Apprentice Program

View a list of our current AKC Registered Handler Apprentices

Overview
The AKC Registered Handler Apprentice Program was established in 2004 to recognize and encourage full-time Assistants of our AKC Registered Handlers.  Apprentices are mentored by their Registered Handlers with the hope that they will continue to develop skills, knowledge, and expertise in dog handling, kennel maintenance, proper dog care, as well as learning the business side of Professional Handling.  If after years of experience as an AKC Apprentice he or she chooses to apply for membership as an AKC Registered Handler, this accelerated program allows him or her to apply the years as an Apprentice to the requirements of the RH Program, at a ratio of one for two after the first year of continuous service for the same handler household.

Requirements of Applicants of the AKC Apprentice Program:

  • Must be at least 18 years of age
  • Must be a current full-time employee of a current AKC Registered Handler
  • Must have worked for an AKC Registered Handler for at least 6 months prior to being eligible to enroll in the program.
  • Must complete and sign the Apprentice Program application
  • Must read, understand and sign the Apprentice Code of Ethics
  • Must submit a non-refundable application fee of $50.00

Benefits of the Program:

  • Recognition as an AKC Registered Handler Apprentice which demonstrates commitment to learning and developing as a professional dog handler.
  • Apprentices’ names are listed on the Website as an Apprentice of their Registered Handler.
  • Apprentices’ names will appear on a separate AKC Registered Handler Apprentice list on the AKC website
  • Apprentices are eligible and encouraged to apply for the annual George Ward Scholarship Fund Award. This scholarship can be used for their course studies toward a college degree or business or veterinary courses.
  • After the first year as an AKC Registered Handler Apprentice, every 2 years will count as 1 year toward the 7 years experience required to become an AKC Registered Handler, should the Apprentice choose to apply in the future.

Apprentices will receive:

  • An AKC Registered Handler Apprentice lapel pin and RHP Apron upon acceptance into the program.
  • The quarterly AKC Registered Handlers Newsletter.

Responsibilities of the Apprentice:

The AKC Registered Handler Apprentice must adhere to the Code of Ethics which he or she signs upon applying for membership into the program.   These ethics include ensuring the welfare of all dogs in their care, conducting themselves in a sportsmanlike manner, and abiding by all AKC Rules.

If the Apprentice changes employment to a different AKC Registered Handler, it is the responsibility of the Apprentice to notify the Raleigh office of such change. The Apprentice will be asked to complete a form to verify that the Apprentice is under the employ of the new AKC Registered Handler.

An Apprentice is removed from the program if his or her Registered Handler employer is no longer a member in good standing in the RH Program, either by leaving the program, being removed from the program or failing to renew his or her annual AKC Registered Handler Program membership.

If an apprentice is no longer working for a current AKC Registered Handler, he or she will be asked to refrain from wearing an Apprentice lapel pin.

The Apprentice is required to notify the AKC Raleigh office of any change of address, or any other contact information.


If you are interested in applying for membership in the AKC Registered Handlers Apprentice Program, return your completed application, code of ethics form, and application fee of $50 to:

American Kennel Club
Attn: Handlers Department
8051 Arco Corporate Drive, Suite 100
Raleigh, NC 27617-3390

If you have any questions about the Program, feel free to contact Susan Judge at (919) 816-3590 or smj@akc.org.