Entrance requirements are as follows for all online program applicants:
- Must be a minimum of 16 years old.
- Must have access to a computer or phone with stable internet.
- Must have basic computer and internet skills.
- Must have a portable device that can record videos (cell phone, camera, etc.)
- Must be able to communicate and read in English.
- Must have access to a friendly, untrained dog that meets our Minimum Requirements. (Training Programs Only, see page 20)
- Must be able to meet all physical requirements for the chosen program.
- Must live in one of the eligible states for distance learning education.
Participation of any of the programs at The Academy of Pet Careers requires students to meet a minimum standard of physical condition. Because you will be working directly with live animals and caring for their wellbeing, these physical requirements are to protect both the student and the animals in their care.
Students will be expected to work with dogs of varying breeds, sizes, and temperaments. Some animals may be stressed, fearful or aggressive and can act unpredictably. Because of this, it is essential for pet professionals to meet the following requirements.
Students who are unable to meet the following requirements should notify The Academy of Pet Careers immediately. The APC welcomes the opportunity to provide reasonable accommodation to students who do not meet one or more of the physical requirements.
Students enrolled in any APC program may be exposed to substances such as chemicals, anesthetic agents, pharmaceutical agents, x-radiation and zoonotic diseases and parasites (such as toxoplasmosis), which can cause harm to an unborn fetus, resulting in birth defects and/or miscarriage. All programs include the handling of animals and have potential risk of injury to the student and/or unborn child.
Any student who is pregnant or becomes pregnant while enrolled in any of the programs offered by APC is advised to speak with her physician and make an informed decision on whether to start/continue the program or to elect to be placed on a temporary leave of absence.
Minimum Requirements for Dogs (Training Programs Only)
For students in the online Professional Dog Trainer Program (APC-PDT), it is important that you have a dog that is friendly and untrained. Students with dogs who do not possess the right qualities will struggle to graduate on time. On the flip side, students who have a dog that is already well behaved and well trained may have an easier time, but those students will not learn the necessary qualities to succeed as a professional dog trainer.
With a goal of helping students succeed and getting the most out of their education, we recommend the following guidelines for choosing the right dog for your program. Your dog may not possess all of these qualities, but the more they do, the better off you will be.
- Dog does not know more than a couple basic obedience skills. Most dogs pick up on skills like Sit and Down pretty quickly so it’s okay if they have a few skills. We want to avoid a dog that has already attended an obedience program and knows half a dozen or more skills. This will make training them seem simple but in reality, you aren’t learning to deal with the common troubleshooting that happens when you train a new dog.
- Dog is between 6 months and 8 years. This is not a hard rule and may vary based on breed, but you want a dog that is in good health and is not a puppy. Puppies are cute and fun to train, but they lack the ability to work for more than a few minutes at a time and typically deal with distracting behaviors such as puppy biting and soiling in the house. You will have an easier time working with a more mature dog.
- Dog is highly motivated by treats and/or toys. Most dogs will be trained using treats and the more your dog gets excited about food, the faster and easier they will learn. Some dogs may not work for treats, but a toy or ball works just as well. This adds a bit of complexity to the training but is totally doable.
- Dog gives good attention. If your dog looks to you for direction, that is a good sign that you have already built a connection and they will be more willing to work with you. A dog who ignores you and seems generally uninterested in you will be much harder to work with. To test this, walk around your dog and talk to them and see what level of engagement they give.
- Dog is comfortable in different environments. Throughout your program, you will do most of your training at home but there are a few skills that may require more space. You may decide to work in your back yard or go to the park. In this case, the dog should enjoy the adventure and not be nervous about the new environment.
- Dog doesn’t shown aggression towards dogs or people. Although this program is online and the chances of interacting with other people or animals is slim, a dog that has aggressive or reactive tendencies has underlying issues of fear, anxiety, or stress. These dogs can be great one moment but in a different environment shut down and stop working. To help set yourself up for success, you should work with a dog that is generally confident and friendly with strangers.
Dog is in good health and likes to be active. You should avoid using a dog that has mobility issues or problems with energy. You will benefit from working with a dog that enjoys being active and is wanting to engage, versus a dog that is in pain and would prefer to rest.
The Academy does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, creed or national origin in the enlistment or admission of students to The Academy of Pet Careers.
Enrollment Status & Changes
Students currently enrolled at the APC may change programs at any time. Program changes must follow all refund and transfer of credit rules described in this catalog.
Equipment Refunds and Replacements
Equipment costs will only be refunded if student has yet to receive their equipment package. Once received, the equipment can no longer be returned. Students will have 14 calendar days from the date they receive their equipment to replace any damaged, broken, or malfunctioning equipment by returning it to the APC. If being shipped, the shipping date will determine if it falls within the 14-day return window. Students will be responsible for any shipping costs associated with the return of equipment. After 14 calendar days, students will be responsible for replacements.
Some equipment is covered under manufacturer’s warranty. If so, it is the student’s responsibility to contact the manufacturer for replacement.
Cancellation Of Contract
If the Academy of Pet Careers rejects a student, the Application Fee, Tuition Registration Deposit, and any tuition paid will be refunded. In addition, the Tuition Registration Deposit and any tuition paid will be refunded if the student gives notice of cancellation within three (3) days (exclusive of Saturday, Sunday, and holidays) after the date of execution of the contract.
Once a student has begun classes, and then wishes to withdraw, notice of intent to withdraw must be communicated with the admissions office. Notice may be verbal, but it is preferred that it is in writing by submitting a copy of the Withdrawal Form which is available in the student lounge. Any applicable refund of tuition (as described above) will be calculated once notice is received by the academy.
Leave Of Absence
The Academy of Pet Careers recognizes that certain personal situations may arise which makes it necessary for a student to take time away from their schooling. The Leave of Absence policy is designed to be flexible in response to these needs. A leave of absence is considered any significant amount of time in which a student needs to be removed from class due to personal emergencies that would prevent their attendance or progress. The leave may not exceed 180 days in a 12-month period.
A Leave of Absence must be coordinated with the Admissions Director and not your program instructor. Returning from a leave of absence is based upon availability and should be discussed before departure with the Admissions Director. Arrangements may be made for the student to make up time missed or to be re-enrolled in the future.
Students attending an online program will put their education on pause. Access to the student portal will be removed. Upon return to the program, the students end date will be adjusted accordingly, so long as it doesn’t exceed the maximum time to graduate (1.5 times the length of the program).
Maximum Time to Graduate
There are many things that could prevent a student from graduating on time. If a student graduation is delayed for any reason, except for a leave of absence, time to graduate cannot exceed 1.5 times the length of the program. For a 100-day program (140 calendar days), a student cannot take more than 50 additional class days, or 70 calendar days to pass the program.
If a student is unable to pass their enrolled program, their progress will be assessed and if it meets the minimum requirement for a different program, the student may receive a certificate from that program.
It is the APC’s goal to set students up for success. To do this, we believe students deserve a chance to experience a program or career path without obligation. Online students will have the ability to drop their program within this 14-day period or up until the completion of Chapter 1, whichever is longer. Students may withdraw from their online program for a full refund of tuition, excluding the $50 application fee, and cost of equipment. Verbal or written notice must be received prior to the end of the 14th day or before starting Chapter 2.
An online student may cancel their contract at any time. The effective date of cancellation will be the date that verbal or written notice was received by The Academy of Pet Careers.
If the student is dismissed for violation of academy policies, the termination date will be that of the notice of infraction that resulted in the expulsion. No refund applies for determined expulsion.
Application fees are not refundable. Any notice of cancellation prior to a student’s first day of class will trigger a full refund less the Application Fee.
Once received by student, opened or unopened, equipment kits are non-refundable.
Refunds calculated after the start of class are based on completion and vary per program. Students will receive a refund based on the chapter their current progress. When notice of withdrawal is submitted, the chapter they are on, completed or not, will determine the refund amount.
Refunds after the start of class will be calculated as follows:
- Total Cost includes all tuition, application fees, equipment, and taxes made by a student (see Equipment Refunds and Replacements for more details on eligibility for an equipment refund).
- The Total Refundable Tuition will be determined by taking Total Cost less the application fee and equipment.
- If student is within their Drop Window, the Total Refundable Tuition will be paid back to the student.
- After the Drop Window, refunds will be prorated based on the rules of each program. Total Refundable Tuition will be multiplied by the determined Refund Percentage to calculate the Total Refund.
Professional Dog Trainer (APC-PDT)
- Chapter 0-1 (or 2 weeks, whichever is longer): Full Refund
- Chapters 2-6: 50% Refund
- Chapters 7+: No Refund
Online programs are offered with rolling enrollment. Students may enroll in any online program on the date of their choosing (excluding weekends and holidays). Online programs will have a fixed start and end date, but students will be allowed to graduate early if they complete all of their program requirements.
The APC headquarters will be closed on weekends and for the following calendar days:
Instructors are available for communication during regular Headquarters hours of operations. Students may communicate via direct message through the student portal or attend group or one-on-one zoom calls with their instructor during these hours. Messages received on weekends or outside regular hours will be responded to at the earliest convenience once the Headquarters is open. Regular operating hours are Monday – Friday: 8:30am – 4:00pm CST.
Online students will not receive a grade to track their program progress. All requirements will be graded on a pass/fail basis and all requirements must be completed to graduate and receive their Certificate of Completion. Certain criteria will halt the progress of their program, so as long as they complete the tasks assigned to them and they reach the end of the program, they will graduate.
Student transcripts documenting each student’s enrollment information, progress report and date of graduation or termination are maintained by the school in the form of a permanent school record. This transcript is available to the student and will be issued upon request.
The APC offers employment assistance for no additional fee. The employment assistance program is voluntary and includes meetings with the school’s Director of Student Services to prepare students for obtaining a job. Meetings include helping the students to create their resumes, prepare them for the interviewing process through roleplaying, and connecting them with known employers in their area. Employers who participate in the employment assistance program include grooming salons, kennels, veterinary clinics, and pet shops. Students will also have access to the APC Alumni page on Facebook where local pet businesses post job opportunities.
The employment assistance program is a job assistance program. Participation in the program is not a guarantee of employment.
School Use of Personal Photos and Videos
Students understand that during their enrollment at The Academy of Pet Careers there will be various reasons for submitting photos and videos (or have them taken by faculty).
They agree to allow The APC to use these photos/videos for internal and external use in both online and paper publication, during their enrollment and in the future.
They also give permission to The Academy of Pet Careers to record calls and video meetings between Instructors and themselves.
They understand that I will not be compensated in any way for these photos or videos.
Etiquette & Professionalism
In an effort to make sure we provide the best learning environment, all students and faculty will be held to a high standard of professionalism and personal etiquette. The following is a list of standards that are expected of all students. This is not an exhaustive list and at the discretion of APC faculty, a student may be given warnings for additional behaviors that do not represent them in a positive, professional manner.
Consecutive violations of conduct may result in academic probation for a month. Students on academic probation are expected to receive no more conduct warnings during this time or else it may result in the removal from their program.
Standards of Conduct
- Be emotionally and physically prepared to participate in your program, including one-on-one calls with your instructor, group zoom classes, and discussion forums.
- Communication with Instructors is restricted to the online portal (via direct messages, one-on-one Zoom calls, and group Zoom classes). No student should contact an instructor or faculty via their personal phones, email, or social media pages.
- Students are not allowed to solicit products, equipment, or services for personal gain to other students or faculty.
- Students are expected to exercise self-control. A lack of emotional control that jeopardizes any person or animal, disrupts zoom classes, or interferes with the ability of other students to learn will not be tolerated.
- No foul language or raising of voice to staff, students, or pets.
- Students are expected to follow directions from their instructor or school leadership.
- Observe personal hygiene and grooming. Students should always present a neat and professional appearance when in the presence of other students, faculty, or the general public.
- Cheating of any kind is not tolerated and at the discretion of the admissions director may lead to probation or expulsion. This includes taking online assessments with open notes or with additional browsers open.
- Abusive handling of ANY animal is not allowed and is grounds for immediate probation or expulsion. Abusive handling includes physical mishandling, striking, shouting or use of foul language.
- Students are encouraged to bring problems to the attention of the Academy Administrator. Discussing grievances with other students is unproductive and unprofessional.
Programs that do not have a required externship component have no fixed attendance schedule. Students will progress on a schedule that best fits their needs.
If a student goes 14 days without logging into the student portal, a warning will be initiated by their instructor and resources may be offered to help get the student back on track.
If a student goes 30 days without logging into the student portal, they will be put on Academic Probation. Failing to log into the student portal and progress with course curriculum a minimum of once every 14 days may result in expulsion of the student. Leave of absences will not impact this policy and will be excluded from the calculation.
Drugs And Alcohol
It is the policy of the academy that students shall not be involved in the use, consumption, possession, sale, distribution or transfer of mind or behavior altering or illegal substances while on the academy premises or while in attendance of virtual classes/meetings. While in attendance, students may not use alcohol, drugs (including marijuana) or narcotics in any manner as this may impair their ability to safely perform assigned tasks.
This policy does not prohibit the use of prescription drugs in a manner approved by the prescribing physician, but if such use could possibly impair the student’s ability to safely perform assigned tasks, specifically those that involve the use of equipment and/or handling of animals, the student should report such use to the instructor.
Curriculum And Proprietary Information
Students should never share school curriculum or proprietary information with outside sources without permission from the school President. Included in this information are class notes, power points, tests and quizzes, or any other information that directly relates to the student’s education. Sharing or selling such information will be cause for dismissal from class and in some cases, expulsion.
Probation And Expulsion
The Academy of Pet Careers reserves the right to dismiss any student for violation of one or more academy policies or standards. The seriousness of the violation will be determined by APC Leadership and may result in probation or expulsion. In addition, each in-person student’s academic progress, professionalism, and attendance will be evaluated monthly and could be the cause of academic probation.
When a student has a complaint or grievance, they should first discuss it with their instructor to find a resolution. If the student is dissatisfied with the outcome, they have the additional option of presenting this grievance to the Director of Admissions or to the school President. Upon doing so, if the grievance is considered fixable, a plan of action will be created by Leadership and put into place new policies to correct any issues within the power of the school or the class.
However, if a student has a grievance or complaint that is not resolved within the APC, the student has the right to submit their issue to the Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education. Forms are available from your instructor or the Academy Admissions Director. In addition, we request any student complete an Advising Form that will be kept in their file. The purposes of these forms are to assist the student in satisfactorily resolving student grievances, complaints, questions, and concerns.