Career Exploration

This program is listed on the AZ Eligible Training Provider List.

The FSDS Community-Based Training Program is a pioneering concept. Pioneered as a youth-based training program, this program now provides opportunities for youths and adults who wish to gain entry level skills and explore a career in the SD training industry. Individuals are provided the opportunity to participate in the program and train a SD for a local Arizonan in need. This program is tailor made for high school and college students, as well as adults who are considering career change.

This hybrid program offers opportunities to a broad segment of the community. While most programs either train the dogs and then place them, or provide team training, this program offers both. Individuals who seek at acquire service dog (SD) training skills may apply to participate and will learn to train SDs while raising a dog for someone in need. At the same time, wounded military veterans or first responders who wish to train a dog for their own needs may elect to participate and train a dog for their own needs.

Interested individuals can contact us at for application

Eligibility Requirements

Those applicants for participation who wish to train a dog must:

  • be an AZ resident for at least one year
  • be at least 13 years of age
  • be able to arrange their own transportation to and from classes and field trips
  • be able to provide adequate care for the essential needs of the dog assigned during the training process
  • have no record of felony conviction or pending felony charges
  • be able to fully commit to 18 months of training
  • be physically able to safely participate in the training process from start to finish

If you are seeking to train a dog for your own needs- DO NOT attempt to secure your own dog first- the FSDS will select an appropriate, temperament tested, and health cleared dog for you.

There are many benefits to be derived from this, including but not limited to:
  • permitting us to truly serve the entire community
  • including First Responders who have felt isolated builds an instant peer group / support network for them
  • as the dog begins to learn skills the individuals who will train their dogs benefit immediately without having to wait a year or longer to get a dog
  • by having the military and First Responders involved for the entire time alongside the youths, we build stronger bridges between these populations and enhance what has been set up to be a reciprocal mentoring experience
  • new classes are started throughout the year and the timing is based on need and funding availability
  • as individuals gain knowledge, we will permit them to be a part of our speakers Bureau if they desire- alleviating the current problem where they are out of a job and feel marginalized and unable to remain an active part of the military or First Responder community

Master SD Trainer Apprenticeship Program

The FSDS has recently become the only program in the nation to gain approval at the state level as a Master SD Trainer Apprenticeship Program. The difference between a lead trainer and a master trainer is that in the latter case, the trainer has acquired the skills needed to train the next generation of trainers as well as manage and expand a SD training program. An apprentice position is available dependent on funding. Individuals will be able to earn credentials as a trainer at four levels:

  • Novice
  • Junior
  • Senior
  • Master

This robust program requires 2,000 hours of on-the-job training PLUS an additional 288 hours of related technical instruction. Though other programs claim to provide apprentice training, this is the only program in AZ approved by the state. As such, the FSDS program is subject to the type of regulation and oversight needed to provide public assurance of services. At each level students will take three courses, each the rough equivalent of a 3-credit college course.

Interested individuals may fill out application and send to for review.

Training Academy Application Packet July 2022