Animal trainers teach animals, especially dogs, horses and certain marine mammals, specific skills and behaviors. Formal degree programs and on-the-job training is available, and may lead to careers as animal trainers at zoos, pet stores, marine mammal centers and dog shows. Read on to learn more about the career and employment of animal trainers.
Inside Animal Training
Individuals train animals for a variety of situations, including obedience, entertainment, security or for assisting people who have disabilities. They familiarize animals with human hand signals, body language and voice so they can perform a certain behavior. Trainers work with a variety of animals, the most common being dogs, horses, dolphins and sea lions. Most specialize in a particular animal.
Generally, careers in animal training do not require formal education or training. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 54% of all animal trainers were self-employed in May 2008 (www.bls.gov). The BLS reported there will be faster than average growth in this field between 2008 and 2018 due to regular turnover of professionals and the growing desire of people to train their pets. The median annual salary for animal trainers was $31,110 in May 2010, with the top 10% earning approximately $53,580 per year, according to the BLS.
Formal animal training programs are available at community colleges and vocational schools. Others may learn this occupation through personal experiences and continued interaction with animals. Most horse trainers, for example, begin working in stables as grooms or other types of stable hands, eventually gaining the skills and experience to successfully train horses.
Trainers who specialize in marine mammals must meet certain education requirements and possess specific certifications. Some marine animal parks require applicants to possess a bachelor's degree in biology, zoology or animal science. Because these trainers are often in the water, these types of animal trainers must also be SCUBA certified.
Learn More About Animal Training
Animal training can be a fulfilling profession for animal enthusiasts of all types. There are a variety of education and career programs available. Education-Portal.com is a resource for career and occupational information on animal trainers.
As an animal trainer, you can choose from basic dog obedience training and horse training to more specialized occupations training marine mammals. Below are just a few of the careers in animal training.
- Guide to a Career in Animal Training
- How to Become a Marine Mammal Trainer
- Career as a Dolphin Trainer
- Work For a Horse Farm
- Dog Obedience Trainer Guide
- Career Training Seeing-Eye Dogs
- Work at an Animal Park
Certification is not required to become an animal trainer, but it can help increase your knowledge and your techniques. Here is some information below to help you learn more about certification in animal training.
- Service Dog Trainer Certificate
- Certified Animal Trainer
- Instructor of Dog Training Certification
- Certified Animal Caretaker
Degrees in majors related to animal training can give you a good foundation to start your career. Here are some degree options below that can help you decide on a career in animal training.
- Degrees in Animal Training
- Animal Studies Undergrad Programs
- Studies in Marine Biology
- Schools for Degrees in Animal Training
- Major in Animal Science
- Study Animal Training
- Advanced Education in Animal Husbandry
- Schools Offering Animal Training Programs
Distance Learning Options
New or experienced animal trainers may choose to further their education through distance learning courses. Below are some online courses that are available to animal training.
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