There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a k9 handler. For example, did you know that they make an average of $19.69 an hour? That's $40,958 a year! Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 5% and produce 37,500 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a K9 Handler Do

There are certain skills that many k9 handlers have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed communication skills, empathy and good judgment.

How To Become a K9 Handler

If you're interested in becoming a k9 handler, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 31.4% of k9 handlers have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 3.6% of k9 handlers have master's degrees. Even though some k9 handlers have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

K9 Handler Career Paths

Average Salary for a K9 Handler

K9 Handlers in America make an average salary of $40,958 per year or $20 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $53,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $31,000 per year.
Average K9 Handler Salary
$40,958 Yearly
$19.69 hourly
10 %
90 %

What Am I Worth?


K9 Handler Education

K9 Handler Majors

K9 Handler Degrees


31.4 %


26.0 %

High School Diploma

23.1 %

Top Colleges for K9 Handlers

1. California State University - Bakersfield

Bakersfield, CA • Private

In-State Tuition

2. SUNY at Binghamton

Vestal, NY • Private

In-State Tuition

3. San Diego State University

San Diego, CA • Private

In-State Tuition

4. SUNY Farmingdale

Farmingdale, NY • Private

In-State Tuition

5. Boston University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition

6. Howard University

Washington, DC • Private

In-State Tuition

7. SUNY at Albany

Albany, NY • Private

In-State Tuition

8. Western Carolina University

Cullowhee, NC • Private

In-State Tuition

9. SUNY College at Plattsburgh

Plattsburgh, NY • Private

In-State Tuition

10. SUNY College at Oswego

Oswego, NY • Private

In-State Tuition

Top Skills For a K9 Handler

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 32.0% of k9 handlers listed company vehicle on their resume, but soft skills such as communication skills and empathy are important as well.

  • Company Vehicle, 32.0%
  • Training Records, 20.1%
  • Explosive Detection, 8.6%
  • Public Safety, 7.4%
  • CPR, 6.7%
  • Other Skills, 25.2%

Choose From 10+ Customizable K9 Handler Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use K9 Handler templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your K9 Handler resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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K9 Handler Demographics

K9 Handler Gender Distribution


After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among k9 handlers, 17.1% of them are women, while 82.9% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among k9 handlers is White, which makes up 65.8% of all k9 handlers.

  • The most common foreign language among k9 handlers is Spanish at 40.0%.

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Top K9 Handler Employers

Most Common Employers For K9 Handler

Rank  Company  Average Salary  Hourly Rate  Job Openings  
1Lee County Sheriff's Office$54,950$26.422
2Canyon County$47,116$22.651
3Best Friends Animal Society$46,676$22.442
4Stan Co Office of Ed$46,672$22.442
5Livingston Parish Sheriff$45,435$21.841
7Medford Police Department$42,756$20.561
8US Air Conditioning Distributors$42,743$20.5511
9USAF Police Alumni Association$42,686$20.528