Animal Trainer Career Information
What an Animal Trainer does
Animal trainers will act as animal handlers or kennel attendants too, since they need to maintain a healthy environment for the animals they are working with. They also will assist with the transport of animals whenever necessary and assist with any Veterinary procedures.
Different roles have different titles according to the facility. Apprentice Trainer, Associate Trainer, Training Assistant, and Senior Trainer are terms used to describe some of those roles. These change with experience, skill, and the types of animals worked with.
Good health and athletic fitness are mandatory. Most marine animal training applicants will undergo a rigorous physical and swim test when applying for an animal training position at an aquatic park. Ability to communicate with the public along with a positive attitude and a lot of patience are required. Most trainers will announce and narrate at the shows in which the animals perform, so public speaking skills are essential too.
Many times an on-the-job apprenticeship is necessary even if you have had previous experience training animals. This helps you as a animal trainer to become familiar with the individual animals' personalities, the species specific characteristics and the training methods used before you interact directly with the animals.
There is very limited number of openings in tthe area of animal training unless you develop your own business. There are also many areas of specialty. There is horse training, dog training, cat training, and animal actor training. Bird training can fall into the companion animal or the wild animal group.
Background experience that would be helpful for a position as an animal trainer includes courses or knowledge in behavioral psychology, animal behavior, public speaking, communications, education, and theater.
Academic training is usually a minimal Associate's or Bachelor's degree preferred in psychology or biology related areas of study. There are some groups that claim to have accredited programming but there is no nationally recognized group for this; so use caution when you look around. Each state will license certain programs according to the specialty and breed or species of animal.
Abilities & Traits Required
Good health and athletic fitness are mandatory.
No specific degree or diploma required for this career. However short term courses are available.
Salary or income depends on the animal and the kind of training.