Becoming a K-9 officer can be one of the most rewarding and satisfying career moves for someone who wants to become a police officer and has a passion and love for working with dogs. In order to become a K-9 police officer you will need to obtain skills both as a police officer and as a specialized dog handler.
Though college is not necessary to become a police officer in most cities, it would be a great asset for someone to attend college and get a degree in criminal justice, a two year associates degree will be enough. Getting a degree in criminal justice will help someone prepare for a career in law enforcement and give them a upper hand when they enter the road to becoming a police officer. While in college a person should also take classes that will help them learn about animals such as animal behavior classes or animal science. These classes will not be the K-9 training that someone would have to go through when they become a K-9 officer but these classes will help a person to understand more about animals and how they react and behave in certain situations. These classes are not mandatory to become a K-9 officer but will certainly give someone the upper hand when competing with others for a K-9 officer open position.
After you are finished with college you will need to enroll in the police academy. You will need to attend the police academy to obtain the skills that you will need to work as a police officer. You must be aware that there are some prerequisites for you to be accepted into the police academy such as taking an entrance exam, passing a psychological test as well as a physical exam. You must also have a clean criminal record and be of good character. After completing the police academy you will now be POST certified and be able to apply for a police officer position with different police departments.
If you have taken some animal caretaker classes or have some kind of other experience working with animals and there is a K-9 officer position open you can apply for these positions. Please know that many departments will probably want you to start out as a regular uniformed police officer though so you can gain some experience and learn what it means to be a police officer. You may have to work as a regular officer for a couple years before you are eligible to apply for special positions but you can take advantage of this time by taking up some more college classes on animal behavior, computer science, etc.
When you are eligible to apply for the K-9 position and there is an opening go for it! Be sure to let them know all about the education you have received about animal care and animal science. Once you are hired as a K-9 officer you will have to go through some rigorous field training with your dog. You and your dog will have to get used of each other because you will have to learn how to work together as a team. Your canine will become your best friend and you will be responsible in taking care of him/her and keeping them healthy. You will also be responsible for keeping your canine properly trained. You will want your partner to be well trained because this can be an important factor that can be the difference in life and death situations.
Working as a K-9 officer is a position which requires that you give lots of attention to the canine. You are going to put lots of time and effort into your dog ,but if you have a natural talent with canines and other animals this job should be no problem for you. Specialized K-9 officers receive salary incentives for specializing in the K-9 unit and earn a very good living. You can increase your earning potential by taking continuing education courses in criminal justice; these are easy to take through online schools.