Canine Officer Career Overview
Canine officers often are sworn police officers or sheriff's deputies who enter the canine corps after several years of street duty. Patrol officers work their assigned shifts while volunteering at the police kennel or riding with canine officers to see if it's right for them. You can train for a police career by completing an online associate's or bachelor's degree in law enforcement or criminal justice.
Canine Officer Training
Job candidates may have to pass extensive physical, psychological, and written examinations as well as undergo mandatory background investigations. Taking on a volunteer role at a local animal shelter can also provide handling experience and exposure to issues with dogs. Newly hired deputies or police officers should notify superiors or commanders of their willingness to advance to canine duty and, over the first few years of duty, provide benchmarks of your volunteer service in the canine field. While taking classes in working with animals can improve your candidacy, most agencies provide officer and dog training at their own academy.
While competition is high, canine officers may also find jobs with federal agencies including the Department of Homeland Security, the Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Border Patrol, and the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.
Canine Officer Salary Range & Job Outlook
Police and detective officers hold more than 860,000 jobs, with nearly 80 percent of positions with local government. New job openings for police officers and detectives are predicted to rise by 11 percent between 2006 and 2016, with detectives and investigator positions increasing by 17 percent. *Earnings for canine officers range from $55,000 to $96,000 a year.
*Bureau of Labor Statistics