finally apply for a position in the K9 unit.

This Is How to Become a K9 Officer

To become a K9 officer, you must have a high school diploma, be 21 years old, and pass physical fitness, background, and psychological exams. Then, all you have to do is complete training and get on-the-job experience to apply for jobs.

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