How to Become a Dog Trainer in Illinois

Becoming a dog trainer is not as easy as it seems.

You need to take some serious actions to become a successful professional.

Illinois offers many career opportunities and becoming a dog trainer is one of them.

Key skills for dog trainers are understanding animal psychology and behavior, patience, empathy, and communication.

But let’s dig deeper and see what else you need to become a dog trainer in Illinois!

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How to Become a Dog Trainer in Illinois?

There are no special requirements for becoming a dog trainer in Illinois, but we provided you with the main steps you need to take before you start pursuing a career in this field.

Step 1: Educate yourself on animal psychology and behavior

Animal psychology does exist and it can help you a lot if you know it before anything else.

You can find many books from reputable authors that will help you in proper animal observation.

You can even read more about animal behavior.

Every individual is indeed different, but gaining knowledge in this field will help you understand animals more.

You will also become more successful in human-dog communication.

Step 2: Start volunteering

There is no better way to improve yourself than volunteering.

Local shelters are always looking for volunteers, and look it from the bright side.

You will help many animals, but you will also gain more knowledge about dog training.

It can also help you decide whether this is the right career choice for you.

Step 3: Become certified

This is not an obligatory step, but it will help you a lot if you are serious about this career choice.

You can get a certificate from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers and your employees will appreciate this a lot.

Step 4: Look for jobs

See what the market offers and decide what is your smartest choice.

You don’t have to rush!

Take your time and decide well whether it is worth applying and working for a certain institution.

Choose a company that looks for minimal experience because you will be a beginner.

This will lower their expectations and will leave you time and space to progress while being supervised.

Dog Training School in Illinois

Certification is not obligatory for dog trainers in Illinois, however, you might benefit from enrolling in some schools or academies that will help you build a better portfolio and resume.

Let’s take a look at the best schools for dog trainers in Illinois!

Animal Behavior College

The classes at Animal Behavior College last 1 year, and no matter your city, you can learn dog behavior from the comfort of your home.

This school offers a great network of professional dog trainers that can mentor the students.

The education process consists of online coursework and a hands-on externship with a local mentor.

The prices vary from $3,499 to $5,647 depending on your payment arrangement and discount.

You will get 29 educational videos and digital study materials.

CATCH Canine Trainers Academy

This academy offers three options for potential dog trainers:

  • Core Skills – Pro Dog Trainer
  • Basics Pro – Dog Training & Behavior
  • Master Class Certification, CCDT

Learning core skills will cost you $1,212 and you will earn a diploma that will help you get a diploma.

On the other side, learning basics pro will cost you $2,793 and you will become a professional in the booming dog services industry.

If you want to become a pro, we advise you to take master classes where you will get a certification for $5,025 if paid in full.

At the end of the course, expect to learn the core concepts of dog behavior and training.

You will also learn how to launch a career or business of your choice.

The best thing is that you can get paired with a local mentor from any city or state in the United States.

Karen Pryor Academy

This professional program for dog trainers costs $5,600.

You will get integrated online learning and hands-on workshops, but you will also have to travel 4 times to the location for your workshops.

The highlight is that you can bring your dog to each 2-day workshop so you can practice.

School Name Address
Animal Behavior College 27509 Avenue Hopkins, First Floor, Valencia CA
CATCH Canine Trainers Academy 24 Newark Pompton Turnpike Suite 206 Little Falls, NJ
Karen Pryor Academy 1933 N. Marcey Street Chicago, IL 60614 United States


The average salary for dog trainers in Illinois is $35,762.

You can earn between $32,481 and $39,144.

Chicago, Cicero, and Oak Park are the top 3 cities in Illinois that offer the best salaries for dog trainers.

Location Avg. Annual Salary
Chicago $36,716
Rockford $34,276
Aurora $36,405
Naperville $36,041
Peoria $33,618
Springfield $32,936
Joliet $35,784
Elgin $36,121
Waukegan $34,779
Cicero $36,716

Regional Salary in Illinois

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI630$35,400$17.02$42,340$28,840
Peoria, IL40$32,150$15.46$36,300$28,680
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Animal Trainers, OCC Code 39-2011, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What skills are essential for success as a dog trainer in Illinois?

Key skills for dog trainers include patience, love for animals, empathy, communication, and confidence.

How can I start my own dog training business in Illinois?

Starting your dog training service or business involves several steps, including choosing a business structure, registering your business, securing any required certifications or licenses, and marketing your services.

We recommend you hire a career coach or a business advisor to help you build more success.

Is becoming a dog trainer in Illinois diffucult?

Becoming a dog trainer in any state can be a challenging process, but if you are willing to work on yourself, it will lead to success.

You need to have some basic knowledge before you start working as a dog trainer.

Enrolling in some courses or academies might be very useful as well.

USA How to Become a Dog Trainer by State