March is an exciting month for us all, as this is the start of the long needed and awaited birth of a credible, network of certified SD training program. In the past, independent trainers have had no means of obtaining any recognition as a member of a service dog program network. While most existing SD programs are run as non-profits, they tend to be centered in or around large cities, leaving a large rural population of the nation with no access to credible training programs. This has left thousands of citizens nationwide with no means to achieve legitimate team certification, and competent and dedicated private trainers feeling isolated and disconnected from the SD training community. This network is designed to provide independent trainers with an ability to set up organized programs, understanding that group lessons are more cost effective for teams than private lessons. It is our hope that this effort will open the door for individuals with disabilities to obtain credible training, and combat the growing problem in society of individuals purchasing fake credentials online because they lack credible options in their region.
As with any other endeavor, certification has its advantages. Those programs that put forth the effort to meet the high standards that are upheld in the SD community will be able to enjoy the benefits of belonging to a network. Among these benefits are:
- free federally mandated annual OSHA training for your staff
- access to a complete set of program standards
- didactic training for team handlers designed to meet the needs of learning challenged individuals
- ability to request funding to assist a client with disabilities in underwriting training once a year
- referrals from other members in network
- guaranteed reciprocity for your teams if they relocate
- program to be listed on FSDS website to increase your visibility and reach
- updates regarding any changes in SD laws and standards
- ability to network with other trainers across the nation
- opportunities to work your way up to a position of Regional Assessor, as positions are available
- increased marketability, credibility and public confidence for your business
It must be understood that the exclusive purpose of this program is to certify your SD training program that operates under the umbrella of your business. This program does not certify any other type of training that your business offers, other than SD training.