How to Become an Animal Trainer
Let me guess...you went to the Sea World Believe Show this weekend and now you want to be an animal trainer?
Or, maybe you have always been enthralled with the animal show when the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus comes to your town...
Whatever your reason, if you have always wanted to be an animal trainer, keep reading to learn more about this exciting and unique career.
Animal trainers do more than just train animals for performance at shows. They also train animals for assisting people who are disabled, they train security animals (Police K9), and they perform day to day obedience training as well.
In a nutshell, animal trainers train animals to heed the commands of the human voice, and human gestures.
Animal trainers are often involved in the care, feeding, and transport of the animals under their care, and according to the U.S. Department of Labor, the most commonly trained animals are dogs, horses, sea lions, dolphins and whales (think Shamu).
Some of the more exotic trained animals are lions, tigers, and bears - as much as they can be trained...
Animal trainers often work in zoos, marine theme parks, safari theme parks, and of course, the traveling circus. However, they also perform independent contract work, and many trainers own and run dog obedience schools.
While the career of an animal trainer seems exciting and adventurous, the job can be dangerous and demanding as well; however, these aspects usually are simply not enough to stop an animal lover with their hearts set on animal training.
Animal trainers have been known to start in their field with only a high school diploma or GED.
However, if you are looking to work in a zoo or in a animal theme park, you will need a 4 year degree.
Make no mistake, if you want to swim with the killer whales in shows like Sea World's Believe, you will need a bachelor's degree in marine biology at the very least.
There are plenty of private dog training schools all across the country, and opportunities are excellent for people with an entrepreneurial spiritwho want to start their own dog obedience schools.
There are some organizations that will allow a career hopeful to start out with a veterinary technology 2 year degree and transition into animal training.
Because of the diverse nature of animal training jobs, the pay can start anywhere from $18,000 a year and go all the way up to $51,000 per year.
No doubt, the higher pay comes with education, experience, and degree of difficulty.
If you are interested in a career as an animal trainer, start your journey by check out the National Animal Control Association.