FAQ

Question: What is Starmark Academy’s mailing address, phone number and fax number?

Answer: 200 County Road 197, Hutto, TX 78634; Phone: 877-823-7847/512-759-2275; Fax: 512-846-2147

 

Question: Where are you located?

Answer: Starmark Academy for Professional Dog Trainers, Inc. is located north of Austin, Texas.

 

Question: Can I make a living as a professional dog trainer?

Answer: Yes!  A career in dog training can be fun and rewarding.  Starmark Academy will show you how to maximize your potential in the dog training market.  Whether you are conducting in-home lessons, training in your local park, or building your own training facility, you will have the knowledge and ability to help you succeed.

 

Question: Are there career opportunities after I graduate? How will I find out about them?

Answer: Starmark Academy cannot guarantee job placement after graduation, however we will assist you in your job search.  As you get close to graduation we will provide you with as many job announcements as we can find.  In addition, many employers contact us looking for graduates of our program, which we will post to the job announcement section of our graduate login page.

 

Question: Can I bring my dog to the Academy with me?

Answer: Yes. You may bring one personal dog if attending the four week program, or up to two dogs if attending the eight or twelve week program. Your dog must either stay in the student housing with you, or you may have your dog stay in a kennel for $10/day.  If your dog stays in your room with you, he must be crated in your absence.  Please keep in mind that dogs with previous training may not be used for certain requirements; however they may be used for other classes in which they do not having previous training. In addition, when available, we will provide you with “green” dogs—those who do not have previous training.  We provide this service free of charge to several Austin area rescue groups. This gives you the opportunity to work with a dog that you are unfamiliar with, and increases the dogs’ chances for adoption.  In addition, if a student is interested in adopting an assigned rescue dog, in most cases the student is given priority.

 

Question: What makes Starmark Academy better than other schools?

Answer: Starmark Academy offers the most comprehensive hands-on program in the country. No other school will better prepare you for a career in professional dog training than Starmark. While attending, you will be training under the supervision of qualified instructors on a daily basis, who will provide you with critical feedback to ensure that you develop your skills to the best of your potential. Starmark Academy is affiliated with Starmark Animal Behavior Center, Inc., the largest, most comprehensive training, behavior, and boarding center for dogs in the world.  Starmark’s trained staff of certified training and behavior specialists offer a wide array of techniques and specialties customized to each dog and owner’s needs. From pets to pros, Starmark does it all: basic companion obedience, solutions for common behavior problems, agility, police K-9, search and rescue, assisted therapy, scent detection, tracking, schutzhund, competitive obedience, trick training, retriever training, and more. Starmark’s goal is to provide practical training and behavior solutions to pet owners and enthusiasts nationwide. By attending Starmark Academy, you will be immersed in the world of dogs and dog training, something you simply cannot get by taking a home study course. We invite you to tour our facility and visit with our instructors and see the difference for yourself.

 

Question: Will I be able to instruct people as well as dogs following the completion of this course?

Answer: Yes. We feel that you must be able to instruct people as well as dogs. It is important that you can articulate your training methods to your prospective clients so they may maximize what they have learned. You will learn how to instruct private lessons, group classes, in-home lessons, as well as in-kennel training while attending Starmark Academy.

 

Question: Can I bring any pets with me other than a dog(s)?

Answer: No. Students are only allowed to bring dogs into student housing.

 

Question: I would like to bring my child/children to school with me. Is childcare available while I am in class?

Answer: Childcare services are available in the local area, however you may have difficulty finding childcare for all of the hours you will be spending learning and training. Your education at Starmark Academy goes beyond being in class Monday through Friday, 9-5. You will be required to spend time training your assigned dogs in the mornings before class and in the evenings after class. You will also have other commitments in the evenings and some weekends, such as kennel duty and observing group and private lessons held by our trainers. In order to maximize their learning experience, our students have very little time to focus on much else besides dog training.

 

Question: What is the weather in Austin like?

Answer: Average summer highs are in the upper nineties while average winter lows are in the mid forties. Average monthly rainfall is around two inches.  www.weather.com or www.wunderground.com have up to date information on Hutto and the Austin area.

 

Question: Do you have a financial aid program?

Answer: Yes. Sallie Mae Financial offers a wide variety of options to qualified applicants. Students can request career training loan amounts up to sixty percent above the cost of tuition.  Contact us for a free Academy brochure, Academy application, and financial aid application. Apply for a Sallie Mae Career Training Loan online, then mail your completed financial aid application to Starmark Academy along with your Academy application, $50 application fee, copy of your high school or college transcript or official GED certificate, and official NCIC Criminal History. An authorized school official will complete Section D of your Career Training Loan application and then submit it to Sallie Mae. Starmark Academy also offers a lending option through TFC Corporation. Contact us for more information.

 

Question: Where will I live while I am attending the Academy? How much will it cost?

Answer: We have the nicest on-site housing of any dog training school. Our furnished manufactured homes are comfortable and have very reasonable rental rates.  Homes have a washer/dryer, TV/VCR, full kitchen, fenced yard, and more. Housing is not co-ed with an option of a private or shared room.

Private bedroom with private bathroom- $155/week.

Private bedroom with shared bathroom- $130/week.

Housing preference is granted first come first serve, based on the order in which your application and tuition deposit is received. The cost of housing does not include meals. A $350 security deposit is required for all students. This deposit will be refunded to the student provided the housing is left in the same condition it was found in, minus an appropriate cleaning fee. We also have RV parking available to students who have trailers or motor homes at $270/month. (Electrical hook up only and close proximity to the bath house.) Several nearby apartment complexes are also located in Round Rock and Pflugerville.

 

Question: I want to learn it all. Do I have to take the four week course, then return for the full eight week, and then twelve week course?

Answer: No. The eight week program includes the four week program, and the twelve week program is a continuation from the eight week program. On rare occasions students may even split the programs into separate modules if needed due to scheduling reasons.  For example, a student may take the eight week program and at a later date take an additional four weeks to complete the twelve week program. Students must have completed the four week program to be able to move on to the eight week program, and so on.

 

Question: What experience must I have before attending Starmark Academy?

Answer: You do not need any prior dog training experience, only a passion for dogs. You must also enjoy working with a variety of people.

 

Question: Is Starmark Academy for Professional Dog Trainers a licensed school?

Answer: Yes. Starmark Academy for Professional Dog Trainers, Inc. is approved and regulated by the Texas Workforce Commission, Career Schools and Veterans Education Section, Austin, Texas. Starmark Academy is also INS approved for international students.

 

Question: I am eligible for Veterans Vocational Rehabilitation—does Starmark Academy qualify?

Answer: Yes. Starmark Academy for Professional Dog Trainers, inc. is listed with the Veterans Vocational Rehabilitation for Chapter 31 benefits.

 

Question: When should I send in my Academy application?

Answer: We recommend sending in your Academy application, a $50 non-refundable application fee, $500 refundable tuition deposit, a copy of your high school or college transcript or an official GED certificate, official NCIC criminal history, and financial aid application (if applicable) as soon as possible. Applications are processed on a first come first serve basis. Typically classes start to fill up two months before the start of the class.  A waiting list is available and occasionally space does open up. If you are in doubt, send in your application now—you may be pleasantly surprised!

 

Question: Does the tuition include room and board?

Answer: No. Tuition does not include the cost of housing or meals.  Students may choose to live on-site in student housing, utilize the RV parking area, or opt to live off campus. The tuition includes the basic training equipment and books needed for the course as well as the application fee.

 

Question: What is the graduation rate?

Answer: The graduation rate is approximately eighty percent.  Attendance does not guarantee graduation. Success at Starmark Academy depends on your commitment to study and hard work. Your grade will be based upon several written exams, as well practical exams of the training you’ve done with your dogs. A 1.7 minimum grade point average is required to earn a diploma.  We have “supervised study” available every weekday for students to work one-on-one with an instructor on any problems you may be experiencing with your dog. Starmark Academy is dedicated to your success, however spending time outside the classroom hours training your dog and reviewing lecture material is a crucial ingredient to your success.

 

Question: What is the average male to female ratio?

Answer: The average male to female ratio is 1:3.

 

Question: I would like to speak with graduates from your school. Who should I contact?

Answer: We encourage you to talk with past Academy graduates. They can give you the inside scoop about what it’s like to be a student at Starmark Academy. Contact us for a referral list of Starmark Academy graduates.

 

Question: I can’t decide which class I want to attend. Can I sign up for the four or eight week program and then decide during class if I want to continue on to the 12 week Canine Training & Behavior Specialist Program?

Answer: Yes. If you cannot decide which class you want, you may sign up for the initial four or eight week program, and then during school you can decide if you want to continue on to the next level. Many students who sign up for the four or eight week classes decide to continue on when they discover how much they are learning.

 

Question: How do I sign up if I am an international student?

Answer: Starmark Academy is INS approved for international students. If you currently have a Visa, we will need to know what type of Visa you have to determine whether it will be a valid Visa for you to attend Starmark Academy or if you will have to apply for a change of status. Please note on your application the specific type of Visa (i.e. J-1, F-1, etc.) you have. If you do not have a Visa, we will process the appropriate paperwork for you to obtain your student Visa.  You will also need to submit proof of English proficiency along with the application. If you have taken any type of test for the English language you will need to send a copy of your certificate with your application.  If you have not taken any English proficiency tests, you will need to take the TOEFL test and they will send your scores directly to us. You will also need to provide us with a copy of your high school or equivalent certificate of completion or college degree, in English, with your application. If you need to get your diploma or transcripts translated into English, you can do so through University Language Services. Finally, you will need to submit proof of financial ability to pay for tuition and related living expenses. This can be in the form of an official letter from your bank stating the amount of funds available to you, or loan promissory note stating the amount of the loan you have secured. We will need all of these items along with your application for enrollment in order to process you I-20 for your student Visa.

 

Question: Why do I need to send in a criminal history? How can I obtain one?

Answer: All prospective students agree to allow Starmark Academy to check their background when signing an application for admission. To ensure that the background check is obtained on the correct individual, we are now requiring prospective students to obtain this background check themselves and submit it along with their application. The typical cost of this is $18 and can be obtained by acquiring a set of fingerprints at your local law enforcement agency and submitting them to the FBI. For more information on obtaining your FBI identification record, please visit www.fbi.gov/hq/cijsd/fprequest.htm.

 

Question: Do you accept MyCAA benefits?

Answer: Starmark Academy does now accept MyCAA (Military Spouse career Advancement Accounts) benefits.

  • Program Description: The Department of Defense’s expanded Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA) program is now offering up to $6,000 to military spouses who are interested in pursuing degree programs, licenses or credentials leading to careers in high growth, high demand portable career fields.
  • Who Is Eligible: Spouses of active duty members and activated members of the National Guard and Reserve Components. The period of eligibility of spouses of Guard and Reserve members is from the date of the Alert or Warning Order for Military Recall or Mobilization, through activation and deployment until 180 days following De-Mobilization.  Military spouses who are military members themselves are not eligible. Military members have education benefits provided through the Military Voluntary Education Tuition Assistance (TA) program.
  • Getting Started: Eligible spouses who are ready to explore portable careers options and develop a career goal and plan should establish a MyCAA Account by visiting the MyCAA website https://aiportal.acc.af.mil/mycaa. This is an easy, self-help process.  Once spouse profile information is provided, DoD will verify MyCAA eligibility through DEERS.  The spouse will be notified of his/her eligibility status through the MyCAA messaging system.
  • Who Can Help Spouses Move Through the MyCAA Program: Spouses are encouraged to call a Military OneSource Career/Education Consultant at  1-800-342-9647 if they need help in:
    • Establishing a MyCAA Account and signing the MyCAA Statement of Understanding (SOU)
    • Choosing a portable career and establishing a career goal
    • Developing a career plan (selecting courses, exams, other needed services)
    • Looking up school(s) of choice in the MyCAA AI Portal
    • Requesting that a new school be added if the school of choice is not already listed
    • Requesting up to $6,000 of financial assistance to pay for courses of study or related licensing and credentialing services provided by other agencies (e.g. Bar or CPA exams, state certification exams for teachers and nurses, ect.)
    • For spouses who experience technical difficulties using the MyCAA website or have forgotten their password, please contact mycaa@invernesstechnologies.com

 

Question: What is the school’s policy on filing a complaint?

Answer: http://csc.twc.state.tx.us. Click here for the School Policy Regarding Complaints

  • The school has a Certificate of Approval from the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC)to operate a career school or college in the state of Texas.
  • The TWC-assigned school number is S1904
  • The school’s programs are approved by TWC, Texas Department of Rehabilitative Services, and the Texas Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • Students must address their concerns about the school or an educational program by following the grievance process outlined in the school’s catalog.  Schools are responsible for ensuring and documenting that all students have received a copy of the schools grievance procedures and for describing these procedures in the school’s published catalog.  If, as a student, you were not provided with this information, please see school management.
  • Student’s dissatisfied with the schools response to their complaint can file a formal complaint with TWC, as well as with other accrediting agencies or accreditors, if applicable.
  • Information on filing a complaint with TWC can be found on it’s Career Schools and Colleges website by clicking the link above.

 

Question: What training methods are taught at Starmark Academy?

Answer: At Starmark Academy you will learn how to use a wide spectrum of training tools and techniques that will give you a solid foundation on which to build your dog training career. Starmark Academy will show you how to use a variety of safe, effective, and humane methods to train a wide variety of dogs. Based on their temperament, different dogs can call for different training methods and tools. You will learn how to correctly and safely use many different types of training equipment from the clicker to the remote collar. Our broad curriculum includes both lecture and hands-on training.  You will learn the science behind dog training, as well as its practical application. You will have the opportunity to observe and participate in both group and private lessons, as well as work with some additional dogs that are in training. This allows you to work with a variety of breeds and temperaments.

 

Question: When will the Academy be in session?

Answer: Starmark Academy will conduct scheduled classes Monday through Friday from approximately 8:30am to 6:00pm. Students usually have an hour for lunch along with two fifteen-minute breaks during the day. In the evenings we have a variety of group lessons and activities available for your observation.

 

Question: What is a typical day at Starmark Academy?

Answer: You will have a combination of classroom lectures, hands-on training, and lab work throughout the day.

 

Question: What dog training supplies will I need while attending Starmark Academy?

Answer: We encourage you to bring whatever supplies you may already have. Required books and basic equipment are not included in the cost of the program. There is a required product package that you will need to purchase. Please contact us for more details about the package.

 

Question: Who will be my instructors while attending Starmark Academy?

Answer: The instructors at Starmark Academy have been involved with dogs most of their lives and professionally for many years. In addition to having vast dog training experience with thousands of dogs, they are also successful as international dog sport competitors. Because of their many achievements as professional instructors/trainers, they are recognized by the Nestle Purina Company as sponsored influentials, representing them in numerous events.  As the world’s largest dog training campus, only the best professionals were selected to instruct our students. We invite you to call or visit and see the difference we can make in your dog training career. Starmark Academy instructors are simply the best!

 

Question: Can I use my personal dog in class?

Answer: You will be able to train your own dog to meet class requirements, provided he has no previous training in the requirement area. We will also assign you additional dog to train.  We work with several Austin area rescue groups to train homeless dogs available for adoption, which are in need of training. For more information on this program, please visit our Rescue Dog link.

 

Question: I don’t have a dog—do I need to get one before attending the Academy?

Answer: We recommend that each student bring at least one untrained dog with them. If you do not have a dog of your own, we suggest checking with your friends or family members to see if they would like to send along their feisty fido for you to train. Starmark Academy also works with several Austin area rescue groups who have homeless dogs available for adoption that are in need of training. Students are assigned to work with rescue dogs that are in need of training, and this increase the likelihood that they will be adopted into life-time loving homes. For more information on this program, please visit our Rescue Dog link. We recommend against purchasing a dog for use at the Academy. During the course you will learn how to evaluate and select dogs that can best meet the criteria needed to excel in different types of work, whether for companionship, police K-9, search and rescue, assistance, etc. Through your experiences you will discover what characteristics you want most in a dog. In addition, some students end up adopting the rescue dog they have trained.

 

Question: Do you teach first aid for dogs?

Answer: We have a unit on basic canine health care and first aid. Whenever possible, this class is taught by a licensed veterinarian as a guest lecturer.

 

Question: What is the percentage of classroom lecture versus hands-on training with dogs?

Answer: You will spend approximately 25% of your time in lecture, and 75% of your time in hands-on classes. In addition, we have “supervised study” available every day for the students to train their dogs, and work one-on-one with an instructor on any problems you are experiencing. In the first four weeks, the time you spend in lecture is significantly higher while you study the science behind how dogs learn.

 

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